I, like many other people here, received an e-mail link from StackExchange inviting to answer the 2018 Developer Survey, which I responded thoroughly. When I finished it, I 'd been awarded with the Census badge in English Stack Overflow.

However, I am much more active in Portuguese Stack Overflow, and many users who also took the same survey, received the badge there instead, but not me.

So, what is the criteria that decides in which site somebody who just completed the survey receives the Census badge? Is it possible to allow the site be choosen in the case of a person having accounts in multiple Stack Overflow translations sites?

I know that regardless of the site, I'd been awarded the badge anyway and I have no real issue about in which site that happen'd. But I'm still curious about this nonetheless.

  • It seems like each site has its own link to the survey. Were you on regular Stack Overflow or Portuguese Stack Overflow when you clicked the link to the survey?
    – Laurel
    Jan 8, 2018 at 22:51
  • All stack overflow sites will have the census badge
    – QuIcKmAtHs
    Jan 8, 2018 at 22:54
  • @Laurel I clicked in the link I received on my e-mail. Jan 8, 2018 at 22:57
  • Could you share the link?
    – Laurel
    Jan 8, 2018 at 23:02
  • @Laurel Not sure if it is safe to share the complete link. Anyway, it starts with "itr-links.stackoverflow.email/u/click?_t="... with a bunch of seemling random characters after that. All those following characters possibly are some encoded personal data embedded to allow SE identify me as I click the link. Jan 8, 2018 at 23:07
  • @VictorStafusa you're correct, links in email contain tokens which allow access to various things, e.g. if you copy and paste the link to "Edit email settings" in Guest/Private mode you'll still be able to change your settings even though you're not logged in, i.e. anyone with that link can edit your settings, possibly other things too. Jan 9, 2018 at 12:44
  • 3
    I’m voting to close this question because the Census badge has been permanently retired and retroactively revoked from all users on all sites. May 5, 2023 at 7:19
  • Update: Gonna have to mea culpa on this one. After this got closed, the team decided to re-award the Census badge to users who previously earned it (only once so the same privacy concerns no longer apply). As such, voting to reopen. May 6, 2023 at 5:37

2 Answers 2


Census badge awarding is based on the site you came in on. If you start the survey at https://stackoverflow.com/dev-survey/start, you'll end up on the SO award page. If you start from https://pt.stackoverflow.com/dev-survey/start, you'll end up on the pt.SO award page.

Unfortunately, all marketing outside of the banner will take you to through SO. This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that if you are not signed in on SO, it will prompt you to sign up to get the badge or switch to another site that has the census badge enabled.

This isn't a perfect solution because it sits at the intersection of several goals:

  • Automatically award badges to address issues from last year.
  • Not making it too easy to award yourself/others the badge for free.
  • Allowing non-SO users to get badges on other sites.
  • Not knowing which/how many sites we would eventually enable.

Hopefully we'll improve things for next year's survey.


When clicking the Survey banner on any SO site (Main, or localized versions) you'll get the badge in the proper site since the link contains the site you came from.

However, the email defaults to the main Stack Overflow site (English), probably due to the way the system that sends those emails was built, i.e. it just iterates SO main site users, not all localized sites, or doesn't check where user has more reputation, etc.

Bug or not I can't really tell, hopefully if it's a bug it will be fixed before next year's survey.

  • 2
    Good answer, but I decided to accept Brian Nickel's one because it is an official/authoritative answer. Jan 9, 2018 at 19:07

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