Badges are awarded to encourage and incentivize positive community actions within the site.
Badges (along with reputation) are what makes 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 badges recognize important contributions from members of the community. They are rarely awarded.
Silver badges are less common than bronze ones. You'll need to plan your strategy to get one of these.
Bronze badges encourage users to try out new features on the site. They are easy to get if you try!
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 an intensive information regarding each badge, how it gets awarded, and exactly what it means.