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.
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.
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!