I always found it odd that although I could compose and with in , I can't do the same for a Great Question, Great Answer, or any other badge. I assume that this is because, outside of Meta Stack Overflow, there is no real need to reference badges? Be that as it may, would there be any interest in adding badges to Markdown?

I am envisioning a syntax similar to the one used for tags. For example,

[badge:great-question] Question score of 100 or more. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

or (as suggested by M. Tibbits):

[gold-badge:great-question] Question score of 100 or more. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

would be displayed as

"Great Question" shown in the gold badge design: Question score of 100 or more. This badge can be awarded multiple times.

Note that I am not proposing that you need to enter the badge description to display the badge, nor that the badge description will be automatically inserted. Typing [badge:great-question] (or [gold-badge:great-question]) would be sufficient to display the "Great Question" badge, which would ideally have a tooltip with the badge description and link to the badge page. (I used the badge description text in the example above only because it was easier to take a screenshot that way.)

This answer and this answer are great examples of posts that would benefit from the addition of badges to Markdown.

UPDATE: Martin Clayton has brought it to my attention that the idea of a badge creator is not a new one. Check out this post for "those that demand those elusive badges". People had some fun with this, until inevitably the site that hosted the novelty badges went down. Luckily, Kevin provided a site that still works (as of May 23, 2013). Given the popularity and utility of these badges—their use in jokes notwithstanding—wouldn't it be better to have Stack Overflow host this functionality itself rather than have users rely on an external service that will inevitably go down?

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    For what it's worth, the ability to insert real tags into posts has only been around for a few months. Before that, we had to do things like [`[discussion]`](http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/discussion)
    – Pops
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 17:53
  • I guess that tells you how long I've been associated with Stack Overflow. :) But yes, that's exactly the same type of kludge that we still need to use for badges. Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 17:56
  • We shouldn't have to manually enter the badge description, though. That should happen automagically, just like it does for tags once you enter a valid badge name. Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 21:46
  • @Cody: You're absolutely right. I just used the badge description as an example because it was easier to take a screenshot that way. I've updated the question accordingly. :-/ Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 22:23
  • Any use case for this? Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 11:42
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    @Sathya: Discussions about badges, just as the tag markdown is used for discussions about tags. This would probably get the vast majority of its use from Meta SO. Is it necessary? No, but then again, neither is tag markdown, really. Of course, it would be nice to see whether a badge is gold, silver, or bronze—and have access to its description as a tooltip—without clicking on a link. Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 15:16
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    For anyone who is unaware: Kevin's badge generator). Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 23:17
  • @martin: Neat! Was this described in a question or answer on Meta Stack Overflow? Can you embed the badge in a post without downloading it, uploading it to imgur, and then linking to it? Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 23:22
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    @Chris: Yes, see elusive badges and the generator is mentioned in the response when the badge host went down Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 23:27
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    @martin: Thanks for the links! For what it's worth, though, I don't think that we should make a habit of depending on external sites to render badges like this. Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 23:37
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    @Chris - absolutely agree. But it can be used to generate images that are then uploaded to the imgur SE host. Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 23:41
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    Great idea. You could even do [gold-badge:Made Up Name:Made up description]. Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 8:33
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    This would also be nice to be able to put in your profile, e.g., "I was the 680th person to earn [badge:copy-editor] on StackOverflow."
    – Kazark
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 16:12
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    @animuson 133 upvotes, more if you count votes on answer. Can you please explain why this has been declined? Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 13:17

4 Answers 4


Most of us on the Community Team think that this feature is a neat idea, and our original justification for wanting this to be implemented was mostly for use in help centers. A syntax would allow these badges to be automatically generated based on the site, allowing the appropriate icon, as well as easier updating of the badges for International sites.

However, this is quite a complicated feature that would introduce a whole host of additional problems to our system for a very minimal gain. "It would be cool to have" simply isn't a good enough justification to counter the amount of development work something this complicated would bring, so it was ultimately declined.

