Citations are a critical part of historical discourse. To give a succinct-comparison from another academic field, it has been said that "citations are the source code of Physics.SE"

Should we recognize good citation/reference practices via:

  • a badge after a fixed number of answers, voted to N-score, each with at least X citations
  • a badge when total citations in all answers exceed Y
  • when a moderator awards Q or A with subjectively-good ('policy') citations.
  • etc.

3 Answers 3


SE badges for the most part are awarded by the SE engine based on objective things it finds in the user's activity history. I don't believe there are any badges awarded directly by users or mods (True SE gurus correct me if I'm wrong here). You can look at a complete list of badges here.

So your first two bullets are probably better fits than your last.

This is probably not the best place for SE engine feature change requests though...

  • What would seem to you to be a more reasonable place for this question? I don't know what/where is the "SE engine" Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:05
  • 3
    Perhaps meta.stackoverflow.com ? meta.stackexchange.com redirects there.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:07
  • 1
    You can use the blog to give accolades
    – DVK
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 20:03

At the present moment, I believe that all we can do is upvote such answers and perhaps offer a bounty on well-researched ones. As DVK mentions in a comment, drawing attention or maintaining a list via a blog post (and linking to it via the FAQ) might also help.


Good point, if there is one thing this site lacks, that's it! More recognition for citations.

But maybe it's not wise to reinvent the wheel. The "wheel" in this case is the system practiced on Wikipedia:

  • [citation needed] inline marks, as inserted ad hoc by readers, are the most vital part there
  • adding citations as needed
  • replacing citations by more reliable ones
  • no "original research" (not good for history.SE)
    • notably, no self-made synthesis of sources, only reporting a synthesis already done in a source (not good for history.SE)

Knowing this Wikipedia standard, how can we improve it for use on SE? How can we integrate it into SE concepts like badges and scores?

It would be great to start something minimalistic, but to get it started at once. My proposition:

  • [citation needed] inline mark, built into SE engine, so other sites besides history.SE could use it
  • recognition simply based on presence of this mark - optimistic assumption, that if nobody cared to insert at least one [citation needed], the text can be regarded as well-cited
  • 1 well-cited answer = 1 badge
    • It would work for starters only and is totally non-scalable. Later community needs to delete these badges and automatically recalculate a new recognition scores/badges (whatever the "proper" system would be).

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