Explanations and instructions of all things Writing.Com.
Merit Badges are the perfect way to recognize another Writing.Com member for effort and excellence! Whether given out for the member's writing, reviewing, interactions or personality, a Merit Badge will be a lasting reminder of your sincere appreciation.1
What is a Merit Badge?
Merit Badges are symbols of recognition that are given at will from one member to another. Each badge is custom-designed by Writing.Com to represent a particular trait, specialty skill or theme. Send a virtual badge that is kept and displayed in the member's portfolio; mail a physical one to the member to keep and display at home!
How do I give a virtual Merit Badge?
There are a few ways to give someone a Merit Badge. The quickest way is to click the member's handle and choose Badges from the drop down menu, then "Send a Merit Badge" from within the member's badge page. You can also click the Shop or Gift Points link from within the left navigation under the Writing.Com logo and choose Merit Badges. You may also click here: http://www.Writing.Com/main/badges.
Simply click on the Merit Badge that best suits your reason for recognition and go to the order form at the bottom of the listing. Fill out the order form and include a few comments of explanation. Make sure you have used the correct username before confirming the purchase. Each virtual Merit Badge costs 10,000 "Gift Points" 2 each time you want to give one to another member.
After the badge is given, the member will receive a detailed notification email, the badge will be added to the Merit Badge collection within his or her portfolio "Community" tab, and, if qualified, will also added to his or her Community Recognition.
Members with paid memberships are able to give one virtual Merit Badge for free every 30 days. The current status of this feature is shown at the bottom of the Merit Badge Shop. In your Gift Points log, this is handled as an entry for the normal charge for the MB followed by an entry for a credit of the MB price of the virtual MB. This discount is used when it is available, and may not be deferred for a later MB purchase. This discount may not be saved for later by not using it. Only one free MB is available at a time. The timer resets when the discount is used.
To give a Merit Badge that qualifies for Community Recognition, the Merit Badge must be given at least 14 days from the time you gave that person a qualified Merit Badge before. On the confirmation screen for purchasing the Merit Badge, the system will alert you if you've sent the recipient a Merit Badge within the past 14 days. If you have, the badge(s) are shown so you can check the dates.
Note: This is not a perfect solution. It is possible for the alert to be shown even though the Merit Badge would count for Community Recognition. The most recent badges are not necessarily the ones the 14-day CR requirement is based on. For example: Joe sent Sally a badge 15 days ago. Then Joe sent Sally a badge 5 days ago. The badge from 5 days ago does NOT count towards CR. Thus Joe could send Sally another badge today and it would count; however, the warning information would still be shown.
Click on a Merit Badge above to see a few virtual examples.
For a complete viewing of the over 500 merit badges currently in stock, please visit:
How do I send a physical Merit Badge?
When you give a virtual Merit Badge, you also have the option to gift a physical badge that will be sent to the member by USPS First Class mail. The member will receive your gifted Merit Badge in the form of a 1" button pin attached to a keepsake card (see photos below). The pins can be displayed as a collection or worn individually. The cards are standard sports-card size, so that they can be kept in a collection of sleeves. Each physical Merit Badge costs 32,500 "Gift Points" 3 each time you want to send one to another member.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Virtual Merit Badges
To whom should I give a Merit Badge?
Merit Badges should be given to any Writing.Com member whom you would like to recognize for any reason. Is there someone you feel has excelled in a certain genre or a type of writing? Has a member supported you through his or her words or actions? Do you see someone participating in the community and want to recognize his or her efforts? No reason is too trivial; all members appreciate positive recognition for whatever reason!
Merit Badges are also a great way to reward members who have excelled in a project or fulfilled their requirements in a group. They are great to use as prizes in a contest; reward the winning authors with Merit Badges and their items with "AwardIcons" !
Why should I give a Merit Badge?
Merit Badges received by a member count toward his or her "Community Recognition" , which is the number located after that member's handle.Therefore, you are not only handing out a visual badge of recognition for that member to display, you are also helping a member build his or her presence within the community.
How can I view a member's Merit Badges?
Clicking on a member's Community Recognition number will launch a window containing a summary of merit badges that he or she has received. Merit Badges also reside on an author's "Community Tab" within a member's portfolio and may be viewed by the public as long as that account exists. As "AwardIcons" are awards for individual items, Merit Badges are awards for the authors themselves!
