It is obvious that the badges are an effort to direct people to other areas of the site and to generate clicks on the site. I cleared my cookies before I logged on the other day. When I came to the site I had one Google cookie. I picked up cookies from ex when, I arrived at the site, when I logged into the site, when I opted out of the ads, every time I clicked on anything new I picked up cookies. After 5 minutes on the site I had received several dozen cookies. This is probably at least part of the reason for the slowness of the site. Just an observation.
Badge Haters Thought of the day: I wonder if that is still okay to eat.
Badge Haters Motto: There is something bad wrong with all of us and that is why we need each other.