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This question has been bugging me ever since the few minutes I spent joining several Stack Exchange sub-sites whose subjects fell within my interests and thus I expect to be active in within the foreseeable future (19 of them, to be exact): How come the Authobiographer badge is auto-unlocked across all SE sites (i.e. you only need to complete one "About Me" section), but the Informed badge has to be unlocked separately for each site despite the Tour page being virtually identical in each case? Not that I'm complaining, but is there an actual point behind this redundancy?

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    It isn't. You're just awarded the 'autobiographer' badge right away because you have put something in your profile already when you join a site. – M.A.R. Mar 17 '17 at 13:25
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    "despite the Tour page being virtually identical in each case?" Because the differences in the Tour pages is important and should be checked. Things like site scope and what doesn't belong are in the Tour pages, and those do differ from site to site. Autobiographer just seems automatic, because adding a new site automatically ports your existing "About Me" section (IIRC) which means you already have it filled out when you start on the site. – Kendra Mar 17 '17 at 13:57
  • @Kendra: Well, perhaps I would appreciate the importance of those differences if there was evidence that they can be far from trivial. And by trivial, I mean that having read WorldbuildingSE's tour first, I found that the BiologySE tour did not tell me anything that I did not know already from reading the WorldbuildingSE's tour; the few keywords and right-side illustrative examples that are indeed different may be useful as reference if I ever feel I need a refresher on specifics, but that's it. – MarqFJA87 Mar 17 '17 at 19:40
  • I would argue that you skimmed, then, but I cannot prove this. Each tour covers what is allowed, topic wise, on those sites. If you already knew what kinds of biology questions were on-topic for Biology SE from reading the Worldbuilding tour, I would gladly pay you money to teach me how to do that. – Kendra Mar 17 '17 at 19:44
  • @Kendra: It's more like each Tour is obviously structured in the same way, most if it does not actually pertain specifically to the particular SE it's for, and the parts that are specific to the SE (namely, the "Get answers to practical, detailed questions" section) use such similar framework and follow such similar broad principles that I managed to correctly infer the gist of it just by changing the context (e.g. from "Worldbuilding" to "Biology"). – MarqFJA87 Mar 17 '17 at 19:50
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When you fill up the About Me section of your profile, and hit save to all communities, it pops up a green notification tab right above the save button saying:

Saved to all communities

This means that when you join a new community, you already have filled up your About me section for that new community, since you saved your profile for all communities.

That is why you earn the autobiographer badge by default.

On the other hand, guidelines for posting are really important to every Stack Exchange sub-site, so making sure you read it is a priority. That is why you have to go the extra mile by taking the tour of the new community you just joined, and you earn a badge every time you read it.

  • Well, that seems reasonable on paper, but to take the respective Tours for BiologySE and WorldbuildingSE as examples, I find that the only differences I could see are a few keywords and some of the illustrative examples. And that's just the minor problem; a much bigger one is that I found I could just skip the whole thing by clicking the "End" key to jump to the bottom of the page, and then give it 5 seconds for the badge to be earned; that can be easily replicated by an automated script, I believe, so it's practically useless as a method to get people to actually read the guidelines. – MarqFJA87 Mar 17 '17 at 19:37
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    @MarqFJA87 that's a different thing altogether; cheating to get a badge. But, those who really want to contribute positively to the community will go through the effort to read the description in the tour, because, in the end, for those who have not understood the guidelines, their questions and post will reflect it, and will attract downvotes in the end anyways. The way I see it, what StackOverflow does is provide an incentive for the user to read the Tour page, which will ultimately benefit the user if he/she does so properly. – A Busy Programmer Mar 17 '17 at 19:41
  • @A Busy Programmer: Good point. I'll probably check those Tour pages more thoroughly when/if I get around to actually participating in those communities, just in case I missed/forgot something. Still, I hope you guys do find a better alternative to your current approach; at least something that can't be circumvented with just a single button click. Perhaps make it so that the page only loads one section at a time and the new section only loads once you reach the (current) end of the page, the way some blogs do? – MarqFJA87 Mar 17 '17 at 19:54
  • @MarqFJA87 That would be a great idea, why don't you post that here as a feature-request? It will allow stricter enforcement of users reading the tour-page rather than merely skipping over it. – A Busy Programmer Mar 17 '17 at 19:56
  • @A Busy Programmer: Done. – MarqFJA87 Mar 17 '17 at 20:11

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