Wikipedia:Skill badges

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This proposal is to create a system of accreditation for skills that an editor shows in contributing to Wikipedia. The purposes of this system would be:

  1. To show that a Wikipedian had, through editing, gained and demonstrated skills that could be applied in the non-wiki world, thus promoting Wikipedia as a place of "service learning." This could help them apply for jobs and higher education; the prospect of this type of benefit could motivate more people to become editors.
  2. To help users figure out who to go to when they needed assistance.
  3. To help people figure out whether someone was qualified for adminship etc. (Note, however, that these wouldn't officially be a requirement or increase one's eligibility for anything.)
  4. To give editors positive reinforcement by showing that, even if they had not received barnstars, the skillfulness of their contributions was appreciated and they had a degree of expertise in some area.
  5. If an editor requested a badge and did not receive one, to show them where they can improve.
  6. To provide focus for tutorials and seminars. Conceivably, these could be held at Wikimanias, related conferences and on IRC.


We would not accredit general knowledge of article subject matter (e.g. chemistry), because that would be too hard to generalize from contributions to specific articles. These badges would only relate to the ability to create or improve content and presentation on Wikipedia, eliminate unwanted content, or improve cooperation and collaboration among users. Also, accreditations earned and work done in the physical world or on non-wiki websites would not count, only what was done on Wikipedia and possibly other public wikis.

I believe we should try not to replicate the breadth of the Boy Scout system of merit badges, nor the depth of an MMORPG skill tree. We should keep the system moderately simple, lest we end up awarding a Skill Badges skill badge to the rare user who manages to keep them straight! Hence, despite the broad diversity of skills involved in Wikipedia, there should probably be no more than 40 or 50 skill areas, and no more than three or four levels in each. The levels might be called Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert; or Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Awarding a badge[edit]

Badges would differ from barnstars in that they would have specific requirements and could not be awarded unilaterally by just anyone. There would be two ways of earning one:

  1. Any user could nominate themself or a peer, on a page similar to WP:RFA, provide examples of fulfilling each requirement, and receive one if consensus was in favour.
  2. A user with a high-level badge in a skill could unilaterally grant lower-level badges in that skill, to save time.

Badges could also be removed by consensus, but not unilaterally.

Proposed starting badges[edit]

Badges may be added, removed, merged or split by discussion on the talk page. Even once the system is adopted, individual badges are still subject to addition, removal or change.

Text content[edit]

encompasses spelling, grammar, punctuation, basic wiki markup (headings, links, lists, images, bold, italics, tables) and knowledge of the Manual of Style. Those at the highest skill level consistently produce brilliant prose.
refers to the ability to research relevant, notable, factually accurate, verifiable information and add it to an article in well-written form with references and appropriate illustrations.

Text formatting/presentation[edit]

includes a knowledge of how to use the basic templates and how to edit templates. At upper levels, this includes {{#if:}}, optional parameters, and variables.
Math presentation
includes skill at formatting mathematical expressions and equations using LaTeX, as well as mathematical knowledge of math symbols and equation manipulation (e.g. factoring, simplification, expansion, renaming variables), and how to express mathematical relationships in both equation and prose form.
Chemistry presentation
is skill at formatting chemical formulas and equations using HTML (or, if necessary, LaTeX), as well as chemical symbols, equation manipulation (e.g. balancing), and how to express chemical relationships in both equation and prose form.
is an ability to use HTML tags and CSS properties as they apply within wiki pages.
Non-English writing systems
Is an understanding of diacritics, IPA and writing systems not based on the Latin alphabet, and how to input, format and manipulate them using Unicode, and transliterate between them.


For these badges, work on Wikimedia Commons would also be counted, regardless of whether it was used on Wikipedia or any of its sister projects.


is the ability to produce usable original photographs.
is the ability to produce drawings, charts, maps and diagrams.
Image editing
covers the ability to clean up and improve on photographs and drawings.


Is the ability to record spoken articles clearly and accurately with a consistent volume and a minimum of background noise.
Sound recording
Is the ability to clearly and accurately record sounds other than voice.
Audio editing
Is the ability to make existing audio recordings clearer, removing artifacts and extraneous background noise and editing down clips as appropriate. At the highest level, also includes sound synthesis, i.e. creating useful audio without using a microphone.


(These badges will probably go unused for the foreseeable future, since Wikipedia has little video content.)

Is the ability to record good-quality, usable original video clips.
Is skill at producing animated charts, maps and diagrams with appropriate use of animation.
Video editing
Is the ability to make existing video recordings and animations more usable, performing colour correction, removing visual noise and cropping or editing them down as appropriate.


Multimedia research
Is skill at finding relevant, high-quality images, audio and video clips with suitable copyright/licensing status online, performing appropriate format conversion if necessary, and uploading them with a suitable description page.

Community support[edit]

Dispute resolution
is the ability to resolve disputes, whether as one of the parties to the dispute or as a mediating third party, in a fair and diplomatic manner.
is an ability to organize groups of editors in such a way that they accomplish clearly defined goals and are happy, while upholding the open-source, sociocratic and newcomer-friendly spirit of Wikipedia.
Technical support
Is the ability to answer technical questions related to hardware or software, raised on Wikipedia:Help desk, Wikipedia:Village pump (technical), Wikipedia:Reference desk/Computing, discussion pages, other wikis, and Wikimedia's IRC channels; and do so diplomatically, concisely, thoroughly and with as few rounds of discussion as possible.


Web law in the United States
includes an understanding of copyright, trademark and fair use law, as well as various free use licenses and the differences and compatibility between them. Also covers privacy, defamation and libel laws as they apply to Wikipedia.
is the ability to detect vandalism (including subtle POV/factual accuracy hijacking) when patrolling recent changes and new pages, familiarity with warning templates, and skill at using patrolling tools such as CryptoDerk's VandalFighter.