Badges are little bits of digital flair that you earn for almost every kind of activity on Meta Stack Exchange. The number and type of badges you've earned are displayed together with your username and reputation score around the site, as part of your usercard.
The badge system exists for two reasons:
- to teach new users how Stack Exchange works
- to encourage activities that are positive to the community
Stack Exchange badges fall into three broad categories:
Bronze badges. Bronze badges are awarded for basic use of the site; they encourage people to use all the typical, routine functions of the site: posting questions, answering questions, voting up or down, tagging posts, editing, filling out your user profile, and so forth. Bronze badges are relatively easy to get.
Silver badges. Silver badges are for experienced users who regularly use Meta Stack Exchange. They encourage continued participation and returning to the site by awarding longer term goals. Silver badges are more uncommon than bronze badges, but attainable if you're dedicated.
Gold badges. Gold badges are for the most committed users. They reward the most difficult feats; you’ll have to not only participate in the community but be skilled, knowledgeable, and dedicated to earn these.
Many badges can be awarded multiple times, so don't stop after you've earned a badge once.
Badges are always earned by achieving a measurable numeric goal queried out of the site database. They are based on data, rather than being arbitrarily awarded by a human. You don’t have to worry about currying favor to earn badges; just use the site like you normally would, and the site itself will bestow these badges upon you. That said, badges are supposed to be fun, too!
View the complete list of badges to see which ones you've earned or might be able to earn!