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There are two badges given for consecutive duration on the site - "enthusiats" (30 days) and "fanatic" (100 days).

I guess that a simple script can login every few hours instead of the user, to gain the badge. Am I correct?

EDIT: Great. I hope to publish the script as soon as I understand the OpenID mechanism well enough.

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As long as you have OpenID keep you logged in, you shouldn't have to worry about it at all after you manually sign-in once. –  jjnguy Jul 22 '09 at 16:33
    
I'm not sure about actually scripting this - how will the site identify the script as "logged in" after I have manually logged in using a browser. –  Adam Matan Jul 22 '09 at 17:12

7 Answers 7

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Yes I believe this is possible and I'm not sure how you could keep it from happening without annoying your actual users. Furthermore, I think I would view taking the time to "fake" this might prove enthusiastic and/or fanatical behavior.

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I don't know- writing a script to make a request to the home page as me set to run from my home server daily would take all of about 5 mintues (even if that 5 minutes would be wasted as I rarely if ever miss a day). –  Joel Coehoorn Jul 22 '09 at 16:23
    
@Joel, right, but I believe it shows a certain amount of enthusiasm to care enough about badges (that do nothing for your rep), to even spend 5 minutes doing this (and for myself, it would definitely take longer than 5 mins). Additionally, short of removing the badge, or daily prompting users catcha to prove they're not a script, I'm not sure how you avoid this behavior. –  Timothy Carter Jul 22 '09 at 16:32
    
+1 for a good smile. That would be really fanatic behaviour :-)) –  Tomas Aug 11 '11 at 9:35

I figure if a user wants the badges enough to spend the time to write a little script to log in every few hours, he deserves them.

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Actually only once every 24 hours should be enough (23 or 12 hours to be safe). –  Brad Gilbert Jul 22 '09 at 16:00
    
You really only have to login at 23:59 and 0:01 every other day. –  jjnguy Jul 22 '09 at 16:02
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Given how wonkily the recent activity page measures time, I wouldn't feel safe logging in at midnight. What if the badge system uses the same broken time system? No, I'd want it to log in every few hours to make sure it works. –  XMLbog Jul 22 '09 at 16:05
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I just manually check the site every 15 minutes. This is to be sure that the system notices that I'm here. –  jjnguy Jul 22 '09 at 16:16
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You don't have to login daily, you just have to come to the site while logged in. A much simpler task! –  Ian Elliott Jul 22 '09 at 16:27
    
@jinguy, but which timezone? –  dlamblin Jul 22 '09 at 20:20
    
The time zone is GMT –  Ian Elliott Jul 22 '09 at 20:37

As suggested by Oscar Reyes on this question, have one these animals:

..operate your F5 button. Simple. No complicated scripts to worry about.

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Hey! It worked for Homer Simpson! Kept the nuclear power plant running for a good week, if memory serves 8^D –  Dillie-O Oct 15 '09 at 15:17
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Yeh. Like everything, you just need a backup, in case the first bird is incapacitated. That's where Homer went wrong. –  dbr Oct 15 '09 at 15:39

Yes

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I plan on faking it by having my roommate log in for me this weekend because I will be unable to access a computer to do it myself. It isn't the worst thing in the world. If someone is willing to go through that effort, they deserve the badge.

*Note* This is not true for most/all other badges.

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I'd rather save the StackOverflow sites as a link on my desktop and set up a scheduled task in windows to run and execute the shortcut, which would then open up the web browser. I wouldn't want to rely on a lazy human. –  TheTXI Jul 22 '09 at 16:25
    
Good call. I'll get that set up when I get home from work. –  jjnguy Jul 22 '09 at 16:31

A curl request using a cookie file containing a log in is all you have to crontab. It's not even a script really.

But I'm keeping it manual because... I don't care that much I suppose.

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Looks like in your case the script is the user. –  random Oct 15 '09 at 14:34

FWIW, some browsers (eg. Safari 4) that keep an updated "thumbnail" of your most popular visited websites will load the website every once in a while whenever you open the browser so long as those users have the site (SO, SF, SU, MSO) as on of their Top Sites and use the Top Sites feature they only need to open Safari once a day to get the badges.

It's not perfect but I don't believe it's worth the effort to try and weed out the "false" requests.

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