Is there an easy way to tell which Merit Badges a member does not have?
To view a member's Merit Badge Checklist page, left click the member's handle menu, click on Badges and at the top right of that page, click on View Checklist under Send a Merit Badge. Or you can find the View Badge Checklist link on the member's Community tab under the Merit Badge Summary list. In the Merit Badge Checklist page, a Give it! link is shown beside the Merit Badges you are able to give, which the member doesn't already have. Clicking on a Give it! link opens the Merit Badge Shop page with that Merit Badge selected and the member's name pre-loaded in the order form.
How many Merit Badges may I give out?
There is no limit on the number of Merit Badges you may give out to other members. However, only one given Merit Badge per member per 14 day period counts toward a member's Community Recognition.
How many Merit Badges can I collect?
There is no limit on the number of Merit Badges you can receive from other members. However, only one received Merit Badge per member per 14 day period counts toward your Community Recognition.
Where will my virtual Merit Badges be stored? How can I find them?
You can quickly access a complete summary of your Merit Badges by clicking the Community Recognition number located next to your handle. Using this method, Merit Badges can be viewed individually by topic or as an entire collection. All of your Merit Badges will also be stored and available from within your portfolio. To view your collection from within your portfolio, just head to your portfolio and click the "Community" tab. Visitors to your community recognition and portfolio will also access your Merit Badges from these same links.
Can I display Merit Badges in my signature?
Yes, by using WritingML, you can quickly and easily add a Merit Badge (or more) to your signature. For directions, see WritingML Help for badge. For additional information about limits on displaying Merit Badges, see "Enhance Your Item With WritingML" .
Can I download them to store in my portfolio?
No, you may not download the Merit Badges. Each Merit Badge is owned by Writing.Com and may not be used for personal use. There are many tools provided for displaying them without having to actually download or manipulate them in any way.
Where can I view all of the Merit Badges that have been given out within the community?
From the Things To Do & Read link in the navigation under the Writing.Com logo, click on Merit Badges. This will display all of the Merit Badges that have been given within the community. You may also click here: http://www.writing.com/main/badges.php?action=show&show=all
Where can I view all of the Merit Badges that I have given out to other members?
From the Gift Point Tools link in the navigation under the Writing.Com logo, click on Merit Badges: Given. This will display all of the Merit Badges that you have given within the community. You may also click here: http://www.writing.com/main/badges/action/given_badges
I gave a Merit Badge, and later I noticed a typo in the comment text. How can I fix it?
Click to view the Merit Badge, and then click on the Edit button displayed in the box with the comment text. When you have adjusted the text, click the Preview button to continue the edit process. When you are satisfied, click the Complete Edit button. Each edit sends an email to badge's recipient. Please try to avoid multiple edits in a short period of time. If a physical order for this badge already exists, it may not reflect the changes of this edit, depending on where it is in our process.
Can I give Merit Badges to Groups?
No, groups are items and items must be rewarded with "AwardIcons" .
Can I give myself a Merit Badge?
No, Merit Badges may only be given to other members.
How can I tell which Merit Badges I've received did not count for Community Recognition?
In your own userlink, click your Community Recognition number next to your handle. In that pop-up window, click the link for List Non-Qualified Badges to see which ones missed out on being qualified and by how much time. While there's no way to change them from the past, it does alleviate the mystery.
Can I request a new Merit Badge design?
Yes, you may commission (guarantee) new badges using "Commission a Merit Badge" .
Alternatively, you can make a request for a new badge design by posting in "Costumicon/Merit Badge Requests" .
Physical Merit Badges
Will my mailing address be made public to other members when they send me a physical merit badge?
No, your mailing address will always be kept private and only used by the system to generate a mailing address when your physical badge is assembled and shipped. Only Writing.Com Staff will see this information.
Can you ship a physical merit badge for a virtual one I've already given to someone?
Yes! Visit your "Given" badge area and click on the one you want to order for the member. From that window, click the Order button at the bottom and we'll take care of the rest!
Can I order physical Merit Badges for ones I've already received?
Yes! If you would like to order a physical Merit Badge for one that you've received, visit your Merit Badge area and click on the badge. From the window, click the Order Physical Badge button at the bottom.
How can I display my physical merit badges and awardicons?
In our shop, you'll find the perfect binder that will house your keepsake cards, merit badges and awardicons. The cover and spine allows for you to personalize with your username, volume number or dates.
