Badges are awarded to encourage and incentivize positive community actions within the site.
Badges (along with reputation) are what make Stack Exchange sites tick.
If you have a question about how the badge system works or a question about a specific badge, this is the tag to use.
A user may be awarded
- Gold Badge
Gold Badges are rare. You’ll have to actively work toward these. They’re something of an accomplishment!
- Silver Badge
Silver badges are awarded for longer-term goals. Silver badges are uncommon, but definitely attainable if you’re interested.
- Bronze Badge
Bronze badges are awarded for basic use of Meta Stack Overflow. They are easy to earn.
Some badges are awarded based on score. The term score means the total number of upvotes minus the total number of downvotes.
What surrounds a badge on the badge page?
The tick before the badge denotes that you've already been awarded that badge.
The number after the badges is the total amount of users the badge has been awarded to.
Want to know more?
Visit the Badges page for a list of available badges.
The FAQ: List of all badges with full descriptions, provides intensive information regarding each badge, how it gets awarded, and exactly what it means.
Originally copied from https://meta.stackexchange.com/tags/badges/info