Pascal said, "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me."
"The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of."--Pascal
Microbadges provide a way for Geeks to express their personalities. They add a dash of colour, and help to make this two-dimensional experience into something more like 3-D, even if it never reaches that plane.
I was against them at first because they seem like noisome clutter. They still add clutter, but they also add colour.
From a marketing perspective, for-profits like badges so that people self-identify and tag their accounts with demographic information that can be used to determine what ads show up on your web pages. If you don't buy them, you get them free so that you're providing more information about yourself.
Yet despite having no inclinations of having eurogame interests, I get ads for many games I would never care to play. So I suspect that they're not being used to a great extent by the owners.
Does anybody know why micro badges look so fuzzy or unclear? To me they look out of focus, especially faces....
I would think the 'A' in Oakland Athletics for example could be done cleaner looking, because I can do small fonts in a text editor and it look clear, but faces probably would be harder.
16x16 pixels doesn't give much space to work with.
You get some badges (particularly older ones, like Pete's ) that adhere strictly to hard color assignments and straight lines of the sort that can be banged out in Paint, but more complex designs (like ) use Gaussian blur (or similar) techniques to represent detailed designs in a small space.
So, could you do "A's" more clearly in that space? Sure. Could you do it more clearly in that space while preserving the particular typography? That's tough. All that said, faces are really hard to reproduce and I tend to find those badges unsatisfactory as well.