Even though we're run on a generic platform (aka StackExchange), I think it's safe to say that we have the right to our own identity, and consequently our own rules.

There are currently two elements of the site: the Enthusiast Badge and Fanatic Badge that both require a user visiting the site a certain number of consecutive days. Given that in Judaism we have days where computer use is forbidden (i.e. Shabbat and Yom Tov), it has become quite difficult, if not impossible to successfully obtain these badges.

Once again, I do not feel that this should be implemented across SE. Rather, if we are to eventually graduate and become our own site, the site should truly reflect Judaism, and changes should not just be limited to the design.

And to help the programmers implement: Given a Gregorian date, convert to Hebrew, and look if any of these days match:

  • Every Saturday (i.e. the 7th day of the week)
  • Two Days of Rosh Hashanah (Tishri 1 and 2)
  • One day of Yom Kippur (Tishri 10)
  • Five days for Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret (Tishri 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23)
  • Four days of Pesach (Nisan 15, 16, 21 and 22)
  • Two days of Shavuot (Sivan 6 and 7)

Note: for maximum compatibility, I have included two days of Yom Tov, as it is celebrated in the diaspora.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I wanted to offer my perspective as a Community Manager; This isn't necessarily an official response or the final say on the matter —

You're right. If we were designing this system specifically for a Jewish community, we probably would not implement the Fanatic and Enthusiast badges in its current form. But there's also the practical matter that Stack Exchange is a tool — a framework — designed for folks of varied interests to build their own site in this Q&A space.

That doesn't mean you necessarily have to use all those tools to accomplish your task. When you consider all the features of your favorite word processor, you probably don't use 90% of them. But that doesn't keep you from writing the your next great novel. This is about having the tools you need to create great Q&A. Have you noticed the <code> markup in your editor? It's an extraneous tool, easy to ignore.

The difference here is the Fanatic and Enthusiast badges do serve a purpose; They reward a specific achievement outside making great Q&A. But in the big scheme of things, the lack of an explicitly awarded "enthusiasm" badge isn't going to be a noticeable detriment to THIS community.

There may come a time when badges are customizable. There have been scattered requests for custom badges for sites to use based on their need. But we're not there, yet. Still, the tag is the best way to suggest these changes. We regularly review feature requests to guide us in future directions. The development of Stack Exchange is driven by these feature requests, so even if this doesn't get implemented in short order, it's always under consideration.

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Days for the badges are UTC days. Someone living in New Zealand can easily visit the site on UTC Saturday: his Shabas (sabbath) overlaps UTC Saturday for only about six hours (or so). On the other hand, he can hardly visit the site on UTC Friday. So excluding Saturday (and not Friday) when setting the badge criteria is unfair to him. It'd be better to just say "25 days in a 30-day span" or the like.

But that's assuming a redefinition is desired at all, which I'm very much not convinced of. "Our goal with the badges is to encourage people to a) have fun and b) use the Stack Overflow website in ways that make sense." (cite) They're really not (AFAICT) meant to be a big deal, and not being able to get one is, therefore, also not a big deal; thus, redefining a badge for a specific site so it (the badge) is more accessible seems unnecessary.

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If it really is technically unfeasible, then simply leave it out. Imagine if you were creating a Jewish Q&A site: would you ever put such a badge in w/o making sure it's workable and obtainable? So why should it be different if we're part of a bigger network? –  yydl Oct 6 '11 at 17:36
    
@yydl, "why should it be different": because I doubt the SE people want to write separate code for each site's quirks more than necessary. But perhaps I should let them speak for themselves. :-) Someone from SE does read this site's meta, so we can see what the official response to this feature request is. –  msh210 Oct 6 '11 at 21:37
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Yes, that's why it is just a request. Not a demand. I'm making my case, and appealing that they let us have this quirk to better appeal to our audience (especially considering that this has been discussed and debated before) –  yydl Oct 6 '11 at 21:47
    
@yydl, certainly. I didn't mean to sound like I wanted to restrict your right to request. I merely was expressing the opposing view that we should probably not have the badges. –  msh210 Nov 10 '11 at 22:24
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You assume Shabbat in New Zealand is on Saturday... –  Double AA Jan 22 '12 at 7:50
    
@DoubleAA, true, and that's not obvious. Otherwise, amend to "eastern Australia" and change the overlap from ~six hours to (I think, but am not bothering to check) ~seven. –  msh210 Jan 22 '12 at 16:08

The Enthusiast and Fanatic badges will have a side effect that I doubt the designers intended: They will point out users who visit the site daily, possibly indicating that these users visit the site on shabbat.

At the moment, three users have earned the fanatic badge (100 consecutive days), and fifteen users have earned the enthusiast badge (30 consecutive days). Are these all people who use computers on shabbat? (I do, but I'm only here once or twice a week.) Or are these users who visited motzi shabbes or have done this?

I don't know, and I really don't think it's my business to find out.

Perhaps we can simply view these badges as irrelevant to this site. This is not an uncommon situation. For example, the Strunk & White badge on the English site is oddly named (considering the venom with which it's use is sometimes greeted). The badge is for users who have edited a lot of posts - but perhaps it should be renamed to the name of a famous editor. What's that? You can't think of any? (I can, but I'm hardly typical in that regard.) Well, best to leave it as it is, then.

Similarly, on the Writers site: The terms "proofreader" and "copy editor" have very exacting, specific meanings that have little to do with what the badges of the same names signify. (They're actually kinda backwards, if anything.) But, again, there's really no reason to change the badges for one site. And there's also the convention badge on the SciFi/Fantasy site...

Yes, the appearance of this badge here is probably something that won't be awarded as much as it is on other sites. However, badges have two points:

  • You can look at someone's profile, and, by perusing the badges they've earned, get a feel for what kind of stuff they do on the site.

  • They're fun.

Badges aren't tied to rep. They're meant to describe what a user does for the community, beyond what a rep score can tell you.

This badge doesn't disrespect those who observe shabbat, it's simply not relevant to it. Let's just leave this one alone; I don't think that coming up with special fanatic-six-days-out-of-the-week badge is important enough to warrant having the SE coders maintain a separate code base for this site alone.

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You're worried about the badges causing marit ayin, then? That's a reasonable concern, but is it mitigated by the fact that there are at least two stretches during the year when most people can earn these badges if they want to without violating Shabbat or Yom Tov? –  Monica Cellio Nov 28 '11 at 17:51
    
Not worried about it, more trying to point out that this isn't really a big deal. –  neilfein Nov 28 '11 at 19:51

Some badges are easier to earn than others, and sometimes this varies from site to site. (For example, some SE communities are much freer with votes than others are.) I don't see this as a problem; the significance of any particular badge has to be evaluated within the context of its SE site. On Judaism.SE the Fanatic badge is either nearly irrelevant or rare; this doesn't bother me.

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