This question reminded me of a big complaint I had and forgot to voice before.

I happened to be busy when the SO Beta was happening and was unable to participate. When you posted that blog entry with the proposed tags for the site, there was a "Founder" badge and a "Beta" badge proposed. People quickly said that all badges should be attainable at any point. That is to say, if someone joins StackOverflow today, they should technically be able to get every single badge on the site. Badges are akin to collectibles, and if someone says there's this one collectible you can never have it kind of takes the fun away from it.

You removed the Founder badge, why not Beta too? You could still mark it in their profile somewhere they participated in the Beta, I want people to get their recognition for helping the site out, but I don't think it's really fair to other users to have a badge you simply cannot get.

  • 4
    Fair is for Girl Scouts! But I see your point...BTW: That question was my poorly received attempt at humor and sarcasm. Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 12:10
  • 1
    I never had a problem with the concept of a founder badge. I'd even go so far as to say you could make it the only platinum badge.
    – Tom Ritter
    Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 22:44
  • 2
    I'm glad there is a tiny badge for this instead of one valuable line of space in a user's profile.
    – mafu
    Commented Oct 19, 2009 at 13:23

7 Answers 7


Private beta participants

  • contributed a not-insignificant amount of their time
  • put up with bugs, downtime, and errors
  • filed bug reports and helped us troubleshoot errors
  • populated the site with a lot of quality questions and answers so we don't go live with a "ghost town"

For that, they get a badge.

  • 17
    That makes sense. But people that simply signed up during that period, did nothing, sat around for six months, then come back and ask one or two questions, which suddenly awards them a badge? That is illogical. Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 13:14
  • 5
    I'm not disputing that they paid a service to the site and deserve recognition. I just don't think that recognition in the form of a badge is adequate. Thanks for the answer, however. Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 21:00
  • Wow, lame. I started the Beta 9/11/08, I guess that was just too late in the game in your calculation of the badge, no matter what I added to it.
    – Brettski
    Commented Sep 12, 2009 at 2:56
  • So when are you going to pull the Server Fault and Super User badge too?
    – Brettski
    Commented Sep 13, 2009 at 6:02
  • already done, back when I did SO. You must generate 3 bronze badges PRIOR to the beta becoming public to be eligible. This is quite trivial to do. Commented Sep 13, 2009 at 21:50
  • So Jeff, what is the cut-off date for the Stack Overflow Beta badge?
    – Brettski
    Commented Sep 19, 2009 at 15:49
  • Or: Why have a Precognitive badge for the original trilogy?
    – kinokijuf
    Commented Dec 18, 2011 at 9:54

I think badges are moreso a quick record of what you've done on SO than Pokemon-esque "Gotta catch 'em all" efforts. Also, I think that the Beta badge isn't the only unattainable badge. Since there are silver and gold badges for 400 and 1000 upvotes in a particular tag, respectively, the possibilities are practically infinite (bonus points should be awarded to whoever can snag the gold for the ninja-on-fire tag).

Like a soldier's ribbons, badges provide us with a quick glance at our achievements on SO. Except we don't get shot at on a regular basis, so they tend to have much duller stories behind them.

Therefore, keep the Beta badge and bring back the Founder badge.


Much like the reputation system, this denotes a certain amount of reading too much value into the badges themselves

EDIT I reiterate this, even though I have apparently lost my stack overflow beta badge, as I came into the beta program pretty much on the last day. It's a shame, as I was quite proud of it, but again, my life carries on, 1 day at a time ;)

  • 7
    We still <3 you though Commented Oct 19, 2009 at 6:44

The only reason you suggest this is because you don't have one =)


My personal experience: I listened to the podcasts, but dislike pissing about with beta software. I was sceptical of badges and points. But when Joel suggested the Beta badge, I was there like a shot. (That may just be a reflection on how sad I am.) Fortunately the site didn't really suck.


There is some merit in being "First"

Otherwise the internets would not be full of F1rsT p0stz ;)

  • 7
    You compare Beta testers with F2irsT posting guys? I have to think about being offended... Commented Jul 3, 2009 at 6:58

As long as there are unattainable items in a collection of desirable items, you will always have to deal with complaints about this. The more badges that are restricted due to literally impossible criteria, the more complaints you will field from the userbase. Adding more (or adding back) literally impossible to get badges will increase this noise and eventually put strain on the system.

Really it comes down to a choice of living with the occasional beefing about unattainable badges, or doing away with all of them so you don't have to hear it anymore.

IMO it's fine where it is, but I wouldn't want to see more badges added with this kind of criteria.

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