The Reversal badge is pretty common here on Meta, awarded 461 times in time of writing this, while on Stack Overflow this same badge was awarded to only 151 users, despite Stack Overflow having x20 users than this Meta site.

Now, it's obvious that the reason for this is that downvotes are different on meta hence much more downvotes on questions that do not cause them to get deleted (unlike Stack Overflow where usually downvotes are followed by deletion), but it got me to wondering: aside from the obvious scalability things, like badges that require large numbers of votes or views on sites with less traffic, are there other badges on the Stack Exchange network that are easy to earn on some sites, while very difficult on others?

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    The precognitive and beta badges.. Aug 3, 2013 at 16:59
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    I don't know, I remember hearing a post that said Unsung Hero is rare on smaller SE site. Aug 3, 2013 at 17:01
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    I'd say the answer to this is: almost every badge is harder to earn on smaller sites. Still, there's no definitive answer.
    – user206222
    Aug 3, 2013 at 17:05
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    Hehehe watch someone get a +20 answer on this :3
    – Cole Tobin
    Aug 3, 2013 at 17:09
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    @OldCheckmark Forget about smaller sites, Tenacious and Unsung Hero have never been awarded on MSO. I'd bet they are impossible on ANY meta site, due to the differences in voting and due to the fact that the community is all people familiar with the site and the guidelines Aug 3, 2013 at 17:10
  • @apaul34208 thanks for the edit. I did notice that the count had changed between when I researched this and typed it, but I didn't notice my screwup when I modified the link to the badge page. Aug 3, 2013 at 17:14
  • @psubsee2003, Meta sites (including MSO) qualified under smaller site, no? Aug 3, 2013 at 17:17
  • Ugh. Well, perhaps the time has come to update this page to reflect the new "no fun" policy. Aug 3, 2013 at 17:49
  • @Ernest I don't think it got anything to do with fun (closing and downvoting this), I tried to make it into what I consider a proper discussion and voted to reopen. Aug 4, 2013 at 11:39
  • Based on your comments below, I'm no longer sure what you are even asking here. Your list of inclusions and exclusions seem to be mutually exclusive and you're using words to mean different things than the rest of us. If you want something other than the answer you got, perhaps you could edit to clarify your question.
    – Caleb
    Aug 4, 2013 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


The badge qualifications are quite straight forward and a read through badge list should is sufficient to answer this question for all badges. The badges that are difficult or impossible in some circumstances can be determined with common sense based on their respective qualifications.

A few badges are obviously impossible to earn outside of specific situations. If you missed the beta period, you can't get that badge (or the Precognitive). If the site is not yet 100 days old, Fanatic is impossible. If there aren't 600 posts to be voted on yet, it would be impossible to earn Electorate.

The not impossible but hard catagegory only varies by site traffic. A site with low traffic and and low average voting patterns (say +/- 5) is going to have a hard time giving you the Great Question/Answer badges compared to one that has heavier voting patterns (say regularly hits +/- 20). Likewise even common badges such as Good Question/Answer or Enlightened are more difficult on sites with lower traffic and less frequent voting.

The remaining badges are more dependent on your action than and specific site scenario. The badges for editing, voting, and other various actions are pretty much equal effort across sites even when the traffic is different.

  • On rereading, this answer now strikes me as condescending and, if I may, un-Christian. Common sense and reading the badge list would allow me to guess at some, but without being familiar with the site-specific policies of every Stack in the network, that's all I could do: guess. As I said in the question, I was interested in corner cases that aren't specifically related to site size, because those are quite obvious. I thought perhaps other folks, familiar with sites I might not frequent, would have some unique input. Aug 3, 2013 at 19:23
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    Condescending? Yes a bit, but I think you still miss the point here: badges are NOT site specific, they have the same rules across the network and the badge qualifications are clearly spelled out on the badge page. There are no "site specific policies" with which you would need to be familiar. You can do a lot more than guess, you can know exactly based on the badge specs. Again it should be "obvious" that Necromancer is impossible on betas less than 60 days old or that Steward would be impossible until there have been over 1000 total things that needed reviewing and so on.
    – Caleb
    Aug 3, 2013 at 19:31
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    I re-write to make this harder to misconstrue as condescending because that wasn't the intent. My suggestion to use common sense was a practical statement that that was sufficient for this case, not a put down to say that you hadn't.
    – Caleb
    Aug 3, 2013 at 19:39
  • The fact that questions on meta are much more often downvoted without closing is an example of a "site-specific policy." If there are truly no other such differences in the entire SE network -- and I'd be surprised if any one person could truly be sure of this -- then sure. But there are a lot of sites, and neither you nor I use them all. Aug 4, 2013 at 12:16
  • @ErnestFriedman-Hill If that's what you are referring to you are using the wrong words. That isn't a "policy" it is a "usage pattern". There are no site specific policies that would affect the ultimate possibility of getting badges. The badges are designed to work in the SE format which is programatically the same across all the sites. Usage patterns are another matter, but you said you didn't want to hear about things that had to do with traffic or site size.
    – Caleb
    Aug 4, 2013 at 13:01

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