"Self-Learner" reads like a kenning or nonce phrase.

"Autodidact" appears to enjoy greater popularity:

Edit: If you do not understand how this phrase could seem problematic to a native English speaker, please consider the following phrases: (and their popularity)

  1. I taught myself - 6,620,000

  2. I learned myself - 384,000

The second example occurs most often as a colloquialism, particularly where the speaker is assumed to lack formal education or familiarity with English language mechanics.

Here is an example from the first chapter of Huckleberry Finn:

After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers [...]

  • It's surely a nonce phrase created for Stack Exchange. – kiamlaluno Jan 4 '12 at 0:59
  • Really, who cares what it's called? – Robusto Jan 6 '12 at 2:00
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    On a site named English Language & Usage, shouldn't everyone care? Personally I'd like to see the badge changed per the OP's suggestion. – Bjorn Jan 9 '12 at 18:26
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    @Bjorn It doesn't make any difference if the site is about English language: The badge names are used in all the Stack Exchange sites; there aren't different names for the same badges, for an understandable reason. Also, there is nothing wrong with self-learner. – kiamlaluno Jan 12 '12 at 7:28
  • @kiamlaluno - RE: "there is nothing wrong with self-learner" - Is the badge awarded to those who learn themselves or those who teach themselves? – danlefree Jan 12 '12 at 13:22
  • @danlefree Actually, who is teaching and who is learning is the same person. Anyway, the title given to a badge, or an award, is not necessarily a grammatically correct word. Do you see any grammatical reason to call Emmy the award given to television programs? – kiamlaluno Jan 12 '12 at 21:24
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    @kiamlaluno In the context of creating an awkward and imprecise nonce (every SE user should be learning, but only some can be said to have taught themselves) versus using a word which already exists, I think the responsibility for an English speaker is unambiguous: do not create potential confusion by making up a phrase when you can use a precise word which can be found in a dictionary and further English language knowledge. – danlefree Jan 12 '12 at 22:15
  • @danlefree See the etymology of Emmy. Do you think that Emmy is a better word for the television award, which explain exactly what the award is for? There isn't a potential confusion in self-learner as in any case you need to read the description of the badge, and possibly a FAQ post explaining exactly the purpose of the badge. I think it is more confusing calling a badge Yearling, but then there isn't any confusion, as you still need to read the description, or a FAQ entry about that badge. – kiamlaluno Jan 13 '12 at 16:32
  • @kiamlaluno Rather than argue for the existence of a nonsensical phrase by virtue of the existence of other nonsense, perhaps you should be inquiring after an appropriate name for the "yearling" badge. – danlefree Jan 14 '12 at 1:45
  • @danlefree Or you should require they change the name of the television award too. It's rather pointless saying that a name given to an award/badge must be an English word that describes exactly its purpose. – kiamlaluno Jan 14 '12 at 6:37

I don't see any reason for which the name should be changed. As long as the name is understood, there is no reason to change it.

The name chosen for the badge is not necessarily the word that you would use in English to express the concept related to that badge. Take for example yearling, which is described as, "active member for a year, earning at least 200 reputation"; from its name, you would not understand it can be gained more than once.

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    +1 for "The name chosen for the badge is not necessarily the word that you would use in English to express the concept related to that badge." – Alenanno Jan 12 '12 at 19:57
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    I assumed Yearling was only awarded once. I don't have any problems with the name but awarding it every year seems a bit silly to me. – z7sg Ѫ Jan 15 '12 at 17:32

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