A renaissance man is a person (man or woman) who is skilled in multiple fields or multiple disciplines, and who has a broad base of knowledge.

The term renaissance man is largely based on the various artists and scholars of the European Renaissance (starting in about 1450 CE), who pursued multiple fields of studies. Perhaps the quintessential renaissance man of this period was Leonardo Da Vinci, who was a master of art, an engineer, an anatomy expert (for the time), and also pursued many other disciplines with great success and aplomb.

The Stack Exchange network contains a very broad range of studies. What if there were a cross-site gold badge awarded for someone who has at least a 1000 reputation on 10 network sites?

Beta and meta would not count for the badge.


Naming it the da Vinci badge is another option for the name.

Reguirements: Earned at least 1000 reputation on any 5 sites in the Stack Exchange network. Reputation earned on beta sites would not count until the site graduated from beta.

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    This has been proposed before. Should there be a “generalist” badge on Stack Exchange itself?, Additional Badge Ideas — Jack of All Trades, Stack exchange badges, and a few others I can't find right now. – ЯegDwight May 20 '11 at 23:59
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    If a badge like this were created, we'd have to call it the ChrisF badge. – Rebecca Chernoff May 21 '11 at 0:01
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    @RegDwight some of the proposed questions were from the trilogy error when everything was technology and programming related. The last one was brought up in january when there was barely 10 non beta network sites. – Chris_O May 21 '11 at 0:20
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    Another earlier suggestion: Cross-site badges? (Also contains a duplicate of @Rebecca's comment.) – mmyers May 21 '11 at 5:58
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    or name it the Stack Exchange badge. – Nick Dandoulakis May 21 '11 at 10:36
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    I disagree about excluding beta sites, but I like the idea otherwise. – Neil Fein May 24 '11 at 3:50
  • So, that's 5000 reputation total? – Mateen Ulhaq May 24 '11 at 4:21
  • @muntoo - the important thing is that is across multiple sites. – ChrisF May 24 '11 at 7:54
  • It would have to be only for points earned on answers, not questions. I don't think asking a lot of questions on different subjects makes you a renaissance man. – Igby Largeman Jun 30 '11 at 14:30
  • I think this is a great idea. Probably because it would mean a new badge for me, hahaha – The Unhandled Exception Oct 14 '11 at 13:28
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    @Chris_O. The trilogy error. I like it. – TRiG Nov 29 '12 at 1:59

That is a good idea, but I fear that 10 SE network sites is too much. I suggest bringing it down to, say, 5.

And I think Meta Stack Overflow and beta sites should totally count, as users put just as much time and energy into those sites as well as the "graduated" sties.

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    Five just doesn't feel very challenging. I have 1000+ rep on four (SO, SU, Physics.SE, Cooking.SE) already and I'm not even trying. Plus I'll get there on CodeGolf.SE by and by; and perhaps on English.SE in reasonable time. Or should we propose multiple levels---say Widely Read, Encyclopedia, Polymath---requiring an increasing threshold on an increasing number of sites. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten May 20 '11 at 23:56
  • 10 does seem like a lot but 5 doesn't seem like enough. Maybe it could be 10k rep spread over 10sites with a 5 site minimum with a 2k or 3k ceiling per site. So if someone has 8k on SO only 3k would go towards badge. – Chris_O May 21 '11 at 0:03
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    @dmckee, @studiohack, @Chris_O: Don't we need real stats on how many users fit the criteria for both 5 and 10 sites (and other thresholds) before espousing numbers from thin air? – Fred Nurk May 21 '11 at 6:04
  • I'll do the research but I initially came up with my requirement number by looking at @Jeff's account profile and he almost qualifies unless meta is included. – Chris_O May 21 '11 at 7:57
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    FWIW, five doesn't challenge @dmckee because he is a renaissance man... – Shog9 May 21 '11 at 15:45
  • ::turns beet red:: – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten May 21 '11 at 17:34
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    A few days ago, Gilles managed to get 1000 rep on 10 different sites! – Hendrik Vogt Sep 2 '11 at 10:45

The 'da Vinci' badge has a nice ring to it :) Or pick another from this list.

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    I like 'da Vinci' – Chris_O May 21 '11 at 8:30
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    +1 I've jumped ship to da Vinci. It has all the cachet of Renaissance Man with none of the potential risks. It is also vastly more accessible than Polymath. An excellent idea. – Rick Sladkey May 21 '11 at 17:25

Well, there is StackAthlon

Stackathlon 2.5: Leader board for users active on multiple sites

As it turns out, a person with 1k rep on multiple Stack Exchange sites is very, very rare indeed.

This would be platinum level, beyond gold.

  • Me me me! I have >1k rep on 6 sites! – The Unhandled Exception Oct 14 '11 at 13:19
  • So network level badges? Bronze for 1k on more than 3 sites, silver for more than 5k on more than 5 sites, gold for more than 10k on 3 sites and 5k on 7 additional sites... – jcolebrand Oct 14 '11 at 13:27
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    Is this still true? I just passed the 2k mark on my 5th site (some are beta.) I don't feel "very very rare." – Kate Gregory Nov 16 '11 at 18:10
  • I think so @KateGregory. Maybe that's just because I want to feel special, but it's not something I often see. Most people seem to focus on one or two sites. – The Unhandled Exception Nov 30 '11 at 14:14
  • @TheUnhandledException well then, we should be medalled for it, shouldn't we? I like da Vinci, if anyone is taking notes – Kate Gregory Nov 30 '11 at 14:25

Since Renaissance Man does not even make sense for female users, I suggest the name Polymath instead.


