Yesterday I answered this question which is tagged with .

To be honest, I'm not very familiar with Python, I know basic concepts and the language syntax but not much more. I answered the question because I'm very familiar and comfortable with bitwise operations, bits, number representation, etc..

The Python tag cannot be removed from the question as it's really about Python, although the focus is on bit manipulation, so I expect to get a Python bronze badge soon (I'm not complaining, I'm happy ツ).

My questions: Do badges really reflect someone's knowledge of the specific badge? How to get a better indication on that? What's the reason of preventing us from controlling which badges we want to be visible and which we don't?

2 Answers 2


Neither reputation nor badges are direct indicators of knowledge. They can be telling, but often more about what I'm interested in rather than what Im really good at.

Not too long ago I commented on someone's answer. They said:

I stand corrected. Aaron has a 58.8k reputation & obviously knows his stuff.

For all they knew, though, I could have obtained all of my reputation in a completely different topic, and not known anything at all about that conversation. I said as much:

Well, that's not necessarily cause and effect. In theory, I could have earned all my reputation answering Java questions and only know how to spell SQL Server. :-)

Even within a discipline, I can answer, say, SQL Server questions all day long, and earn all kinds of reputation and badges in those tags. That doesn't mean I know a lot; it could mean that I know how to search for answers on Google or on this site, and copy and paste or paraphrase. Or that I know a very narrow slice and answer a lot of questions pertaining to that slice. Any SQL Server expert (or in any discipline, really) should readily admit that very few, if any, can know everything about any technology.

Knowledge isn't something you can properly measure through metrics alone. Even many of the certification exams that exist are kind of a joke. They're very easy to brain-dump and - in my direct experience interviewing a lot of candidates with all kinds of MS* initials on their resume - are not necessarily indicative at all about the person's knowledge of the subject. They passed a test, that's all. Getting to their actual knowledge takes a lot more work, and there is some human element involved there in evaluation as well.

I'm not quite sure why you'd want to hide badges that you've earned. If you're that concerned that a head-hunter might contact you about a python job based on a single badge on Stack Overflow (very unlikely for anything to happen that way), you can always just tell them that you're not a python expert.

P.S. I don't think you are in any immediate danger of receiving a badge. You have an answer with 100+ up-votes, yes, but to earn a bronze badge, you also must meet the minimum number of answers - 20. Currently you have 7. I also wouldn't worry too much about people seeing that you have a badge and expecting that you are an expert in that technology.


Do badges really reflect someone's knowledge of the specific badge?

No, tag badges do not always reflect the knowledge of someone.

I i.e. am going to get the gold badge soon, but I don't have a clue about it. But many SQL questions I answer are also tagged with .

How to get a better indication on that?

Look up some questions of a user if you are interested and you will see pretty soon what he/she is an expert of. Many users also include their preferences in their profile description.

What's the reason of preventing us from controlling which badges we want to be visible and which we don't?

What benefit would come from that? Probably nobody else but you care about your profile anyway. And who would use it? How many users would exclude badges from being diplayed?

  • Regarding the third one, maybe some human resource hunter is interested in your profile as well..
    – Maroun
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 10:57
  • @MarounMaroun so what is a headhunter sees it? Job leads come from the oddest places. If they say "I see your a a PHP expert, I have a job for you", there's nothing wrong with saying "PHP is not really my strong point, I am more comfortable with x". Which could lead them to finding something else in a field you are more comfortable with. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 12:20
  • And a headhunter probably takes a little more time than just looking up the tag badges for a few seconds.
    – juergen d
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 12:23
  • You are right guys.. Thanks all for your comments.
    – Maroun
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 12:29
  • @juergend Your answer is very helpful, I had to switch the mark to Aaron's answer since I found it more helpful. Thanks for your response!
    – Maroun
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 14:40

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