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As an example, Electorate implies that Civic Duty has also been awarded, so there is no need to keep the latter. It is just visual noise (just look at the page of any very-active user).

Above example is a simple case of course, since other families have badges that are not exactly compatible, e.g. Altruist and Benefactor, but you do get the point.

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If badges are noise, so is reputation. Why not reset it when it reach 1000? Or 10000? – Shadow Wizard Jan 7 '13 at 7:41
It is the implied ones that I consider noise. – Tshepang Jan 7 '13 at 9:23

I love my badges and want to keep all of them, even if a bronze one has been topped by a silver or gold one.

That is not visual noise to me, that are awards I have got.

And in fact, all a user sees is a number next to a colored circle, in my opinion it does not matter if the number is 4028 (John Skeet bronze badges at the moment) or only 2976 (just an example, no idea what the real number would be).

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