I was looking at the recent recipients of the Generalist badge, and noticed that there were no fewer than 20 (out of a total of about 500) who were awarded this badge on April 13th. It made me wonder what happened. Did some "tag consolidation" result in a new definition of top 40 tags?

It's hard to believe that so many people answered that elusive question to get them over the line - so I am suspecting the line somehow moved. But I have no idea how to figure out what changed.

And - apologies for the "double question", but this is closely related

  1. What are the "40 top tags"?
  2. Do they ever change?
  3. How is a user to know?
  • 5
    It's a conspiracy. A conspiracy, I tell you. [maniacal laugh]
    – user102937
    Jan 14, 2014 at 5:23
  • @RobertHarvey - it was a Saturday. Conspirators get the weekend off. What are you talking about?
    – Floris
    Jan 14, 2014 at 5:30
  • 3
    If you sum the date you get 17 (13+4), which becomes 1+7, which is 8 - octal, and the infinite symbol turned 90° anticlock-wise. ANd if you divide 8 by 4 (April), you get 2, which is the base for all programming. Coincidence? I don't think so. Jan 14, 2014 at 6:14
  • 1
    April 13, 1204 - the Fall of Constantinople. Look at the year: 1204. 12-04: the eve of 13-04 (in countries that write dd-mm). We are indeed doomed.
    – Floris
    Jan 14, 2014 at 7:44
  • I accept that the marked duplicate is asking the same question (albeit for a different "event/date") and I am grateful to @shadowwizard for awarding a bounty on that question asking for "data not speculation".
    – Floris
    Jan 14, 2014 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


You can view the tags on the tags page. Popularity (Top 40 Tags) are determined by the number of questions tagged with that term.

Chances are that on April 13th, one of the top 40 tags changed, and people with enough score in the other 39, and in the new tag, were granted the Generalist badge in one fell swoop.

This could be from a mass retagging of questions, a merging of tags, a splitting of tags, a synonymization, etc., but it is probably the simplest explanation.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer. That was what I speculated; I wonder if there is a definitive "this is what happened" answer rather than a "it could be..." answer. But I am not familiar enough with the inner workings of SO to find out by myself.
    – Floris
    Jan 14, 2014 at 5:23
  • Floris, you can check the synonyms pages to see if there was a change that day (there wasn't, it would seem). You can check the api to see the top 40 tags for various dates, though I am having issues getting the appropriate info from that query. You can also check the 5 people who got those badges that time, and use advanced search or the data explorer to try to figure out what tags they have in common.
    – jmac
    Jan 14, 2014 at 5:34
  • Also note that the script that assigns the generalist badge may not run daily, in which case having it happen on a weekend wouldn't be that weird, and the change could have been days or potentially weeks before.
    – jmac
    Jan 14, 2014 at 5:35
  • 2
    5 people got the badge on April 8; another 20 on April 13. That rules out the "major scripting backlog" argument, I think.
    – Floris
    Jan 14, 2014 at 7:47

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