For instance, the Enthusiast and Fanatic badges. Both are based on logging in daily. For an extended period, and I do check almost daily, but living in the real world means that there may be a day when I simply can not log in to stack.

Now as a programmer I instantly think: "What if I just automate it?", it would be super easy to reload the page automatically on schedule. But that's cheating. . . Right? I plan on checking anyway, but the fallback would be nice. But still cheating. . .

Now I haven't done that, but what happens if I did? How "bad" is it to cheat on those badges? I mean is there no real reason not too, or could it get a user banished? And I'm sure there are plenty of other easily cheated badges, those two just jump out at me as extremely easy.

I'm not looking for a discussion on the ins and outs of cheating, I can come up with a dozen ways to do it, but on the consequences, or lack there of. On one level the badges (unlike rep) mean very little, on the other hand, it's still cheating. Or is it? Isn't the point to show dedication? And wouldn't cheating show that? Are there rules somewhere about this? Is the precedent?

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    I think it sorta goes against what the fanatic/enthusiast badges are supposed to signify... that you have actually visited the site for 100/30 days in a row. – Andrew Barber Oct 1 '13 at 22:11
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    Never underestimate how bad it will feel to go through life knowing you're a complete fraud. – Carl Veazey Oct 1 '13 at 22:12
  • I can't see deleted posts on MSO, but I saw a reference to this from here. I wonder what it says. (Also possibly relevant to the deleted post: this.) – Monica Cellio Oct 1 '13 at 22:17
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    I think even if you do "cheat", you still deserve the Enthusiast and Fanatic badges. Only a fanatic would bother with such a trivial thing. – user159834 Oct 1 '13 at 22:17
  • I now have the Fanatic badge! (without cheating) :) – Amal Murali Oct 1 '13 at 22:18
  • See also: Does it matter that people "Game" Badges? (answer: no). A question about the plug-in that (at the time) would earn you the badges: I don't like SuperUser THAT Much! (Wrongly Reward Enthusiast Badge) and the (deleted) plug-in announcement: Stack Overflow Notifier Chrome Extension. – blahdiblah Oct 1 '13 at 22:19
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    I'm proud to say that I EARNED that fanatic badge. – Adam Rackis Oct 1 '13 at 22:24
  • I'm pretty sure this is how Windows Task Scheduler came to be. – Jamal Oct 1 '13 at 23:19
  • Marked as duplicate? I don't think so. The question I supposedly duplicated is about can you cheat, not how bad is it to cheat. This not a duplicate. This question is about the consequence of cheating, not about the mechanics. – zeel Oct 2 '13 at 0:30
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    @zeel, if you cheat badges, you will no longer be able to see unicorns. That's how bad it is to cheat. – jmac Oct 2 '13 at 0:56
  • Is it really necessary to say this. . . Please don't down vote without at the very least commenting on why. . . – zeel Oct 2 '13 at 3:26
  • @zeel comments are not required, and did you notice you have gotten numerous comments? How do you have any idea that the 2 people who down voted are not among those (9?) who have commented or two who answered? – Andrew Barber Oct 2 '13 at 3:33
  • @zeel I've added a new answer on the duplicate which I think will cover your "consequences" aspect of automating badges. – animuson Oct 2 '13 at 3:44


If you waste time writing a script to earn a silly and completely pointless badge on a Q&A site, I guess you've earned the right to call yourself a fanatic.

As for getting punished: The time and effort you wasted to write a script to earn a silly and completely pointless badge on a Q&A site is punishment enough.

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  • It would take like 5 minutes. . . – zeel Oct 2 '13 at 0:37
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    That's still wasting time on an achievement that has zero value because you didn't actually achieve it. You're still on the losing end. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Oct 2 '13 at 9:48

I'm sure very few, if any are automating to get those badges, but I don't really think anyone cares that much if they do.

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