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    Here are the reasons I question the fanatic badge:
    1) When I apply for jobs, I'm not sure I want potential employers knowing how often I use (or do not use) MathOverflow.
    2) It devalues the gold badge. There was a time when, if I saw that someone had a gold badge, I would think, "This person has done something special." Now I just think, "Oh, this person spends too much time on MathOverflow." To support this point, at the time I am writing this, there have been 143 fanatic badges awarded, compared to 17 other gold badges total.

    I would not object to the elimination of the Enthusiast badge also, since point 1) certainly still applies, but I do not think it is as big an issue.

    Does anyone else feel the same way?
    • CommentAuthorsigfpe
    • CommentTimeJul 28th 2010
    I wondered how I got the fanatic badge because while I like to check out what's going on on MO pretty often, I'm sure I missed some days. I think some web browsers visit web pages behind your back. For example, Safari likes to make thumbnails of pages for its "Top Sites" feature. These look, to the server, like normal http requests. So anyone who uses Safari, and for whom MO is a "Top site", is going to become a fanatic eventually.

    So just tell your potential employer it's your web browser's fault :-)
    I know at least one mathematician who doesn't log into meta that'd like the Fanatic badge abolished. I kind of like it, because it gives me something to tease him about. I mean, it doesn't bother me but it bothers him and that's great ammunition.
    The fanatic badge is a part of the game. The idea is to make you involved.

    Charles, if you don't wish to have it (as far as I understand, you don't have it for the moment) you can either skip your days on MO or start a discussion about possibility to decline badges (not necessary this one).

    I agree it's a bit silly at present, where the vast majority of gold badges are Fanatics. Perhaps one day we'll be able to change the threshold, so it's really something to tease someone about.

    There are also badges which are not officially announced (maybe, I couldn't manage to find them?), the tag (silver) badges, like .

    @Wadim: those are tag badges, which are generated when somebody earns 400 (resp. 1000) upvotes within a given tag.

    @Anton: this is clear. I just wonder whether they are officially announced at some place.
    Why the odd choice of fields: algebraic geometry, category theory, logic, number theory, set theory? Why not just one for every arXiv area?
    @Ryan, it's for *every* tag, I suppose. But for the moment we have only these where 400 upvotes are earned.

    @Wadim: I think so too. But I suppose one could repeat Ryan's question at a deeper level, since indeed these topics do seem to get more than their fair share of attention on MO (not that I'm complaining).

    • CommentAuthorjonas
    • CommentTimeAug 5th 2010

    I don't think it devalues the gold badges much. Consider that many gold badges will become much easier to earn when the site will have more regular visitors, as good questions or answers will get more upvotes and more views. The Fanatic badge, however, won't be easier to earn, ever.

    As for your worry about employees finding out that you're visiting Mathoverflow much, this might happen, but I don't think the Fanatic badge alone changes this much.

    I assume people with the Fanatic badge have written a program to login every day.

    @jdb: Your assumption is incorrect in at least one case. :)


    Make it after a gazillion billion days in a row.