I've received quite a number of badges, but although I've searched in meta and in the main English site, I couldn't find what the point of badges is.

  • 2
    See at MSE, e.g. Why are badges motivating? There are also relevant questions at Community Building, e.g. Do badges (gamification) produce positive results in a professional community?
    – choster
    Aug 1, 2018 at 17:14
  • OK, so it looks like they don't increase you reputation points.
    – Wordster
    Aug 1, 2018 at 17:44
  • 2
    english.meta.stackexchange.com/help You need to read this
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 1, 2018 at 17:54
  • Don't the badges come with a brief description for what they are awarded?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 1, 2018 at 17:56
  • 2
    It's gamifying. Like a gold sticker you mom gives you when you are 5 for years old for brushing your teeth every day of the week, the badge is reward for good work done. Such rewards may be connected to functional things (like with a particular kind of badge you can then close some questions with a single vote), or it can just be another sign of reputation that others can see.
    – Mitch
    Aug 1, 2018 at 21:12
  • @Mari-LouA: what they're given for isn't the same as the ultimate purpose. But all the responses here have answered my question.
    – Wordster
    Aug 3, 2018 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


Badges reward good behavior

The blog post that first announced badges describes their purpose thusly:

Our goal with the badges is to encourage people to a) have fun and b) use the Stack Overflow website in ways that make sense.

A second blog post about badges says something along the same lines:

Badges exist to reward and encourage the kind of positive behavior we want in our community.

Badges help indicate participation

Although it's not mentioned in the aforementioned blog posts (due to changes that happened in 2015 after those blog posts were written), there is another place badge count... counts. The "Candidate Score", which is shown for each person running during each moderator election, is based on a combination of reputation and certain badges:

For badges that can be awarded multiple times only 1 point is granted for each badge type, thus ensuring a maximum score of 40 points.

People of course are free to vote however they want, but higher scores look better.

On sites where users leave "welcome" comments for new users, it is often suggested (for example here) to only suggest a new user take the tour if they don't have the "informed" badge (which is given for taking the tour).

Badges also give a quick indication how much a user has participated on meta, which doesn't have its own (visible) reputation system.


They are akin to getting "achievements" in computer/console games. Badges are one of many ways that Stack Exchange games you to participate more in it, as are points, privileges and the like.

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