Nibbler Leaderboards & the new Multi-badges!

Nibbler leaderboards
You probably already know that our free website testing tool Nibbler has a Leaderboards page that lists the top scoring users and the top scored websites. Users receive scores by claiming websites in Nibbler as their own, which adds those sites to their profile. All of the website’s badges get added to their own profile, and add to the user’s score.

Claiming badges for good practice

When we originally invented the badges we came up with some great ideas that people would want to claim and proudly show on their profile. Some of these were sensible things, like the ‘W3C compliance‘ and ‘HTML5‘ badge, adding these to a profile allows a user to proudly boast that they’re consider accessibility for disabled users, really care about the quality of their code, and are forward thinking enough to use new technologies.

Extra badges

We also created some fun badges, which are a little bit obscure and are awarded to users for the content of their site. For example there’s the ‘Mad Men‘ badge which is awarded to sites mentioning characters from the popular TV drama, and the ‘Cat lover‘ which we created as an inside joke, awarded to sites with the phrase “Here is a picture of my cat”!

We created these badges to add an extra dimension to Nibbler, more of a fun game really. There’s still loads of badges that I bet you haven’t even seen, or know you could get!

The problem with content badges

Unfortunately with these fun badges, they’ve been misused. We found that a few users were creating content on their websites that was hidden from view and only visible to Nibbler and Search Engines. This allowed them to claim these extra fun badges and increase their score.

We had a long debate about this in the Silktide office, while we wanted it to be a fun game to find and collect these extra badges, we decided that it wasn’t really fair that people could claim these and use it to climb to the top of the Leaderboards, passing users who were creating genuinely good quality websites.

Rewarding good practice

We decided that we should go back to Nibbler’s original goal for the Leaderboards, which is to reward users who are creating genuinely good websites, using good technology, and working with web standards.

So we’ve changed the scoring system, giving many more points to the badges we think reward good practice, and reducing or removing points from the badges that don’t. Sorry, but if you do use the phrase “Here is a picture of my cat” on your website – you don’t deserve to be rewarded for it!

Introducing the Multi-badge!

Like we said above, we want to reward users who are creating good quality websites. Before we made these changes, you would only be awarded points the first time you get a badge. Claiming additional websites with a ‘W3C Compliant badge‘, for example, wouldn’t give you any more points.

So we’ve introduced the W3C multi-badges. You’re awarded:

  • ‘W3C Apprentice’ for claiming 3 compliant sites
  • ‘W3C Maestro’ for 8 compliant sites
  • ‘W3C Master’ for 15 compliant sites
  • ‘W3C Black Belt’ if you claim… actually we’ll let you work that out for yourself!

There’s also multi-badges available for the amount of sites you claim, and for the amount of HTML5 sites you claim. We’ll be adding more soon.

Duplicate profiles

Another thing we’ve noticed lately is that some people are creating duplicate profiles to show on the Leaderboards, to promote their company or product. While we don’t mind people using their Nibbler profile to showcase their best work and to show off (it is a great way to show your skills as a webdeveloper!), we also don’t want the entire leaderboard to be filled with adverts for products, especially if it’s a duplicate account owned by another member.

If you think about this it’s just not fair for the other users who might not be able to reach the top if the leaderboards are flooded with duplicate accounts held by only one or two users. So we’ve changed our terms & conditions to state that one user can’t have more than one account, and will start cracking down on this very soon!


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  • Neil

    woo like the duplicate news :) you should reward sites for certain scores too, like having every site over a 7 :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/drball David Ball

      Good idea, thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/drball David Ball

      Hi Neil, you’ll be happy to know I passed this onto the team and they liked it and are going to implement it. But only with a slight change, the badge will be called “After Eight” (like the chocolates!) and awarded to users with more than 3 websites scored over 8/10.

      Thanks for the idea!

  • Jesse Meijer

    I have a remark and a suggestion concerning the titles of the multi-badges. Maestro actually means master so it seems odd to use them for two different levels. Maybe student, apprentice, master, black belt would be a more logical gradation?

  • http://twitter.com/geovoyagers seven

    I love nibbler, but the cheeting goes on. Seems like some users are getting together and claiming the same sites just so that they have a large number of good scoring sites in order to get those multi-badges. Even pages which I know they have never designed and in reality belong to other people. 

