I am not the most active user, so when I logged in and find out that I have earned the Enthusiast badge, I was genuinely surprised. Is it possible that a Top Sites preview feature of Safari browser has earned me this badge without any actually effort on my part, and if so, shouldn't visits of only the homepage (or any single page) be counted out, while earning this badge?
This is terrible exploit! ::waits for Safari to download:: I can't believe that someone would stoop to such a low level for a stupid badge. ::clicks through installer as quickly as possible:: I hope this is fixed in no less than 31 days. ::logs into SO:: I'd say we should fix it sooner, but I don't want to rush the developers. ::reclines in chair and waits::
I don't think you can really expect any of this to answer this question for you. It is entirely possible, since safari will update the sites at certain intervals -- and it uses your cookies while doing so, but I haven't been standing outside your window watching you to be sure.
The badge itself is quite easy to get, and gaming it has been discussed several times. Creating logic to prevent this would be a waste of time because there will always be ways around it.
Only you can say for sure, but certainly seems plausible to me that Safari would use your cookies, and therefore credentials, to refresh the page and so it may have done that daily, to plug in the gaps of when you weren't purposefully visiting the site. Additionally, I don't think SO should do anything to prevent this. I cannot imagine there being enough distinguishable between the requests (if anything) for it to be worth the effort and complication of changing the way things word
This was first mentioned here, but I can now confirm that this works as I recently got my Enthusiast badge on ServerFault, a site in my Top Sites, even though I can guarantee you I didn't visit it every singe day for 30 days.
Somehow, I have a slight disbelieve in this preventing feature. It is just, I found a user that has only three badges: Tumbleweed, Enthusiast and Fanatic. And he has 1 rep, no votes cast, together with being online since 4 month now... Any questions? Or explanations?
I'm really concerned if I should post it, even post it as answer, because it looks like a bug or hidden feature (still) usable, but I did. But I don't want to "blame" him/ her directly so I avoided a link to his profile.