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I understand badges represent "feats" on SO, but I think they can also be a great tool to reward individuals who show dedication to making the community better. With rep, you earn a certain amount, and you get extra privs like editing or voting, etc..

I propose that within questions that qualify for your badge, you get extra votes. For instance,for every silver C++ badge, you now get the chance to "extra upvote" questions and answers tagged C++. When you get a gold C++ badge, your upvotes don't count towards the poster's daily 200 rep limit.

To clarify, these benefits would be limited to only within the area which you earned the badge.

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Edited to be more constructive – Zak Dec 5 '09 at 3:57

Badges are a slightly different dimension than rep.

They measure participation in ways that a reputation score number cannot.

You can have a very high reputation without ever getting a gold badge, for example. Just browse around the user profiles and you'll see what I mean.

And good luck getting the tag-based badges, which are elusive indeed:

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I understand they are a different dimension, but other than a nifty color on the screen they just summarize what is already present in your answer history. They signify notable achievements, but don't reward notable achievements. My suggestions helps elucidate the meaning of being highly respected by earning a gold or silver badge. Your opinion/experience now carries more weight in the community (rightly so I believe). – Zak Dec 5 '09 at 3:23
the idea that one person's vote should "count more" than another person's vote is undemocratic -- not something we will ever support. – Jeff Atwood Dec 5 '09 at 3:26
Jeff, Clearly you are saying that your vote counts more, because it (the feature) is something you will never support. That isn't democracy, that's a dictatorship. (Your site, you have the right I'm just saying). In a representative democracy, we elect those who we believe should wield power and make decisions for us. I want people who are great at C++ to be able to highlight great questions and answers with more authority than someone who has not been proven to be all that great. – Zak Dec 5 '09 at 3:30
Ironically I don't see a lot of community votes for this feature, so I'd say the democracy is working at the moment :) – Jeff Atwood Dec 5 '09 at 3:44
If that's so, it's fine with me. I just hope you let the question stand and let people decide. I don't have any problem with being wrong or having a bad idea, it just means I need to think of something different, or be satisfied with the way things are. I love SO and it is tremendously useful. Thank you for all the great work to make it so thus far. – Zak Dec 5 '09 at 3:52

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