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I was looking at the election page and was surprised how some of the nominees don't have 100% of the moderation badges. Only to find out it was the sportsmanship badge that is missing.

That badge requires the following:

Up vote 100 answers on questions where an answer of yours has a positive score.

I find it odd to list it in the statistics of someone nominating to become a moderator. 100 answers alone is not a small feat. And upvoting 100 other answers on questions is even harder.

Personally, I don't care if a moderator has 10 answers or 10000 answers. A moderator's role is to moderate not answer questions.

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Sportsmanship is also listed as a moderation badge in the list of badges, perhaps because voting up is considered 'moderation' on Stack Exchange, and an important one (it's even mentioned in the tour). I guess it's equally valid to regard it as an answer badge.

Why was it chosen? It turns out that it was the initiative of a community (Mathematics Stack Exchange) which was then adopted by the company:

The purpose of counting these badges is to approximately quantify the contributions that do not result in reputation (edits, votes, meta posts, tagging, reviewing) as well as the level of experience with the site.

Upvoting competing answers doesn't give reputation (it can even hinder gaining reputation, because you're giving your own answer less visibility).

100 answers alone is not a small feat.

True, but you don't need to have posted 100 positively-scoring answers; if (on a question where you have a positively-scoring answer) you upvote n other answers, this will count n times towards the badge. (I think this is unfortunate, but as explained in the comments here that it won't be changed.)

Personally, I don't care if a moderator has 10 answers or 10000 answers. A moderator's role is to moderate not answer questions.

That's certainly true (proof), but past elections across the network have shown reputation (and candidate score) have a large effect on whether a candidate is elected or not. On Stack Overflow, you have almost no chance to win unless your score is 40/40.

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I have always felt that Sportsmanship is the single most important badge for elections. Posting 100 answers isn't much, really. Not if you're an active user of an active site like this one. All of our current moderators have somewhere between twice that number and 20 times that number. I, an ex-mod, have ~10x that number myself.

However, the importance of that badge is not to count the number of answers you have (although it is reasonable to expect that someone who wants to be a mod has been active enough to have multiple posts, albeit not necessarily answers). The point of that badge is to give an indication of how sportsmanlike your behavior on the site has been.

If you do have >100 answers and don't have that badge, it is a strong indicator that you don't tend to upvote competing answers. Or at least that you don't do so very often. That doesn't bode well for your ability to be impartial: if you can't even bring yourself to acknowledge that someone else's solution might be as good as or better than your own, how well will you handle yourself as an impartial moderator?

So I think that badge is essential and gives a very relevant piece of information about a candidate's behavior. Yes, it isn't perfect and it doesn't work well if you don't have many answers, but if you do, it is really helpful and relevant. Personally, I would even go as far as to make it a hard requirement if you have a few hundred answers. We want people who are comfortable upvoting others as moderators.

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  • Don't worry, running for mod is far from me :) but I think the conclusion that if someone is lacking the badge, that makes him or her not fit for being a mod & shows a lack of the ability to be impartial is too easy. Some people vote a lot, some don't. Not for lacking sportsmanship, but simply because the focus is elsewhere. Simply not the role you play. – Jacob Vlijm Jun 11 at 16:20
  • @JacobVlijm while we may have had our squabbles in the past, I am pretty sure you do actually tend to upvote competing answers if they're good. And that's the mentality I want in a mod. I didn't say lacking the badge makes someone unfit, but I do think that having the badge makes them more fit. – terdon Jun 11 at 16:30
  • Ah, yes, I indeed do if I really think a competing answer is good. Don't have the badge though after over a thousand answers. Thanks for clarifying. – Jacob Vlijm Jun 11 at 16:32

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