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I notice that overnight (my time) we hit the first non-CW "Great Answer" badge (it had been awarded 3 times before, but all to community-wiki answers), on this answer; congratulations whuber.

So, since I had been wondering when that might happen for some time, two questions occur to me:

Are there any other outstanding milestones yet to be achieved on CV that would indicate we're moving to being a 'mature' group, in some sense (at least in the very narrow sense of having enough voting subscribers to make such badges achievable)?

Which milestones, achieved or not yet achieved, do you think are more important as indicators in some sense?

Or if you'd prefer to take a contrary view, feel free to discuss how looking at any such milestone is meaningless.

Edit: and less than three weeks later we hit another one. Congratulations, gung

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    $\begingroup$ (Thank you for the nice sentiments.) No time for a good reply now--maybe in a few days--but have you noticed this reply by @gung and how rapidly it got to that point? Also noteworthy for its potential (for more upvotes and as a good answer to a FAQ) and its rapid rise in the voting is stats.stackexchange.com/questions/51718 :-). $\endgroup$ – whuber Nov 21 '13 at 8:09
  • $\begingroup$ The edit to "Great" didn't take for some reason. Now done. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Nov 21 '13 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @Nick. I fixed it in the body, completely missing it was also in my own title. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Nov 21 '13 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber Thanks - I hadn't noticed that answer of gung's in in a while; it's very close now. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Nov 21 '13 at 11:52
  • $\begingroup$ Who gives the badges ? I was under the impression these are the moderators. Ok blame me, I confess I have never read the FAQ. $\endgroup$ – Stéphane Laurent Nov 25 '13 at 8:45
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    $\begingroup$ @StéphaneLaurent badges are automatically awarded by software after* you fulfill the logical conditions for the badges. These conditions are (mostly) fairly clearly laid out on the badges page. *(usually they're awarded overnight for people in timezones like the US and Western Europe) $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Nov 25 '13 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ @StéphaneLaurent As you suggest, the help explains the situation: "Badges are always earned by achieving a measurable numeric goal queried out of the site database. They are based on data, rather than being arbitrarily awarded by a human."; the criteria are the same on each site, so a badge that is fairly easily achieved on Stackoverflow may be extremely difficult to achieve on a smaller site like CV. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Nov 25 '13 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Glen_b Sounds like we are controlled by machines as in a science-fiction story. $\endgroup$ – Stéphane Laurent Nov 25 '13 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Glen_b I was just joking :D $\endgroup$ – Stéphane Laurent Nov 26 '13 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, it's a bit hard to convey such things sometimes. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Nov 26 '13 at 7:30
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber well it didn't take long; gung has achieved the gold badge on the answer you pointed to as of about 16 hours ago. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Dec 13 '13 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Glen_b, thanks. I hope it's a sign of things to come--there are a number of answers that I think are deserving. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Dec 19 '13 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ And congratulations to @JD Long. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Jan 24 '14 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ And congratulations to EpiGrad, er, @Fomite, that was fast! $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Jan 28 '14 at 15:21
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About the suggested milestone #2 we reached it in july/2017 (see here). It is an indicative that people are voting and it is good to have more people around who able to answer questions.

However, the proportion of unanswered questions is growing faster than the ones which do get answers. We agree a significant part of the former group are the type of poor quality, off-topic, uncler, broad, opinion-based and duplicates (some references: here and here).

If I would answer this question today, I'd say a milestone would be somehow to reduce the number of unanswered questions by being more effective towards questions which should be put on hold/closed/deleted. This could be achieved in many ways, such as going from improvements in the SE system bot which automatically deletes poor posts; having more 3k reputation users who are able to cast close/reopen votes; giving more incentive to users to find duplicates (for example); and also having current 3k users to be less tolerant with poor questions (including questions from new users) and quickly put those on hold, independent if a custom comment will be posted or not. It is time to rely more on our default close-reason messages (they can be improved if needed) plus the extended documentation built on CV Meta along past years; and put more weight on the OP's shoulders about the responsibility of learning how the site works and come back to improve their questions if they can.


1- One milestone I think we could be proud of:

  • the respectful environment we have been keeping on Cross Validated SE;

Merits to all community, but specially for the high quality level we have on our moderation team;

2- Milestones yet to reach are difficult to say, but what about:

For example,

Mathematics SE has 190 10k reputation users (1068 questions by 10k user).
We have 22 10k reputation users (1318 questions by each 10k user).

I think this milestone is important because it brings us more independence as a group.
It is also a consequence of having many users participating and voting.

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    $\begingroup$ +1, we could go higher than that & talk about the number of active users w/ >20k rep (ie, have full privileges & use them to assist the moderators). $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 21 '13 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ There is a little whiff of elitism here. I would like to think that everyone who asks or answers a good question is appreciated, including most people with reputation $<<$ 10k. Not everyone has the time or inclination to work at reputation; that's only a game.... $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Nov 22 '13 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ I was commenting broadly, not at any one individual, but glad we agree. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Nov 22 '13 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ @NickCox, I want to second Andre's point. I very much do not think higher rep (>10k or >20k) users are better, more elite, more valuable, etc, than lower rep users. I was agreeing w/ Andre's post that it was a milestone because such users have privileges that allow them to help maintain the site. This only helps, of course, if those users are active & take on that role. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 22 '13 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ There very much are lower rep users who do a lot to help maintain the site, even though they don't yet have those privileges; Andre, eg, does a lot of editing, despite being <2k, & I have approved many of those edits. That helps keep the site in good order, even though an extra step is involved. I certainly appreciate his efforts & think the site is better off for them. I think many (currently) lower rep users will eventually reach 10k or 20k. I recognize that it will take a lot of time. I don't think that reflects in any way poorly on those users. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 22 '13 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ Good; but please note my words, which were chosen carefully: "a little whiff of elitism". At most I suggest a second-order correction to the direction of discussion. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Nov 22 '13 at 17:12

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