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I always found it odd that although I could compose and with in , I can't do the same for a Great Question, Great Answer, or any other badge. I assume that this is because, outside of Meta Stack Overflow, there is no real need to reference badges? Be that as it may, would there be any interest in adding badges to Markdown?

I am envisioning a syntax similar to the one used for tags. For example,

[badge:great-question] Question score of 100 or more. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

or (as suggested by M. Tibbits):

[gold-badge:great-question] Question score of 100 or more. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

would be displayed as

Note that I am not proposing that you need to enter the badge description to display the badge, nor that the badge description will be automatically inserted. Typing [badge:great-question] (or [gold-badge:great-question]) would be sufficient to display the "Great Question" badge, which would ideally have a tooltip with the badge description and link to the badge page. (I used the badge description text in the example above only because it was easier to take a screenshot that way.)

This answer and this answer are great examples of posts that would benefit from the addition of badges to Markdown.

UPDATE: Martin Clayton has brought it to my attention that the idea of a badge creator is not a new one. Check out this post for "those that demand those elusive badges". People had some fun with this, until inevitably the site that hosted the novelty badges went down. Luckily, Kevin provided a site that still works (as of May 23, 2013). Given the popularity and utility of these badges—their use in jokes notwithstanding—wouldn't it be better to have Stack Overflow host this functionality itself rather than have users rely on an external service that will inevitably go down?

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For what it's worth, the ability to insert real tags into posts has only been around for a few months. Before that, we had to do things like [`[discussion]`](http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/discussion) –  Pops Jul 29 '11 at 17:53
    
I guess that tells you how long I've been associated with Stack Overflow. :) But yes, that's exactly the same type of kludge that we still need to use for badges. –  Chris Frederick Jul 29 '11 at 17:56
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Convert this to a feature request and indicate some sample syntax with proposed results and you'd probably get an upvote from me :) –  Daniel DiPaolo Jul 29 '11 at 19:58
    
@Daniel Done. :) –  Chris Frederick Jul 29 '11 at 20:28
    
When you say, "I assume that this is because, outside of Meta Stack Overflow, there is no real need to reference tags?", do you actually means "badges" at the end there? –  adamjford Jul 29 '11 at 20:40
    
@adamjford: Yes, you're right, thanks for pointing that out. –  Chris Frederick Jul 29 '11 at 21:19
    
We shouldn't have to manually enter the badge description, though. That should happen automagically, just like it does for tags once you enter a valid badge name. –  Cody Gray Jul 29 '11 at 21:46
    
@Cody: You're absolutely right. I just used the badge description as an example because it was easier to take a screenshot that way. I've updated the question accordingly. :-/ –  Chris Frederick Jul 29 '11 at 22:23
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@Sathya: Discussions about badges, just as the tag markdown is used for discussions about tags. This would probably get the vast majority of its use from Meta SO. Is it necessary? No, but then again, neither is tag markdown, really. Of course, it would be nice to see whether a badge is gold, silver, or bronze—and have access to its description as a tooltip—without clicking on a link. –  Chris Frederick Jul 30 '11 at 15:16
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For anyone who is unaware: Kevin's badge generator). –  martin clayton Jul 31 '11 at 23:17
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@Chris: Yes, see elusive badges and the generator is mentioned in the response when the badge host went down –  martin clayton Jul 31 '11 at 23:27
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@martin: Thanks for the links! For what it's worth, though, I don't think that we should make a habit of depending on external sites to render badges like this. –  Chris Frederick Jul 31 '11 at 23:37
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@Chris - absolutely agree. But it can be used to generate images that are then uploaded to the imgur SE host. –  martin clayton Jul 31 '11 at 23:41
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Great idea. You could even do [gold-badge:Made Up Name:Made up description]. –  ThinkingStiff Jul 11 '12 at 8:33
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This would also be nice to be able to put in your profile, e.g., "I was the 680th person to earn [badge:copy-editor] on StackOverflow." –  Kazark Feb 14 '13 at 16:12

3 Answers 3

I like this suggestion. I would really like to use this feature when making suggestions for new badges.

I have a few minor thoughts:

  1. Don't force the syntax to only support existing badges.

    • The current markdown for tags allows for linking to tags which don't exist: . My suspicion is that this is to minimize server load -- ie. an extra query to confirm that the tag does in fact exist.

    • However, to support any possible badges, how would the server know whether a given badge is bronze, sliver, or gold. To address this, I propose an additional markdown feature:

      [bronze-badge:unicornicopia]

      [silver-badge:meta-master]

      [gold-badge:oy]

    None of these would need to query the server to determine badge type and the syntax is similar to the existing: [meta-tag:feature].

  2. To maximize ease of use, we could also allow the [badge:electorate] syntax and simply replace the badge color with a question mark in the preview [? electorate] (if the extra parsing to determine badge color is deemed too expensive).

  3. I don't think the badge description should be auto-inserted, but rather included as a tool-tip style pop-up text.

  4. To simplify implementation, why not make all badges link to the badge page. Or perhaps not link to anywhere to simply avoid the necessity of a meta specific syntax: [meta-gold-badge:mod-hammer].

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I don't think the server load would be too much of an issue. This badge syntax would be used quite rarely on meta only, so the additional load is probably negligible. –  Lukas Eder Jul 23 '12 at 9:34

I would suggest for the badges that come in different metals, we use the same leading syntax and change the back-end, so:

[badge:search-bronze]

though maybe there is a markdown way of stating a subcategory of something.

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But now you have three pieces of information, and you're using two different delimeters. Why? We already have "span type" followed by "text to display" -- why not put the metal in the "span type" bit where it belongs? [bronze-badge:search] See also: [meta-tag:precedent] –  Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 20 '13 at 12:29

I think this is a good idea, especially for on the meta sites and in chat.

We also have tag badges. I'd like to see them as well. My ideas for syntax:

  • [tag-badge:(gold|silver|bronze)-tag-name]
  • [tag-badge:(g|s|b)-tag-name]
  • [badge:(gold|silver|bronze)-tag-name]
  • [badge:(g|s|b)-tag-name]

Note that we can still use [badge:badge-name] for general badges, as is suggested in other answers.

g- instead of gold- might work confusing with some tags that start with g- already. Also it might work confusing to use [badge: for both general and tag badges. It's of course up to the team to decide what's most user friendly, or to choose something else, but these are my 4 cents.

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Why bother with the gold, silver, or bronze differentiators? If the badge is already in the system, why not just let the engine determine the color? –  jmort253 May 27 '13 at 2:42
    
@jmort253 because they're different badges. How could a "Why don't I have the x-badge?" meta question work if the system decides? –  Camil Staps May 27 '13 at 6:12
    
What do you mean "Why don't I have the X badge?" Let me clarify with an example: "I visited site x for 100 days, but I didn't get the [badge:fanatic] badge. What gives?" Since the system knows the fanatic badge is gold, why bother making me write that out? If I'm missing something here, please let me know. :) –  jmort253 May 27 '13 at 6:28
    
@jmort253 oh sorry, I'm talking about tag badges, not general badges - sorry for the misunderstanding, I'll edit some clarity in ;) –  Camil Staps May 27 '13 at 6:29
    
Makes sense for tag badges. :) Thanks for clarifying. I tend to forget tag badges exist... –  jmort253 May 27 '13 at 6:30
    
@jmort253: Because it's not a "get the badge from the system for me" command -- it's just a style category. –  Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 20 '13 at 12:30

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