In order to get a specialist badge, one must accumulate at least 400 upvotes for a single tag. Jeff set the bar extremely high because answers to questions tagged subjective tend to get upvoted a lot, and he didn't want to give out a bunch of subjective tags the first day. He excluded Community Wiki questions from the counts for similar reasons.

Four hundred upvotes is a lot. If you only answer questions with a particular tag, never ask a question, and none of your answers are accepted, you will have accumulated a reputation of 4001 -- easily within the top 1000 Stack Overflow users at this point.

Realistically, you probably won't have a specialist badge if you haven't done enough work to put yourself in the top 100. It seems the only way to get a specialist badge is to specialize in Stack Overflow.

I think there should be another path for people who have answered only a few hundred questions or specialize in areas that don't get much traffic. As the title suggests, I propose that the specialist badge also be awarded for at least n accepted answers for a particular tag.

I think the number of accepted answers is a better measure than the number of upvotes. The latter can be skewed by the popularity of the question(s). The former shows that you've helped people solve problems -- repeatedly -- even if the problems only garnered the attention of a few.

5 Answers 5


I say don't change the way the current specialist badges are awarded, but rather create a different class of badges for accepted answers for certain tags. You can still be a specialist in something even if you don't win all the answers. You could be a specialist just by focusing on a single tag over a long period of time to accumulate the votes. That would in fact make you a [tag] specialist, just not a tag expert.

I think there should be a clear distinction between a specialist (one who focuses on a tag) and an expert (one who excels at a tag).


If you have answered "a few hundred questions" in a particular tag but hadn't got a badge yet, that would suggest that you'd got an average of fewer than 2 votes per answer.

Even in the relatively minority tags, this wouldn't be particularly good.

Perhaps counting an accepted answer as a vote (or maybe two votes) as far as the specialist badges are concerned would be reasonable...

  • If TheTXIs suggestion gets nixed, this is close second option.
    – Rob Allen
    Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 14:12
  • I meant a few hundred questions overall, not a few hundred questions for one particular tag. I think most of us in the top 1% (but not in the top 0.1%) have answered "a few hundred questions" overall, and maybe one or two of the most popular tags more than 100 times. Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 14:14
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    Since an accepted answer counts for 15 reputation, why not have this (for the purpose of the Specialist badge) be considered equivalent to 1.5 upvotes?
    – Ether
    Commented Oct 10, 2009 at 19:04

The problem I see is that sometimes you get an accepted answer but never get any upvotes because maybe its just not a popular topic so you gain nothing towards the specialist badge.

Instead of just upvotes, why not have it add like +2 for an accepted answer as well. So if you get like 3 upvotes for a answer plus it was marked as the correct answer you would get +5 towards the 400.

The accepted answer should be valued higher than a basic up vote.


To examine this, let us take the Ruby tag, which is in that tier below the most popular tags. It has approximately 3400 questions all-time, an order of magnitude less than C#, but 1/2 - 1/5 of the rest of the top ten. The top people average 3 to 4 upvotes per question, which means that it'll take 100 - 133 answers to earn the silver version, and 250 - 333 answers for the gold version.

I don't think that's too far out of line with the rest of the badges at the same level; Strunk & White requires 100 edits. The badge is meant to show a consistent dedication and skill in a given area. Lower it too much and you've taken away the value of it. Besides, in the long term it'll only get easier as the number of users increases.


The Specialist badge is there to encourage good answers, regardless of if they're accepted or not. I think it is pitched correctly as it stands. However, I agree with TheTXI - a new badge to cover accepted answers for a particular tag would be a good introduction.

  • Funnily enough, I already have a custom badge on my profile that I use to track my # of accepted answers. I just don't have it broken out into different tags.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 13:33

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