I frequently see posts where people are asking something like, "Where's the badge I just earned?" Sometimes it's because they didn't read the List of all badges with full descriptions and misunderstood the requirements, but often it's because they haven't waited long enough for it to be awarded.
People like instant gratification. I remember feeling that way the first time I met the requirements for a gold badge and didn't see it in my list.
- Time before badge is awarded?
- what is the time lapse between achieving a tag badge and it being awarded?
- How long does it take for badges to be awarded? How are they generated? (faq)
Here are two ideas to lessen the frustation of a newer user waiting for their badge to show up.
UPDATE: This option was pretty silly and difficult to implement. It was detracting from Option 2, which is very easy to implement and would be helpful. I left this in because "Option 2" was mentioned in the comments.
This option is much easier to implement. This gives the user more info about the badge award process right where they need it and might prevent them from worrying about it or posting in meta.
The dialog can encourage them to wait up to 24 hours and give them links for more information.