“On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country;
To obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight”
……The Scout Oath
Actually while writing about the badges, I remember of the American boy scout, a good group that was established to help children shape their good personalities as well as training living-skills. A badge is the symbol that tells everyone that the scout completed a good work. Some badges are fairly easy to get: camping, cooking, first-aids,… others are sometimes very hard to achieve: wood work, water sports, …. Based on this fact, the boy scouts always have a goal to follow.
Return here at StackOverflow: we have a similar system of badges for programmers!
According to StackOverflow FAQ, there are 3 kinds of badges:
- Gold Badges: very rare, and proves that the user is highly engaged and (often) have high contribution to the site by good questions & answers.
- Silver badges: uncommon, but attainable for anyone with sufficient efforts.
- Bronze badges: are awarded for basic use of Stack Overflow. They are easy to earn.
According to… me, “Badges” at StackOverflow are divided into about 3 types: site functions, achievements and tag-achievements:
Site function badges are often given after the user try a new function of the site. This kind of badges gets along with the reputation system: when your rep-points reach a limit, you unlock new function; when you use that function, you get a badge. The typical example is “commentor badge” (comment 10 times), or “Supporter badge” (the first up-vote you give to others). All badges of this kind are bronze.
Achievement badges is some kind of reward for your contribution to the site. For instance, if you get an answer with 25 up-vote, you get the silver “Good answer” badges.
Tag-achievements are specific badges that be rewarded for getting lots of up-votes for a specific tags. They are kind of harder to get, since you must get at least 100 up-votes to win a bronze badge for a tag. But these badges are absolutely worthy: it proves that you are an expertise in that specific area. In my opinion, a specific-tag bronze badge is even more valuable than a general gold badge.
Until here, some of you may raise the question: why do we need to know this stuff to start at StackOverflow? Well, the reason is here:
When you are getting started, or even when you are already on boat, there will be a period that it seems you don’t get anything (up-vote or accepted answer), no matter how many answers you throw up on board. It’s a fact, and you shouldn’t be pessimistic. Things will improve when you least expected.
If you are in a time like that, I recommend you pay some time into the badge-hunting game.
Well, let’s guess: how many users, seeing you have a bronze badge, will actually click to your profile to see if it’s a “Java” badge or a “Student badge”?
People like to look at the surface. They know that the more badges you have, the higher you engaged to the site, so they can trust you more. So do your answers. It’s simple logic.