Badge Merit (2)

By: Joshua Glenn
July 23, 2010

Last year, Randy Schmidt of Forge38 and John Young of Tikaro Interactive introduced embroidered, Velcro-backed Nerd Merit Badges. Some of them are RL versions of Foursquare badges; others include the Family Tech Support badge show above (“Requirements: You provide hardware, software, and telephone support for family computers and electronics — voluntarily or involuntarily”) and the coveted Inbox Zero badge (below).


Second in a series of six exploring the role of badges in hilobrow culture.


Codebreaking, Kudos

What do you think?

  1. Hi Joshua! It’s John from Nerd Merit Badges here; I’ll just come in and say this:

    MY GOD, MAN, BE CAREFUL! You have just awarded us a Badge of Merit for making Nerd Merit Badges. Aren’t you aware that the first thing any acolyte does when they get into badge-awarding is that they make a recursive “earned a merit badge” badge?

    “Ha ha!” they say. “I’ve never seen this done before! This is hilarious!”

    The reason you never see recursive badge badges, Joshua, is that they are INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS. A recursive badge is a sign that you’re delving too greedily and too deep. Over at Nerd Merit Badges, we made a batch of “earned this badge” badges, only to hear a slight popping noise. When we turned around, we saw that we had opened a dark portal that was slowly, steadily (and this is the frightening part) with increasing speed, gobbling everything in the room into its tiny ebon maw.

    We were saved by timely intervention by [REDACTED], who arrived [REDACTED REDACTED] and I got to meet my own [REDACTED]-[REDACTED] [REDACTED]. Thank God, because who wants to know that?

    Anyhow, I beg you: PLEASE BE CAREFUL when you play in the meta-badge badge-awarding space.

    If you want to check out our other badges (the Foursquare badges were a limited edition, and no longer available), you can come and see us at Nerd Merit Badges Dot Com!

  2. Ha — we didn’t really award you a Badge of Merit, but the warning about recursive earned-a-badge badges is much appreciated. Not sure Peggy would have thought of it, so perhaps it’s bad that you’ve mentioned it — maybe it will become an idée fixe for her? My favorite Nerd Merit Badge, btw, is the zero-k-inbox one. I earned one last week for the first time in years…

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