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How do “badges” work?

So earlier today I down voted an answer.... then I read it again, and I realized I has misunderstood something, so I cancelled my down vote... Yet, I still have the first down vote badge even though I have no down votes.

This also works with some other badges, like filling out all you profile info.... You can fill out all your info, get your badge, then delete your info.

I guess I can see plus and minuses for this. So my question is, is this a feature or a bug?

  • You're 5 days too early for the weekly Is This a Feature Or A Bug episode.
    – Andy E
    Jul 25, 2010 at 9:21
  • 1
    ..Because the "badge recalc" function has not yet been written.
    – Ether
    Jul 25, 2010 at 17:27

3 Answers 3


This is by design, see the FAQ:

The site admin has stated multiple times that, by design, badges cannot be lost or revoked, unless the badge was obtained by cheating.

  • Is it because it is hard for SO to revoke badges due to technical reasons that you have no choice but to keep the badges?
    – Graviton
    Jul 25, 2010 at 9:26
  • 4
    Badges, especially the bronze and silver ones, are incentives for doing the "right" thing by participating in voting, asking, and answering. The fact that you placed a vote means you are participating, even if you later changed your mind, and so you should still be rewarded. Jul 25, 2010 at 9:51
  • I understand, but filling out your profile completely, then deleting it, almost seems like cheating... I'm really not sure whether it is or not. Jul 25, 2010 at 17:13
  • 2
    @Peter Ajtai: I wouldn't consider it cheating, you did fill out your profile at one point, that's what the badge is for, that action, regardless of any future actions. The same goes for the downvote, at the time it was awarded you met the criteria. Yes you reversed the vote, but you did cast a downvote, and that's what you got a badge for. Jul 26, 2010 at 3:35

When you no longer qualify for a badge, you will stop "gaining" badge until the number you deserve matches the number you have. So you can't get extra badges. Every badge that you have a is a badge that you earned at some point.


Note that, for some badges which you can earn multiple times, the calculation is done at regular intervals and compared against your current number. So while you can't lose one of them, you'll only reflect a increase if you still qualify for the earlier badges.

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