This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are notWikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
Ordinarily Barnstars and Project Awards (not to be confused with or used in place of Personal user awards) are awarded to editors for exceptional work and great efforts, usually involving great sacrifices of time. However, they can sometimes be given away to editors, perhaps mistakenly, because of a handful of edits, good edits even, on one perhaps two pages. This in itself may not be a harmful or a bad thing, but it does tend to trivialize the same awards given to those editors for their great and prolonged efforts and sacrifices. In such cases any appreciation shown to an editor for his or her minor efforts would be more appropriately expressed with a Personal user award and/or a letter of appreciation to that editor on his or her talk page, while those editors who receive a general or major award for minor or routine work on a given page are encouraged to graciously decline the award.
The practice of declining an award has often occurred in the military; for instance in the US Army where a soldier is given and then respectfully declines a Purple Heart because he or she had only received a minor bruise, cut or injury, and because it would have otherwise trivialized and do a disservice to those soldiers who have received the same award for loss of limb(s) or other serious wounds or injuries. In so doing these soldiers bring more honor to themselves by declining such awards than they would if they accepted the award for a minor injury. In the interest of bringing more integrity to the Wikipedia award system and of not trivializing major awards given to those editors who have made great sacrifices of time and effort, editors are encouraged to decline such awards if they are given away, however well intended, for only doing a little work on one or two pages. This in itself will shine much brighter than any star that was given away for minor or routine work that is normally performed by most editors.