We will likely revisit this again at some point in the future, but for now this is not going to be implemented.

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    Makes sense, but doesn't "We will likely revisit this again at some point in the future" mean status-deferred? Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 14:58
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    @ShadowWizard Deferred pretty much means we plan to get to it and it's just on a backlog list at this point. There's no guarantee this will ever be implemented, just that we'll probably consider it again in the future. That consideration could result in it being declined again.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 14:59
  • Has this been considered yet, or is it still in the backlog? Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 2:42
  • @Ekadh It is not in any backlogs that I know of. Only things that are deferred and we plan to implement are kept in backlogs.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 2:54

I like this suggestion. I would really like to use this feature when making suggestions for new badges.

I have a few minor thoughts:

  1. Don't force the syntax to only support existing badges.

    • The current markdown for tags allows for linking to tags which don't exist: . My suspicion is that this is to minimize server load -- ie. an extra query to confirm that the tag does in fact exist.

    • However, to support any possible badges, how would the server know whether a given badge is bronze, sliver, or gold. To address this, I propose an additional markdown feature:


    None of these would need to query the server to determine badge type and the syntax is similar to the existing: [meta-tag:feature].

  2. To maximize ease of use, we could also allow the [badge:electorate] syntax and simply replace the badge color with a question mark in the preview [? electorate] (if the extra parsing to determine badge color is deemed too expensive).

  3. I don't think the badge description should be auto-inserted, but rather included as a tool-tip style pop-up text.

  4. To simplify implementation, why not make all badges link to the badge page. Or perhaps not link to anywhere to simply avoid the necessity of a meta specific syntax: [meta-gold-badge:mod-hammer].

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    I don't think the server load would be too much of an issue. This badge syntax would be used quite rarely on meta only, so the additional load is probably negligible.
    – Lukas Eder
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 9:34

I think this is a good idea, especially for on the meta sites and in chat.

We also have tag badges. I'd like to see them as well. My ideas for syntax:

  • [tag-badge:(gold|silver|bronze)-tag-name]
  • [tag-badge:(g|s|b)-tag-name]
  • [badge:(gold|silver|bronze)-tag-name]
  • [badge:(g|s|b)-tag-name]

Note that we can still use [badge:badge-name] for general badges, as is suggested in other answers.

g- instead of gold- might work confusing with some tags that start with g- already. Also it might work confusing to use [badge: for both general and tag badges. It's of course up to the team to decide what's most user friendly, or to choose something else, but these are my 4 cents.

  • Why bother with the gold, silver, or bronze differentiators? If the badge is already in the system, why not just let the engine determine the color?
    – jmort253
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 2:42
  • @jmort253 because they're different badges. How could a "Why don't I have the x-badge?" meta question work if the system decides?
    – Keelan
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 6:12
  • What do you mean "Why don't I have the X badge?" Let me clarify with an example: "I visited site x for 100 days, but I didn't get the [badge:fanatic] badge. What gives?" Since the system knows the fanatic badge is gold, why bother making me write that out? If I'm missing something here, please let me know. :)
    – jmort253
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 6:28
  • @jmort253 oh sorry, I'm talking about tag badges, not general badges - sorry for the misunderstanding, I'll edit some clarity in ;)
    – Keelan
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 6:29
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    Makes sense for tag badges. :) Thanks for clarifying. I tend to forget tag badges exist...
    – jmort253
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 6:30
  • @jmort253: Because it's not a "get the badge from the system for me" command -- it's just a style category. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 12:30

I would suggest for the badges that come in different metals, we use the same leading syntax and change the back-end, so:


though maybe there is a markdown way of stating a subcategory of something.

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    But now you have three pieces of information, and you're using two different delimeters. Why? We already have "span type" followed by "text to display" -- why not put the metal in the "span type" bit where it belongs? [bronze-badge:search] See also: [meta-tag:precedent] Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 12:29

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