I saw this question on Stack Overflow: How does this user earn the Popular and Notable question badges without a corresponding question?, and it made me wonder why badges are not "unawarded" like reputation when questions or answers are are changed or deleted.

Why are badges not unawarded when a question or answer's disposition changes?

There's a related un-answered/un-discussed question at Remove badges for deleted or migrated posts. In the previous question, the authors makes a feature request to unaward them. This question asks why things are the way the are.

  • IMHO this is indeed a feature, as S.L. explains. It's particularly useful for the revival/necromancy patters (see also gold badge proposal ): when a neglected question is resurrected to new life that's still an achievement even if it later dies again. – Nemo May 8 '15 at 6:47

It is official policy that only tag badges can disappear (see here).

The reason for this seems to be revealed, somewhat implicitly, in the wording there: "even if the conditions that caused a badge to be earned are no longer true, the badge will remain."

The idea is, apparently, that if you earned a badge fair and square, you get to keep it. You did the work, you keep the reward. In other words, SE doesn't want to move the goal posts after the match.

Note that the Nice/Good/Great Question/Answer badges have an extra rule here. If you earned these for a post that was later deleted, you get to keep it... but the next time you get a score of 10, 25 or 100, it replaces the badge you already had. Only after that do you get more Nice/Good/Great Question/Answer badges.

  • Perfect, thanks S.L. – user173448 Dec 25 '14 at 8:56
  • And deleting an answer or question doesn't mean it was bad at the moment posted. It might not be relevant any more or off-topic now. That doesn't mean the user didn't earn it back then. – Patrick Hofman Dec 25 '14 at 9:04
  • What about badges such as "epic" or "legendary"? I saw people earning these budgets by creating puppet accounts and even got punished for that, but the badge remained for some reason. The bigger problem is, that even if these people got caught before earning these badges, the amount of times they unfairly reached 200 rep a day still got counted for them in order to get these badges in the future... – David Arenburg Dec 25 '14 at 10:21