Is there a name, phrase or term for the feeling of getting accolades, appreciation or respect for something that you consider to be trivial relative to other things you have done?

For example, what you feel when your simple answer to a trivial beginner question on Stack Overflow is your highest scoring answer.

I guess the feeling is of some frustration mixed with the ridiculousness of the situation. As if the "wrong" thing is being appreciated.

  • 2
    Undeserved praise, perhaps. I have earned a lot of reps for a very basic answer on Stack Overflow that was greatly expanded by others. They did most of the work, while I got all the reps. I still get upvotes for it, even though it's years old. I suppose that I should award some bounties, but I don't frequent SO now. I have no shame.
    – Mick
    Dec 12, 2017 at 10:57
  • That's not exactly what I'm looking for, as the praise may be appreciated by others (and thus considered "deserved"), but for me the feeling is that I have done so much more/better/advanced stuff that I'd consider more "deserving" and this was just a trivial matter (for me).
    – Adi Shavit
    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:03
  • 2
    Unwanted praise, unnecessary praise, undue praise? There are plenty of alternatives. One fixed phrase that comes to mind is "You are too kind."
    – Mick
    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:08
  • Can you describe what you feel in that situation?
    – Lawrence
    Dec 12, 2017 at 13:25
  • 1
    @Lawrence: see edit above.
    – Adi Shavit
    Dec 12, 2017 at 13:27

2 Answers 2


These does not describe the feeling but the appreciation but are perhaps helpful and avoid the issue of deserved or not:

  • "unwarranted praise"
  • "unintended praise/appreciation"

I don't think there's a specific term for either the feeling or activity. It happens very frequently on reddit too!


"Participation Award" may be what you're looking for

Nominally describing awards given out to all (archtypically very young) competitors in some event, typically so as to not make potentially sensitive children feel terrible for losing in high-profile events, regardless of their actual performance (hence the only requirement is 'participation').

The term has since grown to describe accolades which are given for activities or accomplishments that do not merit such, or for accolades which are not deserved, but received due to certain combinations of politics or timing

E.g. - In a business environment a team is credited with having made some noteworthy accomplishment. Because of this all members of that team are to be given a certificate of thanks.

However, a new hire joined the team a day or two prior to the accomplishment's conclusion. Being a new hire they did not contribute in any noteworthy way to this accomplishment.

Nonetheless, the team as a whole is awarded certificates.

While this certificate may or may not be a legitimate accolade for most members of the team, for the new hire it could absolutely be regarded as a 'participation award', granted to him solely for happening to have his name on the team registry at the right time.

  • I know what that is, but seems to be unrelated. Participation award is intended to encourage. Not really what I asked about.
    – Adi Shavit
    Jul 13, 2018 at 16:28

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