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I didn't see this in the FAQ so I'm posting it here. I frequently see gold/copper/silver coins next to someone's name, what are these? Oh... are they achievements? Like you've received 2 silver achievements

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You are correct. Here we call them badges. – jjnguy Dec 1 '10 at 17:40
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Badges. See this.

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They're called badges. You can read about them in the FAQ and see the full details of each badge here.

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