Having been a part of multiple private betas, I vouch for the importance of the message this post is conveying.
For instance, it took almost three weeks of extensive chatting and meta discussions for properly framing and narrowing down the scope of HardwareRecs, which wouldn't have been possible if the community isn't active on chat and meta.
Absolutely agree #1 is fine, in my opinion. (I approved all of your tag edits that I came across in the review queue.)
I think on certain levels Stack Exchange's reputation system is always going to have the potential to be gamed, with little recourse to preventing it from happening unless it's, a) obvious enough to annoy people to the extent that they ...
Looks good and seems to be the purpose of the badge incentive. Thanks for your additions!
I don't know what the rules around badge farming are. The chat you created looks OK. Only thing I might point out is that IIRC @5chdn (a previous moderator) created this Whisper chat a while ago:
(I don't see anything ...