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This may seem a little prudish, but as a new SO and MSO user, I found the badge descriptions a little less than fully intuitive. For all you old-timers, here's a privileged glimpse into the observations of the ignorant and uninitiated...

For example, the Scholar badge reads:

"First accepted answer on your own question"

An initial quick read of the hover-over description led me to believe this was tongue-in-cheek, meaning

"You accepted your own answer. You must be a scholar. Heh."

Since I knew that wasn't the case (on either count) I re-read it more carefully and realized it was still ambiguous. I think the word "First" is troublesome on this badge and might be more easily understood if it simply said something like:

"Accepted an answer on your own question"

Similarly, other badges that have the word "first" seem less than straight forward. The Teacher badge ("Answered first question with at least one up vote") could easily be taken to refer only to the first question I answered, rather than the first time an answer was voted up. Same with Student badge.

I know these seem like nitpicking, but these sites are great precisely because they cut out the ambiguity and get to the meat of the matter. This seems like the place to bring up even the trivial.

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As you can see below, I guess I'm still confused :) –  lc. Jul 7 '09 at 4:09
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Some of the statements Jeff has written, are also a bit unclear. Namely how much rep you get for associating your accounts. Basically I think he is better at longer posts, than at some of the short ones he has written. That being said, I would probably read anything he has written. –  Brad Gilbert Jul 7 '09 at 5:12
    
Sorry, but it has to be done: it's "Nit-picking" not "knit-picking" </pedant> –  ChrisF Jul 7 '09 at 8:21
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@ChrisF: thanks, no wonder my clothes keep falling off –  Feckmore Jul 7 '09 at 12:48
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2 Answers

There has been some confusion over the descriptions in the badges in the past, so I can understand why someone would be having problems with understanding what each one means. I figure if someone took the time to make a better description for the badges to make them more clear, I don't think Jeff & The Team would ignore it immediately. It may not be something that gets changed immediately (since it is a minor nitpick after all), but I don't think it would be looked at negatively.

Since there seems to be even more confusion than I thought, I will try and provide some more information concerning the badges on StackOverflow:

  • Autobiographer - Fill out your user profile. (only awrded once)
  • Beta - Be a member of the site's beta period (only awarded once)
  • Citizen Patrol - Flag you first post (only awarded once)
  • Civic Duty - Cast any combination of 300 up and down votes. (only awarded once)
  • Cleanup - First rollback of a question or answer. (only awarded once)
  • Commentator - Left 10 comments on questions and answers (only awarded once)
  • Critic - Awarded first time you cast a down vote (only awarded once)
  • Disciplined - Deleted your own post that had a score of at least +3 (awarded multiple times)
  • Editor - First edit to a question or answer (only awarded once)
  • Enlightened - You are the first to answer a question. Your answer is accepted. Your answer scores at least +10. This can be awarded multiple times.
  • Woot!/Enthusiast - Visited the site for 30 days straight (only awarded once I believe)
  • Famous Question - Asked a question with 10,000 views (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Fanatic - Visit the site for 100 straight days (only awarded once I believe)
  • Favorite Question - Your question is favorited by 25 people (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Generalist - Active in many different tags (awarded once, but not implemented at this time)
  • Good Answer - Answer voted up 25 times (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Good Question - Question voted up 25 times (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Great Answer - Answer voted up 100 times (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Great Question - Question voted up 100 times (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Guru - Accepted Answer and Score of at least +40 (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Necromancer - Answer a question more than 60 days after it's posting and score at least +5 (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Nice Answer - Answer voted up 10 times (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Nice Question - Question voted up 10 times (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Notable Question - Question viewed 2,500 times (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Organizer - Awarded upon the first time you retag a question (awarded only once)
  • Peer Pressure - Deleted your own post after it scored at least -3 (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Popular Question - Question viewed 1,000 times (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Populist - Your answer has 2x the score as the accepted answer. Accepted answer must be at least +10 (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Scholar - Awarded the first time you accept an answer on a question you post (awarded only once)
  • Self-Learner - Accepted your own answer and scored at least +3 (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Stellar Question - Question favorited by 100 users (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Strunk & White - Awarded after you edit 100 questions or answers (awarded only once)
  • Student - Awarded after asking a question with a single up vote (awarded only once)
  • Supporter - Awarded after casting your first up vote (awarded only once)
  • Taxonomist - Created a tag that is used on 50 questions (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Teacher - Awarded after receiving your first up vote on an answer (awarded only once)
  • Tumbleweed - Ask a question that gets no comments, no answers, and low views over the course of a week (can be awarded multiple times)
  • Yearling - be a member of the site for a year (awarded only once)
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Those are pretty clear descriptions. –  lc. Jul 7 '09 at 4:33
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I think Civic Duty would be more clearly stated as "Cast a total of 300 votes, either up or down". The "and" in your description could be ambiguous. :) –  womp Jul 7 '09 at 4:44
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Citizen Patrol doesn't seem to be awarded if you only flag something for moderator attention - it has to be either spam or offensive, etc. –  a_m0d Jul 7 '09 at 4:54
    
