Open Source Design project with Sustain OSS: Badges

Hey folks!

I’ve been chatting with some folks over on the Sustain OSS discourse about design-related sustainability in OSS and we started to explore a ‘Badges’ project with some of the Sustain OSS folks.

Please see the thread on Sustain OSS’s discourse here:

This project wants to look at both specific badge improvement in the Sustain OSS discourse forum (See badges here) and in general, start to think about a ‘well-designed badge project that could work across OSS projects.’

That latter one is a big, BIG project idea but it could be super fun and exciting :smiley:

What I’d love to happen -

  • A chance for OSD community to work on a project in a collaborative way with multiple designers and not just a relationship of 1 designer to 1 job poster.

  • A chance to start to build a system of badges that are informed by ethical, behaviour science and inclusive principles. Looking at design not just from a visual/graphic pov but a ‘what behaviours can badges encourage in loss projects’ kind of way.

  • A good connection to the Sustain OSS community who are encouraging of Design + UX in Sustainable OSS (see working group here)

Next steps are:

Is anyone interested in being part of this project?
For how much time (hrs per week/month)?
In what capacity? (visuals, behaviour UX, calls and organising etc.)


To understand this better: How would the badges be awarded?

Possibly relevant: German Wikipedia has quite a rich culture of badges. Some are used for self identification (as a person who likes cats, uses vim, likes the visual editor…) others are awarded by others as recognition for being a “good” member of the community. Some seem are somewhat whimsical, I frequently see a yellow (golden?) gummy bear awarded (Though with a meaningful reason given). Technologically, the badges are templates that expand to wiki-markup; there is no automatic rewarding involved. One can list all other pages on which there is a badge (aka and more general: a specific template) though.

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To understand this better: How would the badges be awarded?

This is actually something we discussed in the group’s first call and you can see some of that discussion…here in this doc:

Some key quotes from the doc:

Open Badge project - What we don’t see, what kind of behaviour do we want to encourage?

Badges for the communities you associate / identify with! E.g. I contribute to Fedora Linux, MusicBrainz, Drupal, etc. Let me have a badge to show off my participation with other communities with pride

Can other people gift you a badge :smiley:

Most of these ideas are on the end of page 3-4 in the ’ 5 minute silent brainstorm on ideas

There was plenty of discussion on how to avoid ‘I did this thing a number of times=here’s a badge’ kind of behaviour

Based on my Wikipedia experiences, I think not-automated-badges can work well.

I also like self-assigning, as long as there are some guidelines on when this is OK or not.

Badge creation could be semi-open with a more or less formal suggestion why a certain badge should be there. This also helps to imagine early on what values one wants to uphold, as people will need to tell why their suggestion is coherent with these values.

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Seems Mozilla Open Badges is somewhat related to this idea, but their mental model of a badge is more the digital-community equivalent of a CV entry.

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Hi folks! :wave:

This is the most interesting part of this project to me. I think a lot of people have gut feelings or learned experiences on what works or doesn’t work for digital badging system, but collecting that knowledge into shared best practices would be helpful.

This way, it would not matter what badge tool or implementation you use. These best practices are more like basic principles of designing good badges that engage a community in positive behaviors. I think the challenge is defining positive behaviors.

Out of curiosity, are there any specific examples or context from Wikipedia that makes you think so?

I agree this is important. :+1: For the Fedora Badges project, we use an issue tracker for the community to interact and leave feedback for the designers. There are definitely things we could do better (see >100 unresolved issues), but for the most part, this has been a helpful way for the Fedora Community to leave feedback and interact on badge design and implementation. And to also contribute badge designs in SVG formats!

This is largely the handiwork of Marie Nordin, Fedora’s current Community Action and Impact Coordinator.

Mozilla Open Badges is definitely relevant. :smile:

My hope would be a set of best practices or principles that someone building a downstream Open Badges project (like badgr-server, Fedora Badges, or Discourse forum badges) could use to build a digital badging system that encourages positive interactions that help sustain your community.

To give it a little more of a human touch than just as a CV/resume-like tool!


Out of curiosity, are there any specific examples or context from Wikipedia that makes you think so?

In the German Wikipedia people can award each other with badges which are Wikitemplates (basically expanding text-snippets with parameters and an access syntax). For example someone can leave a gummy bear on someone else’s page which is awarded for people who did something hard. People who don’t like sweets can be awarded the chainsaw (Though I see the gummy bear far more often). People who are friendly might get the friendliness badge… etc. To give a badge one copies a special template text on someones “talkpage”, which serves for conversations on wiki (Though is technologically the same as the pages the Wikipedia articles are on, they use different, rather elaborate social conventions, though). Such a text could be {{Gummibärchen|3=[[Benutzer:Beispielnutzer|Beispielnutzer]]}} which results in
(Text reads: I hereby award the user gummy bear the award Hero of Wikipedia in gold for
special work in the service of improvement our encyclopedia. signed sample user)


Hi folks, I am following up on a chat @Erioldoesdesign and I had in the O.S.D. monthly meeting call. We discussed a way to roughly split this collaboration into three “phases” or steps. Each might last between 2-4 weeks.

  1. Phase 1: Badges best practices
    • This period focuses on collecting feedback and ideas on how digital badges an be used as a system to reward positive community behaviors.
    • This might involve conducting interviews with members of community projects that use a digital badging system.
    • This feedback would be collected, in order to inform the next phase.
  2. Phase 2: Create open source templates and design resources for badging services
    • This period creates a loose framework, style guide, or some other concrete resource that someone can use (regardless of what software they are using) to design a good badging system.
    • What makes sense depends on the interest we receive, but examples might be SVG templates for badges, an Inkscape color palette, and any other tools that someone could use for basic branding / design of digital badges.
  3. Phase 3: Promotion and outreach
    • In line with the Sustain OSS collaboration, we would aim to have an outbound report on this collaboration and anything we produce in time for a Sustain Summit 2021 event (whether in-person or virtual).
    • This period is an opportunity to take what we produced and share it out as a resource for others. Conference talks beyond the Sustain Summit are also a good idea in this phase.

So, these three phases would be the loose “guidelines” to how we move forward on this. But this is the most I intend to lay out details. A lot of this is going to have to be figured out slowly, step-by-step.

Curious for other folks’ thoughts! If we can reach a consensus, we can set up another meeting to work on planning out Phase 1.

Edit: We also created a shared Etherpad for collecting any notes or ideas about this. We will probably use this more actively at our next meeting!


i’m interested in joining this project.

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Hey Victory, we’re still preparing the ‘open source design job’ for this so for now, the best thing to do its head over to the Sustain OSS discourse forum and have a look at the badges there and review them from your perspective which I see you’re doing already :slight_smile:

Here’s a screenshot of my badges in my profile to help:


thanks @Erioldoesdesign i’ll do that


Ooh now I see you Brownie.
Now I know why you have known me very well.