The profile text for user1873 seems to be a quote from the History Box website, which article itself appears to be some kind of partially attributed mash-up from other sources:

The economy is in fact over-expanded, particularly in railroad construction, and the weak link turns out to be the banking house of Jay Cooke and Company, which helped the U.S. Government finance the Civil War and also underwrote the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad. { ... etc ... } The hard times drove numbers of laboring people and those in humble circumstances to the West and other portions of the country, to seek the rewards which the stagnation of business in the great commercial centre denied them.

As such the text doesn't say anything about that user, (except to indicate an interest in American financial panics), yet the text did result in a bronze autobiographer badge.

Should the autobiographer badge be given if there's no autobiography?


The autobiographer badge is given purely for changing the profile text. It makes no attempt to measure the quality of the text nor to assert that it, in any way, describes the user.

You can in fact get the badge for simply altering the text to something like "Text entered to get the autobiographer badge." And then removing it once the badge is awarded.

Badge names don't deserve to be overthought. Does awarding a bounty on someone else's question really show that one is an Altruist? Or is it just an attempt to get a better answer for the question? Does being the first to answer make someone more Enlightened than someone who answers later? Are you really Informed if you just click on the Tour and scroll to the bottom?

It's not practical to manually check every badge to see if it's truly deserved. Badges are awarded by automated processes. The ones that can be awarded multiple times require community approval (e.g. Great Question). Over time, these will dominate the total collection of badges. A few undeserved beginner badges will make no difference.

  • The Q is not about checking every badge, or even manually checking every instance of one badge. In addition to automation, SE also relies on user input as a deciding/ranking mechanism. This answer currently fails to account for why rating and flagging user text input in answers and comments is significantly different from user text input in autobiographies. The above laissez faire policy would seem to support tolerating a user biography that was exclusively swears, curses, and various offensive "triggers". – agc Dec 28 '16 at 19:59
  • @agc If there is something offensive in the profile, that's another issue altogether and we will deal with that. However, a profile text is completely optional, and we don't require it to in any way be useful like we do with answers. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 28 '16 at 22:37
  • @SamIam, since there's no flag mechanism, it sounds as though that "we will deal" policy would require somebody first posting a complaint to meta. I'd suppose there are more flag users than there are meta posters, however. – agc Dec 28 '16 at 22:48
  • @agc what people usually do, is they flag one of the user's posts and leave a description letting the mod know that the problem is the profile, as per this post on meta.se. You can also contact support As per this post. If you would like to request a feature to flag someone's profile meta.stackexchange.com would be the place to do it, since it would be a software feature. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 28 '16 at 23:03
  • @SamIam, thanks. Useful links, perhaps iffy advice, since the cited links lead to ones that indicate that such flags do exist, but only for moderators. – agc Dec 28 '16 at 23:20
  • @agc - people were flagged and their profiles fixed for offensive profiles. I personally witnessed that on History.SE. And yes, it's only for moderators. Normal users don't get to mess up each others' profiles, and I'm quite greatful for that, despite my general support for community content management over moderator actions, as a rule. – user4012 Dec 29 '16 at 22:13

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