You are an incredibly human and humane person - as all of your posts show. I am always filled with humility when I meet people like you, because it makes me realize how much empathy I lack.
I totally understand why you would think that getting a "badge" for doing good in the world is degrading. It lowers one's soul to have people believe that you would do the right thing for a medal or a reward. We do it because it is the right thing, and because we feel for our fellow humans. It is degrading in that sense.
Confession: I have made my living for many years creating social media platforms. As we all know (cf the abonimable lynch mob behaviors on twitter, reddit et al) social media can encourage the worst in people's behaviors. Mobs are an ugly thing, and socia media enables them. The tools that good social media platforms use are made to create expectations in new users and encourage the right type behavior. They are useful, even necessary imho, to 99% of social media platform applications. Twitter has hardly any - and its users are some of the ugliest on the web.
Because it is very difficult to develop a social platform from scratch, I am sure that tudiabetes does not have either the money or the knowhow to do a good job at it. In fact, I think the present platform is not the best for its specific use. But when you need to piggyback on common technology you are often limited. And, in my expert opinion, I feel that even in our community there could be the chance of developing bad social behavior unless you "train" new users with the right tools.
As a comparison, childrenwithdiabetes.org uses a different, more common platform (I am pretty sure it is a slightly customized vBulletin or a derivative), which, imho, does much worse for their own purposes. One of the practices they have is that they feel the need to moderate the first n posts of a new user, to make sure the new user won't behave inappropriately. There is NOTHING that inhibits posting more than not seeing your post show up when you have written it. So I am sure they lose a lot of members because of that. In this way at least, the present platform is better, probably because of these social media tools, of which badges are one.
It does not make badges any less degrading to the person who contributes because of trying to help a fellow human. But possibly it makes them more tolerable?
EDIT: as an example, I am preparing a post that compiles statistics on all the languages people speak here, based on the related thread. On most social platforms, this would create hate speech, because a highly quoted language will be Hebrew. But, in a well-behaved community (which, for me, typically translates - a community with good social media tools) it won't. I expect it won't here.
I, for one, wish that I would see your posts more often! Your friend Michel