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I happened to come across this question. I also noticed that the user who posted the top answer for this question, has been awarded "Enlightened" badge for his answer.

What baffles me is, the Enlightened badge is awarded to the user for an answer with 10 upvotes (if it is the first answer). But his answer has only 8 upvotes. Also, if you have privilege to see the upvotes and downvotes for a particular question/answer you can see that this answer has no downvotes, which implies that at no point in time that answer had 10 upvotes. So how can the Enlightened badge be awarded?

Please note that I am not criticizing or taking any objection on anyone. This is just a question which I could not find answer by myself. May be I did not understand the explanation of Enlightened badge?

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If the accounts that voted for the answer later got merged with the poster that would cause the cross-votes to be removed, but also implies gaining the badge fraudulently. –  Flexo Feb 10 '12 at 20:51
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

This can happen when votes and/or voters (users) are deleted in the system. The badge has long since been awarded for reaching the appropriate threshold (score of 10, first answer, accepted), but then some other process at a later time eliminates data.

The system will not automatically rescind any awarded badges. What will happen is that the next time the user is eligible for that particular badge, the system will recalibrate and see if the user already has the appropriate number of badges. If the user is presently deserving of 9, and already has 9 or more, then the system will not award the new badge. Apparently the logic has changed, see comments. At any rate, you don't lose the badge you gained unless someone with those rights takes a manual action to do so.

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so you mean if i delete my profile, then whatever votes i have casted, they will be 'deleted'? i.e. counts for the questions/answers for which i votes will decrease? –  Learner Feb 10 '12 at 20:45
    
I don't know if your own action regarding your profile would eliminate you along with your votes, or if that's an admin function. However, yes, a user and their votes can be purged. Also, a user's votes can automatically be rescinded based upon a periodic "suspicious voting pattern" algorithm that runs. Finally, users can simply rescind their own votes within a few minutes of casting them or if there is a subsequent edit. I doubt this is the case here, as Englightened is not a badge that is awarded in real time, but on some sort of (often) recurring schedule (based upon observation). –  Anthony Pegram Feb 10 '12 at 20:48
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Some of the logic that counted "presently deserved" badges has been removed though Enlightened wasn't specifically mentioned. So you can earn Populist on an answer, even if you won the badge on a previous answer that has been deleted. –  Troyen Feb 10 '12 at 21:09
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@Troyen is correct, the information on badges based on counts is outdated, the system will award the next badge now. Badges are checked if we've awarded one for that specific reason ID (be it a tag, post, whatever), not a global "do you have ## of badge X" check. –  Nick Craver Feb 11 '12 at 15:20
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Possibly the answer looked correct, so people voted it up, and then a later answer was more complete or pointed out a flaw, so some of them took back their upvotes, but didn't feel strongly enough to register downvotes.

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How did they do that? There's no edit history. Within minutes of upvoting they removed it? –  Matt Fenwick Feb 10 '12 at 20:39
    
seeming less and less likely but could happen. –  Kate Gregory Feb 10 '12 at 20:41
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Not sure why this is downvoted. You can remove an upvote within 6 minutes of posting it, or anytime in the future if the answer is edited. This is quite likely what happened. –  Adam Rackis Feb 10 '12 at 20:42
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@AdamRackis - it's 5 minutes, but that's just being pedantic –  ChrisF Feb 11 '12 at 15:59
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