This is tricky.
You are absolutely right that it plays on the psychological urge to get things done, to tick another box and move up a level. I sorta love it ... but sort of hate it.
In the context of dev.to I have a sneaky suspicion that it may encourage sup par posts that get lost because they are 'only ok' and get written because of oh-no-I-need-to-get-a-post-up-so-I-get-the-badge. But at the same time, it's the motivation to keep writing from New Year to now that helps people stay on that platform.
Yes, about that quality... I was fighting my sardonic tendencies with this post. I was very tempted to leave it as a single line post. Alas, my inner "but but but" voice, won, I attempted to provide something of value.
We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.
We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.