I should have said "does not make sense to me" because I visualize a badge as a label like something you would wear on your lapel. As a programmer, it's like using the name of a derived class when you should be using the name of the base class. Furthermore, I sensed that (as we would say in programming) "using the wrong qualifier" was only asking for trouble.

But in the comments I learned that some women aren't bothered with the word Man in this context. Perhaps because of the powerful positive associations people have with The Renaissance and Renaissance Man in general.

Furthermore, I am pleasantly surprised to see that no one is complaining about Renaissance Man in the way that I had anticipated. This can only be due the clear-thinking sophisticated meta audience. :-)

In summary, this is not a PC-based answer; it is a logic-inspired answer. It is my own twisted logic, maybe, but not a primitive bristling at a rich phrase laden with positive overtones.

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    boo, I like renaissance man much better than polymath... but I don't hate this badly enough to take a 1% reputation hit – Mike Pennington May 20 '11 at 23:52
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    I thought about the PC implications but figured since the term references 15th century scholars and is defined as a person in modern dictionaries that we could get away with it. Might be a good question for English.stackexchange.com – Chris_O May 21 '11 at 0:12
  • Chris_O: The term is not offensive, you just need two of them: Renaissance Man, and Renaissance Woman. That can never work for a badge title. – Rick Sladkey May 21 '11 at 0:22
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    How about Renaisance Person? ;-D – stealthyninja May 21 '11 at 0:57
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    I'm a woman, and I prefer the term Renaissance Man. – PengOne May 21 '11 at 1:09
  • @PengOne: If there is just one woman who prefers Renaissance Woman, then you still need two of them. – Rick Sladkey May 21 '11 at 1:13
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    What about Renaissance (Wo)Man? – PengOne May 21 '11 at 1:16
  • @PengOne: Propose that in an answer. – Rick Sladkey May 21 '11 at 1:27
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    @RickSladkey: Does that mean if there is just one person who prefers Renaissance Robot that we automatically "need" three tags? (If you want seriousness instead, consider how many people prefer to view gender/sex as a spectrum rather than binary.) – Fred Nurk May 21 '11 at 6:01
  • @Fred: Your point only strengthens my point. Dividing labels are problematic in general. A badge needs to have one name. If it needs two or ten it's still no good. The only way renaissance will work is Renaissance Person and that sounds clinical to me. – Rick Sladkey May 21 '11 at 6:08
  • You take it to the extreme and then view it as strengthening, but I don't, nor do I think most sensible people do. PC has its place, but I don't think we need to introduce that nonsense here. Renaissance Man is fine. – Fred Nurk May 21 '11 at 6:11
  • @Fred: Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I never said anything about PC. I actually like Renaissance Man. I'm just being realistic. You can't fight City Hall. – Rick Sladkey May 21 '11 at 6:27
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    @RickSladkey: So "Renaissance Man" does make sense for women? Your answer does not agree with your last comment. Perhaps you should make it clear in your answer that someone other than you (who? why don't they speak up?) would have a problem. – Fred Nurk May 21 '11 at 7:23
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    @Fred: @PengOne above already proved me wrong on that one, mea culpa. Some women are quite comfortable with the label Renaissance Man. And you are right again on the second point that to my knowledge no one has balked at the idea. So perhaps it seems like I am tilting at windmills. Really I simply like the word Polymath and somehow ended up the advocate of a practice I find repellent, perhaps out of misguided protectiveness for StackOverflow. – Rick Sladkey May 21 '11 at 7:36
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    @CodyGray: Polymath doesn't have the connotation of general excellence that comes from the Renaissance. – Fred Nurk May 21 '11 at 10:03

How about naming the badge Renaissance?

Many of the badges act as direct labels for the receiver ("this person is [a] XXX"), but not even most: Beta, Citizen Patrol, Civic Duty, Cleanup, Convention, Nice/Good/Great, ...

"Renaissance" keeps the connection I like from the original -- which I don't get from "polymath" -- without provoking pointless debate (unfounded or not) on including "man."


The badge should be named Know-it-All.


I say take it one step further, if they get round to implementing categories of SE sites, you'd have to have 1000 rep in 5 different categories, not just 5 different sites (otherwise SO/Programmers/SU/Unix/Ubuntu - for example - is just too easy).

Note that as it stands, and even without counting meta or beta sites, I'd get your badge if it was just based on 1000 rep on 5 different sites, and I don't think I'm a platinum user!

  • I'm not sure if Area 51 would count. There are only a [handful of users(stackathlon.appspot.com) that have 1k on SO, SU, and SF. – Chris_O May 24 '11 at 9:02

Usually information sharing between are not very well accepted. I guess there is there is some performance issue under this.

So I don't think this badge has it's place here. Would it be given on all the 10 sites? only meta? By the way, one of the site should check about all users and ask other sites about his reputation. I do not see what site could handle that but SE. And there is no badge on SE.

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    It could use some of the same functionality as linking profiles and the script could run the first time you click the accounts tab on your profile per day. – Chris_O May 21 '11 at 0:05

How about naming the badge Renaissance (Wo)Man?

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