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I was just looking around and spotted something that might be worth discussing, I know this isn't a great importance to the site but wondered whether it would be worth mentioning?

The yearling badge is defined as

Active member for a year, earning at least 200 reputation. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

I'm not stating that the badge is implemented incorrectly, it does exactly what it says on the tin.

But should it be awarded if the user hasn't logged in for the year? I mean say for instance if Jon Skeet got sick of the world of software development and decided to become a physiotherapist (for example), consequentially deciding not to ever visit the site again. He would achieve the yearling badge for eternity because his questions and answers would be earning him 200 reputation year by year.

I thought of it when stumbling across a user that had asked 3 questions and hasn't been seen since for nearly 3 years, but has achieved the badge 3 times (nearly a 4th) because they had scraped together 200 rep each year.

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12  
It's actually "worse" than you think. If I get 1,000 points in my first year and then don't visit or even get any reputation in the next four years I still get a Yearling badge as points / years > 200. –  ChrisF Jul 18 '12 at 11:56
    
@ChrisF check out the formula I added to my answer, it could be used instead. –  Rocky DeHart Jul 18 '12 at 15:55

2 Answers 2

The obvious answer is no. It should not be awarded.

The badge clearly has 2 requirements:

  1. Be an active member for a year.
  2. Earn at least 200 reputation in that year.

In your examples the second requirement was fulfilled but the first wasn't, making it irrational for the user to receive the badge.

This, however presents us with a new question. What are the requirements needed to be considered an active user? If the user logs on a couple times, does that really mean they are active?

EDIT: Here's a formula that could be used at the end of the year on every user to determine if they get the yearling badge. It takes account for their reputation and their activity, it uses JavaScript syntax:

var q = amount of useful questions the user has asked this year;
var a = amount of answers user has asked this year;
var v = amount of votes user has done this year;
var c = amount of comments made by user this year;
var newRep = the users current reputation;
var oldRep = the users reputation at the end of last year;

if((q+a+v+c)>=30 && (newRep-oldRep)>=200))
{
    //User gets Yearling Badge!
}
else
{
    //User does not get yearling badge.
}

NOTE: The 30 could be changed to any number considered reasonable for checking the users activity.

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The way I read the description is as if by active member this means they must have earned 200 reputation, thus making them 'active', but that's what I was questioning, why it should be defined in that manner when the user has even stepped foot on the site. –  ThePower Jul 18 '12 at 15:30
    
I totally agree, it should not be defined in that manner. I have just added a formula to my answer, that could be used to determine if the user gets the badge or not. –  Rocky DeHart Jul 18 '12 at 15:52
    
-1 for the formula: not enough trigonometry –  gnat Jul 18 '12 at 18:40

I believe there is actually a discrepancy between the documentation and implementation (which of course is horrible because as a developer myself I never do that...)

Consider the "great answer" badge. If I come up with an answer that qualifies for "great answer", I do not receive a "great answer" badge for each subsequent answer. Instead, it is implicit that "this may be awarded multiple times" means each answer must earn its "great answer" badge on its own merit.

In a similar manner, the requirements of the badge clearly state the user must be active, and define the activity threshold: earn 200 reputation in the year. It does not state anything about being logged in, nor should it: if they are earning reputation, they are contributing to the community, and thus deserve the badge.

Whether they are physically (okay, electronically) present on the site has no bearing on the fact of whether or not they have made a contribution for that given year. If, for example, they receive 20 upvotes throughout the course of the year, then on 20 different occasions, someone decided that their answer was a valid contribution to the community. Why should it matter when their wisdom was imparted?

But most importantly, the good work of a previous year should not warrant badges for subsequent years any more than a good answer warrants badges for subsequent answers. So using the other 'multiple awarded' badges as a precedent, the Yearling badge currently does not implement its stated behavior.

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The definition of the badge says: "active member for a year.." not "active answer for a year". Having active answers does not mean your an active member, and they should be treated differently since there is already a badge for receiving upvotes to your answers. –  Rocky DeHart Jul 18 '12 at 17:26
    
Membership has nothing to do with activity. If it did, there wouldn't be a distinction between active members and inactive members. –  corsiKa Jul 18 '12 at 17:31

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