    And then you have those who add 10 sites, which are an exact copy for each other, except that they are on different domains. 

    Another thing which makes me sad sometimes, is that the most discusting (visually) looking sites, which are technically good, get really high scores. Ok, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but even those eyes have their limits … an insult to anyone using the word web-”designer” … 

    keep up the good work and thanks for nibbler :)

    • Jesse Meijer

      I do think it is a good thing multiple people can claim a site, of course as long as they have contributed in building it.
      There is no way to check this though, but maybe badge points can be devided amongst the claimers?

      As for your second point, I do feel addressed, and have to admit that if I wouldn’t have had my clients websites (multi-domain webshops) I wouldn’t have had a shot at getting on the leaderboard.
      But I have just made use of how Nibbler works, as I feel anybody else would.

      Maybe it would be an idea to compare page content or server IP-addresses of the claims or to check if they’re connected in any other kind of way.
      Also maybe it would be better to upgrading a badge for quantities instead of gaining more badges.
      So for example if you have 8 W3-compliant websites you will lose the badge with 3 websites.
      The 8 W3 badge has a greater value than the 3 W3 badge (for example 400), but you will gain less points than you would with both of the badges (600).
      I do not know if it is possible to implement such a system in Nibbler, but it might be an idea for the future?

      As for the third point, there is no way a computer could decide wether or not a website is beautiful. User votes could do this, but in a competition such a system would be abused by either up-voting own sites and down-voting the sites of competitors. Maybe only a thumbs-up button?

      David, hope you are able to do something with these comments/suggestions, as I have seen in the past few days you do take them serious by implement some of them right away!
      I can only say: thank you!

      • Seven

        Hi Jesse,
        you make some good points and suggestions. I was not thinking of you, when I made those comments … 
        tina :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/drball David Ball

      Hi Seven, thanks for the comment. We’re trying to do what we can to stop any cheating going on, this means being stricter on users who might not have actually contributed to creating a site. I personally don’t think this is much of a problem – why would someone want to show a website on their profile if they didn’t create it? It just seems a bit weird that you’re showing off a website you never had any involvement with. So I think user’s own conscience will prevent this. 

      Unfortunately it’s very difficult to rate a site based on its visual attractiveness, as we can only test for the site’s code, and not the graphics. It’s possible to make a website look incredibly amazing, but it might be incredibly badly built, and might not be successful, so doesn’t deserve to be rated highly at all. 

      This is something we’re always thinking about though, and we’re adding badges all the time that reward genuine good-practice. 

      • http://twitter.com/geovoyagers seven

        Hi David,
        Like Jesse, I really appreciate that you take user comments seriously. 

        You asked “why would someone want to show a website on their profile if they didn’t create it? It just seems a bit weird that you’re showing off a website you never had any involvement with. So I think user’s own conscience will prevent this.”

        Well, because it will get them up the leaderboard ladder … and unfortunately some users don’t care about their own conscience.

        Nontheless, thanks for your efforts and keep up the good work!

        tina

        • http://www.facebook.com/drball David Ball

          Hi Tina, I guess what I mean is it’s a weird paradox – I imagine the best reason someone wanted to be high in the leaderboard is to show off their websites and their skill as a webdeveloper, but to do that they had to claim websites that aren’t theirs. Seems odd to me!

          But if it is happening, we’ll be vigilant at stopping users do this. We don’t like cheaters! 

  • http://twitter.com/geovoyagers seven

    I love nibbler, but the cheeting goes on. Seems like some users are getting together and claiming the same sites just so that they have a large number of good scoring sites in order to get those multi-badges. Even pages which I know they have never designed and in reality belong to other people. 

    And then you have those who add 10 sites, which are an exact copy for each other, except that they are on different domains. 

    Another thing which makes me sad sometimes, is that the most discusting (visually) looking sites, which are technically good, get really high scores. Ok, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but even those eyes have their limits … an insult to anyone using the word web-”designer” … 

    keep up the good work and thanks for nibbler :)

  • http://joerghuelsermann.de/ Jörg

    Cheating or Testing the Quality of your programming Code.

    To the Multiple Accounts. Why you dont read only the first 40 chars of the Verification.

    Sorry you must see the Borders of your System to make it better.