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In the Badges page, out of the 80+ badge descriptions, only 5 have full stops, and the others don't have.

The five are: Fanatic, Enthusiast, and the three Tag Badges, it can be seen here:

badges with full stop highlighted

Can this please be made consistent by removing the full stop from the above 5 badge descriptions?

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  • from all badges Apart from making your head feel less dizzy, is there any other reason why periods (full stops) should be removed from the descriptions of: Enthusiast, Fanatic, Custodian, Reviewer, Steward, Broze, Silver and Gold badges? Jul 20 at 13:38
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    Partially because some badges have them and the rest don't, removing full stops can make the badges look nicer and in the same standard i guess @Mari-LouAСлаваУкраїні
    – DialFrost
    Jul 20 at 13:44
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    I don't think the periods at the descriptions of the badges I listed above are at all ugly, I think they're functional. But each to his/her own. I just find that there are far too many posts on Meta about minor (tiny) imperfections. Jul 20 at 13:55
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    @Mari well that's bit different, it's about basic consistency in an important page. Most people won't even notice, but some do and it actually annoys them. And since it should be instant fix, it's valid to ask. Jul 20 at 14:11
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    According to the style guide everything that is a full sentence should end in a period, everything that is not a full sentence shouldn't have a period.
    – Luuklag
    Jul 20 at 14:13
  • @Luuklag so for the dummies around us (like me, I'm not sure what exactly "full sentence" means and whether the descriptions are considered full sentence or not), does it mean all badge descriptions should get a full stop? That would already make it non-trivial change. :/ Jul 20 at 14:19
  • I think more badge descriptions should get a period, not al though. For example "Leave 10 comments" is hardly a sentence. @sha
    – Luuklag
    Jul 20 at 14:21
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    @Luuklag well, just removing them all as suggested here would make it look more clean IMO, but I'm really not that much into the new standards, so this might indeed be something bigger. Jul 20 at 14:33
  • @Luuklag the problem is that "Leave 10 comments" is in fact a sentence. Or can you demonstrate otherwise?
    – bad_coder
    Jul 20 at 18:21
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    While usage is a bit inconsistent (e.g. there shouldn't be a period/full stop after "Visit the site each day for X consecutive days", the issue isn't making the use of periods consistent in all descriptions. Other than the above two cases, periods are being used correctly after full sentences and not after text which isn't a full sentence. For consistency, the issue might be to reword the descriptions such that either full sentences are used in each description, or have no full sentences. But, if a full sentence is used, then there should be a period/full stop after it.
    – Makyen
    Jul 20 at 19:10
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    @Makyen well think we better leave it be, it's one huge mess. Quick look around the help center got me here where none of the list items end with a period, and they are sentences. Better yet, in other places in the help center, list items do end with a period. Looks like it's just something the developers never put any thought into, and starting now to organize it would take long hours of work that are better spent elsewhere. I've undone my upvote here. (Not against the request but now see how futile it is.) Jul 20 at 19:23

2 Answers 2

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The current badge descriptions are already consistent.

The descriptions without period are all examples of imperative phrases: Do this. In contrast, the tag badges are a different type of sentence in subject-verb-object style: You must have X to achieve this badge.

The Enthusiast and Fanatic badges also use imperative phrases, but they are followed by another, separate phrase (about UTC). Therefore the description is now a paragraph, and both phrases must be "upgraded" to a sentence with a period to be able to separate the phrases properly. Not doing so would be a grammatical error in paragraph composition.

So the consistency is:

  • for imperative phrases, don't use a period, except
    • for a paragraph, i.e., two or more consecutive phrases, use a period after each phrase
  • for complete sentences, use a period

The Style guide practises this difference, although implicitly. From active tense:

✅ Do

“Update your profile”

Two phrases, from ellipses:

✅ Do

Avoid subjective questions. Stick to fact-based questions.

However, the guide also contradicts this principle in hyphens:

✅ Do

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Therefore, while the badge page is consistent, the Style guide does not explicitly provide relevant guidelines. Also the guide is inconsistent on this point regarding the examples given. Another inconsistency in the examples is the use of quotes (only used in active tense and contractions, nowhere else). So the guide can be made more clear by providing explicit definitions and remove inconsistencies - but the badge page seems fine.

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    I opened two issues on Github (about definitions and about quotes) to ask for Style guide improvements.
    – Marijn
    Jul 21 at 11:45
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Example of a famous Laconic phrase:

If.

Spartan ephors replying to: "If I invade Laconia, I shall turn you out."

And "if" really is the keyword here. What is a sentence? Well, apparently linguists are divided but "Stop! (Look and listen)" does appear when you fail a review audit, so elsewhere on SE Laconic phrases are also used.

If you look at consistency as more than a word and consider the Stacks style guide - Periods you'll see it defines an interesting intersection between design and grammar, namely: "Don’t use periods in interface copy unless (if) it’s a full sentence or description." And why is that interesting? Because it engages you in the exercise of understanding what makes a sentence a sentence. I think the problem is most of the descriptions in the badges page are sentences, but some would look good ending in a full stop while others wouldn't.

I don't think the two sentences: "Visit the site each day for N consecutive days. (Days are counted in UTC.)" would look good without the two periods. But if someone thinks it would look better, please, post an example and let's look at it.

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    Each badge description is a sentence because each description contains a verb. None is a phrase. Not one consists of a single word. Jul 22 at 7:03
  • @Mari-LouAСлаваУкраїні that seems terse, can you define the difference between a sentence and a phrase for an international audience? (You realize that difference doesn't exist in some languages?)
    – bad_coder
    Jul 22 at 13:05
  • For something more detailed, converted into a comment would take too much space, here is an authoritative source: thoughtco.com/phrase-grammar-1691625 and here's another reference: grammar-monster.com/glossary/phrase.htm Jul 22 at 19:37
  • @Mari-LouAСлаваУкраїні remitting to a grammar isn't enough, someone with a degree in the humanities must write up a detailed analyses.
    – bad_coder
    Jul 22 at 21:36
  • Must? On whose authority? A detailed analysis in a comment...I suppose you mean in an answer. No, if this were linguistics or ELU then I would take up the challenge. Such a detailed answer on the differences between a phrase and a sentence would be seen, and rightly so, off-topic. Anyone interested will have to make do with the links to two good sources. BTW I would not say that the descriptions are “imperative phrases" as claimed by @Marijn, they are all sentences, whether the author wants to add a full stop that is their stylistic choice. Jul 23 at 5:37
  • @Mari-LouAСлаваУкраїні Contrary to what you say analyzing the case under discussion would be on-topic because it's about SE's software. Here's one such expert article written this week, and whatever the subject of the blog post (or any part of the SE software) it would be on-topic here. Then, it's a must because the example under scrutiny calls for it, if Marjin's interpretation is correct, or not, doesn't detract from his merit in writing an answer, which is more than can be said for comments.
    – bad_coder
    Jul 23 at 23:37
  • @Mari-LouAСлаваУкраїні as a side-note to your first comment in this thread no bug report is too small. Every well designed system goes through iterations of feedback and refinement between users and developers, without it sites would look terrible, be unusable, or both (it's an established principle of software testing that no one in the field challenges).
    – bad_coder
    Jul 23 at 23:52

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