When Fedora Badges hit the streets I was excited. I could see several possibilities in the project and I hoped it would be a good way to recognize people for their hard work. Here’s my take on the program.
What it does
Fedora Badges is a lot like the military’s medal and ribbon award system only a lot cleaner and somewhat less dangerous. Each badge has its own criteria for obtaining it. Take, for example, the “In Search of Bull (Tester I)” badge. To receive this badge all you need to do is test and add karma to one updates-testing updates in Bodhi. That’s it. Do that and you get a pretty badge that looks like:
Rewarding hard work
So like I mentioned before, the Badges project helps recognize people’s hard work. Sure, lots of people (199 as of this writing) qualify for the Tester I badge because over the course of their work in Fedora they’ve tested a package before it was pushed to the repositories. But not many (I count 5) have made it to the “Both Bull and Self Transcended” level which requires testing of at least 250 packages. It takes someone special to achieve that level of
Getting people involved outside their comfort zones
Another thing I like about Badges is that it allows people to see other activities that they may not know about or haven’t felt like they could do. If someone looked at my badge wall they’d quickly see what is easily obtainable with very little skill. Maybe they’ve never edited a wiki page or participated in an IRC meeting but those are two things that anyone can do to earn a badge while being a contributor to Fedora (while you’re at it reset your FAS password). Maybe we’ll get a few more people watching Bodhi for updates to software they use and will be able to give feedback that is helpful to the packager.
Gaming the system
Sure, there will be people out there that will game the system to get badges. But is that all bad? I have found myself wanting to get a Tagger badge but had never gone into that system and really knew little about the program. But I did go in to make a contribution and even if I did tag a few packages just to get a badge I did provide a service towards that project and helped them get a few more packages tagged. The best part is that I gave it a try and found something else I might like doing within the Fedora Project. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise but I might go back to help do more package tagging.
I really like this Badges system and I hope others will take a look at it and perhaps branch out into other aspects of this great Project. From answering questions on ask.fedoraproject.org to submitting builds to koji there is always something else people can explore. Maybe you’ll find something new within the Project to add to your list of activities. I know I have.