Editor: Awarded the first time you edit a question, or answer. –  Brad Gilbert Jul 7 '09 at 5:06
    
Enthusiast: 'visited stackoverflow for 30 days straight'. Because of meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/2949/bug-the-woot-badge Obviously using a variable for the site name. –  Daniel James Jul 7 '09 at 8:17
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These descriptions are much clearer than the present badge descriptions list. Assuming the rewrites are correct please implement these ASAP. –  ahsteele Jul 13 '09 at 17:19
    
I was always confused about the Woot badge. "The site" is pretty ambiguous. Especially because it's the Woot logo. Which site? SO or Woot? –  Travis Jul 20 '09 at 20:38
    
T Pops: It is the StackOverflow (or whatever site the badge is for). Woot! is a sponsor and Jeff decided to make it the Woot! badge over top its traditional name of Enthusiast. We can't track your daily visitation of Woot! –  TheTXI Jul 20 '09 at 20:40
    
Does the answer/question that is deleted have to be at -3 or an aggregate of -3 to be awarded the Peer Pressure badge? –  ahsteele Aug 14 '09 at 21:26
    
@ahsteele: I am almost certain that it is a total score of -3 –  TheTXI Aug 14 '09 at 21:47
    
So a question with a -2 though it had been down voted more than 2 times would or wouldn't count? I deleted a rather flippant answer to an iPhone App Store question that I thought would have earned the badge: stackoverflow.com/questions/1236299/… –  ahsteele Aug 15 '09 at 4:58
    
@ahsteele: I am pretty sure that a post that got 3 down votes and 1 upvote for a total score of -2 would NOT be able to get the peer pressure badge. You would have to have another downvote to push it down to -3 total. –  TheTXI Aug 15 '09 at 5:13
    
@TheTXI I think I understand now. Thank you. –  ahsteele Aug 16 '09 at 15:19
    
This answer has been used as the basis for a community-editable complete list of badge information. –  Pops Oct 13 '10 at 17:09
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The word "first" (in many cases) means the badge will only be awarded the first time the criteria are met. This is contrary to the Nice Answer series, for example, which will be awarded for each time the criteria are met.

I was also confused as a new user and apparently still am. I think it could be cleared up by appending "(Awarded once)" to the confusing descriptions instead of using "first". The enlightened badge, however, should still say first because it indeed means "first answer" (thanks TheTXI).

For example:

Enlightened - First answer and was accepted with at least 10 upvotes

Scholar - Accepted an answer on your own question (awarded once)

Student - Asked a question with at least one up vote (awarded once)

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You are wrong concerning the Enlightened badge. The Enlightened badge is if you are the FIRST answer on a question, get accepted, and have at least 10 upvotes. I should know because I have 8 of them right now. –  TheTXI Jul 7 '09 at 3:52
    
Well..9 of them actually, but whatever. –  TheTXI Jul 7 '09 at 3:52
    
It even says on the description of the badge that it can be awarded multiple times. –  TheTXI Jul 7 '09 at 3:54
    
Thanks for clearing that up. I guess I'm still confused... –  lc. Jul 7 '09 at 4:03
    
That makes sense on the Enlightened badge now - edited my answer –  lc. Jul 7 '09 at 4:08
    
I added hopefully some more clear explanations of the badges on my anwer. –  TheTXI Jul 7 '09 at 4:25
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