Is there a bulk order option for badges and awardicons that I've already received?
If you are interested in ordering all of your previously-received badges and awardicons in bulk instead of individually (minimum 50), email The StoryMistress to discuss the options and price. Since we would be assembling them all at the same time and shipping them to you as a package, we would offer them at a discount, dependent on how many you've received. Each merit badge and awardicon will be assembled and packaged in chronological order in black or white binders then shipped directly to you. We take care of the work and you can continue your collection with new ones!
Click to view examples of ~ Sisco ~ 's collection.
Can we gift a member his/her bulk order of badges and awardicons?
Absolutely! If you are interested in gifting another member his/her entire physical merit badge and awardicon collection, email The StoryMistress to find out the specifics. This is a great gift for one friend to another or for a group to come together to honor another member or even as a prize in a contest!
How long will it take for the physical Merit Badge to arrive?
Allow up to two weeks for assembly and delivery. USPS first class mail is generally 2-3 days for US domestic mail. International delivery varies based on location.
Is there a different fee for US and international mailings?
At this time, all orders are the same price, regardless of delivery location.
Does a physical Merit Badge affect community recognition?
No, a physical Merit Badge does not count toward community recognition at all.
Can I send a physical Merit Badge without sending a virtual one?
No, the physical is an extension of the virtual.
What happens if the member doesn't have his or her mailing address in the account?
When you order a physical Merit Badge for a member, the system will automatically email him or her to request a physical mailing address. Members have up to two weeks to supply their accounts with a current mailing address. After this time, if no address has been input, the system will refund your Gift Points and no physical Merit Badge will be mailed.
I received an email that someone gifted me a physical Merit Badge, but it hasn't been delivered by USPS yet. Now what?
To keep costs affordable for everyone, we mail physical Merit Badges by USPS First Class Mail. Since this method is inexpensive, it does not include tracking or delivery confirmation. Once your Merit Badge order leaves our hands, it is in the hands of the postal system. If you would like to reorder your Merit Badge, choose the badge from within your Merit Badge page and click the Reorder Physical Badge button at the bottom.
I received a request for my address and I don't want to give it. How do I opt out of these?
On your personal information page, under Shipping Preference choose the "No" option and members will not be able to send you a physical gift.
Writing.Com Achievement Merit Badges
The Writing.Com Achievement Merit Badges were announced 1 September 2018. As you achieve various goals around Writing.Com, you will automatically earn these special badges. How many anniversaries have you celebrated with us? How many reviews have you given? Do you post in our message forums? Then you may have a Writing.Com Achievement Merit Badge waiting for you to claim it.
When you claim an Achievement Merit Badge, you will receive the normal email notification of the new badge for each claimed Achievement. Each Achievement Merit Badge you earn counts for 1 Community Recognition point. Note that the Community Recognition utility runs once an hour. Your CR total will be updated to reflect newly claimed Achievement Merit Badges at that time.
The Achievement Merit Badges are differentiated from the regular Merit Badges by their striped outer-rim stitching. Regular Merit Badges have solid outer-rim stitching.
These Merit Badges from the site are not awarded automatically. They can be claimed by periodically visiting your Achievement Badge page, which is linked in the left navigation menu as My Account/Achievements. An alternate access route to the page is My Account/My Merit Badges, and click on the Achievements button at the top of that page.
The Achievements page displays the Achievement Merit Badges you have earned, shows your current activity totals, and shows how much activity is required to earn the remaining badges.
Achievement Merit Badges are displayed in the Merit Badge Checklist and are noted with (Achievement) after the badge name. The Achievement Merit Badges you have earned are displayed in chronological order on your Merit Badge page along with your regular Merit Badges, and show ACHIEVEMENT: before the badge name. Achievement Merit Badges are not shown in the Merit Badge Shop because they cannot be gifted to other members.
When you claim an Achievement Merit Badge, you will receive only the virtual Merit Badge. You can opt to purchase a physical version of the Achievement Merit Badge: click on the badge to display its light box, and use the link at the bottom to order the physical version at the usual cost.
Although Achievement Merit Badges are not awarded automatically, they are dated when they were earned. Note: Due to the retroactive nature of dating badges earned before 1 September 2018 and the criteria they are based on, some discrepancies may occur in the dates for these badges. These discrepancies cannot be corrected.