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I was reading this question: From zero to “almost pro”: Newbie trying to learn. Good, quick resources and this image popped up:
share a link to this hot question to earn the publicist badge
encouraging me to share a link to the question to get a badge. It may be that the question has been hit a lot in recent times, but just sharing a link to it shouldn't be worth a gold badge.

Also, I feel that badges should be little rewards along the way, not things you work for (i.e., make edits because they should be made, not to earn an editor badge.)

Can someone explain the purpose of this popup?

Disclaimer: Feel free to navigate to the parent site and find the question (it's likely to be on the first page) if my link above will unfairly grant me a badge. That's exactly the opposite of my motivation for asking this question.

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In general I agree with you (do things for the right reason, not to gain badges), but as a new beta site we need to build a large enough stable user base that the site doesn't become deserted.

I think it's good to encourage people to share questions and get more users involved with the site.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Alot of people use badges as little goals on the site. if you can motivate users to get more people to the site, everyone wins. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Oct 31 '10 at 16:44
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Just to clarify the badge requirements, to obtain publicist that unique URL must be visited by 1000 unique IPs in 5 days (not simply share a link to a question that was already 'hot').

If you can get 1000 people to view the site legitimately, you deserve a big gold star.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ And links from within the SE network don't count towards that number. And to actually earn Publicist, you (currently) must have already earned the related bronze and silver badges on different questions (this bit is a tad broken, I imagine it will change sometime in the next 6 months). \$\endgroup\$ – user1914 Nov 11 '10 at 12:24

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