I could be hypocritical and not specify the specific case that induced this question. But actually I am after a golden badge :D

Its description says this:

Ask a well-received question on 100 separate days, and maintain a positive question record.

What exactly does "well-received" mean here? Do you agree that this should be described in more detail?

And, in general, who has access to editing such texts? Not that I could do it myself since I have no idea what algorithm works in this case, but still - I know that I can by now edit tag wikis, so maybe at some point users also get access to such algorithms and ability to edit the corresponding help subpages or whatever they are called? I mean, not to bother very few authorities about such things too frequently, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ It seems that there was already changed in the past to the present form: Misleading description of new Curious badge. As usually, you can find more information on Meta Stack Exchange. Asking days badges (which I found from Definition of a 'well received question' for the purposes of the Curious badge). $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 7:57
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    $\begingroup$ And if you are mainly interested in badge progress, you actually don't need to worry about precise definitions - you can see how close you are to a certain badge in various places, for many of badges you can simply look at the badge tracker in your profile. See also: meta.stackexchange.com/tags/badge-progress/info $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Extremely helpful, as always. So the algorithms are the same across all SE sites then? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ Btw supposedly I cannot mark this as a duplicate of a question on SE meta, can I? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 9:24
  • $\begingroup$ As far as I know, the criteria for badges are the same on all sites. As you say, this cannot be closed as duplicate from a question on another site. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 9:27
  • $\begingroup$ So then may I ask you to make an answer out of your information? I believe it is very useful. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 9:28
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    $\begingroup$ But if we take as your main question: "Who can edit the help center?" (and similar texts) then I think it might be worth leaving open (and waiting for a response from mods). As far as I know, help center can be edited by Stack Exchange employees and some parts can be edited by site mods (or can be made mod-editable after the moderators' request this). Never by regular users. But it would be more reliable if this information was confirmed by a diamond-bearing user. (However, as far as badge description goes, I doubt that this part would be made mod-editable.) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 9:29
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Yes I think you are right. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ Since I do not want to make this comment exchange longer than necessary (it seems that we already digressed from the main question in some comments), if there is need to discuss this further, we can continue in chat. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 10:02
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    $\begingroup$ If you have interesting questions to post, by all means do it, but if they are going to be dull ones that you wrote just to get a gold badge, then I suggest that you go for Electorate (600 votes, at least 25% on questions) instead. :) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @FedericoPoloni Already have one :D $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ This meta question seems to include three independent questions: (1) what does “well-received question” mean in the linked description? (2) should that description be expanded+clarified? (3) who has access to editing the help center text? They would surely be much more answerable if asked as three separate questions. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 8:45
  • $\begingroup$ This post from Math Stack Exchange can contains some relevant information: What parts of the help center can site moderators edit? (Although I have heard from moderators that on some sites also some other parts of help center have been made mod editable.) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 9:17
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    $\begingroup$ On the side note, even when the description is exact, it is sometimes hilarious, e.g., Illuminator: Edit and answer 500 questions (both actions within 12 hours, answer score > 0) (that is you have less than 1.5 minutes per answer and somebody should also bother to upvote them all). I hate to even think of what might happen if somebody decides to strive for getting this particular badge :lol: $\endgroup$
    – fedja
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 23:33
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    $\begingroup$ @fedja You're just kidding, right? I see that one could interpret this as having to answer 500 questions in 12 hours, but clearly this is not what the badge description there means. (After all, do you have the feeling that the users who already have the refiner badge - which is the silver version of this badge where the requirement is 50 questions - caused some disruptions to the site in the process of earning the badge?) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


Your post touches on several questions - probably the most important is the question who can edit help center and how can regular users contribute.

Who can edit help center?

As a rule, most parts of the help center can be edited only by Stack Exchange staff. Some stuff can be edited by site moderators - a more detailed description can be found here: What parts of the help center can site moderators edit?

Based on anecdotal evidence it seems that sometimes Stack Exchange makes more pages mod-editable than the default settings (on moderators' request).

It seems to me very unlikely that regular users would be allowed to edit help center. (And it is probably quite a good thing, because those pages are - in a sense - official and quite a lot thought should go into decision that something should be changed there.)

What should regular users do?

  • If a regular (non-diamond) user wants to help, there is still plenty of stuff they can do. For example, many of the posts on meta tagged as or are community wiki, mainly to encourage editing by users.1 You can also edit tag-infos - both on main and on meta, but tag-infos on meta are quite a good place where to collect relevant information for some topic related to usage of the site.2 (For example, if you can see some useful additions to the tag-info for badges tag, you can edit the tag-info.)
  • If a regular user wants to suggest some change to help center, the right approach is to bring this up on meta. For things specific to MathOverflow, the suitable place is this meta. But for stuff that is relevant for all sites in the network, Meta Stack Exchange is the right place. (In the examples below, you can see some posts of this type.)

Badges descriptions

You also mentioned that you were interested specifically in badges.

For several badges you can quite easily see your progress towards particular badge, the easiest way is probably using badge tracker in your profile (although not all badges are displayed there). For more details see: https://meta.stackexchange.com/tags/badge-progress/info

In the network-wide FAQ you can find this post which has more detailed description than help center: What are the badges I can earn on each site, and what are the exact criteria for earning each badge?

Socratic badge

For more detailed description of the criteria for asking badges (Curious, Inquisitive and Socratic) you can read he description in this post: Asking days badges. I will also point out that the wording was updated after this discussion: Misleading description of new Curious badge. (I found both those links from a question which is very similar to yours - just posted on the main meta: Definition of a 'well received question' for the purposes of the Curious badge.)

Illuminator badge

Since Illuminator badge was mentioned in the comments, I will add a link to a related discussion on another meta: Refiner and Illuminator badges confusing. The badges Explainer and Refiner. Clearly, the description doesn't mean that you have to answer and edit 500 question within twelve hours. If on a single question you do those two actions (post answer that reaches positive score and also edited the question) and these two actions are within 12 hours of each other, the counter describing your progress increases by one. (As already mentioned, you can check your progress towards those badges using badge tracker in your profile - unless you already have that badge.)

1 In general, FAQ on meta are easier to update than help center. So this is probably better way for information that might change often. (Just as an example I will mention that in the part of the help center "What kind of questions should I not ask here?" there are several clearly outdated links. For example, neither Ask Dr. Math nor NRICH can be now used to ask question, yet they are still listed in the help center. I would hope that a corresponding post on meta would be updated more promptly in such cases, since it can be edited by any user with sufficient reputation.)

2 The tag-info should be used for guidance when to use the tag. But probably it might be good idea also to store there the most relevant links related to the specific topic described by the given tag. To name just one example, when I mention Data Explorer here on meta I typically include the link to tag-info. This has the advantage that users reading the post have quick access to some basic information - and if some of that information changes it suffices to update it in a single place (in the tag-info) and not in every question.


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