Barnstars are a time-honored way for users on wikis to thank and acknowledge one another for their work.
How do barnstars work? In the words of MeatballWiki, where the tradition started: "Occasionally, a person stands out above the rest and does something none of us would have thought of doing or were too lazy to do. They give a large gift to the community that shines against the background of our daily smaller gifts." So, when you see that another user has done something worth celebrating: "To give an award, you just have to decide someone deserves one, and then give it to them. Don't hesitate, just give one in the typical wiki fashion".
Barnstars are given informally from one user to another. They can be given for work that improves the whole wiki, for particularly noteworthy AH writing, or even for exemplary collaboration or discussion. They are meant to be "intermediate" awards: minor compared to Featured status or the Stirling Awards, yet perhaps a bit more prestigious than the automatically-generated Badges.
The first round of barnstars are history-themed and are general-purpose - they are given out for any job well done. Future ones may have different themes and may be created for specific kinds of thank-you's.
How to place a barnstar
Generally, barnstars go on user talkpages. You can either leave the barnstar image as a thumbnail or use a template, as shown below. Write a message explaining why you are giving the award. Barnstar recipients may display them on their own user pages if they wish.
|This is how the template displays. ~~~~|
|Image||Description||What to type|
|The Plain Barnstar, simple and unadorned.|| [[File:Star.png|thumb|MESSAGE -~~~]]|
|The Vexillum Astri Stabilis, embroidered with the initials of the Latin phrase for "Senate and People of Alternate History."|| [[File:StarRome.png|thumb|MESSAGE -~~~]]|
|The Most Ancient and Chivalrous Order of the Barnstar, combining the star with the flints and steels of the Houses of Valois, Habsburg, and Bourbon.|| [[File:StarChivalry.png|thumb|MESSAGE -~~~]]|
|The Emblem of the People's Barnstar Republic, representing revolution, prosperity, and unity among the social classes.|| [[File:Star-China-Emblem.png|thumb|MESSAGE -~~~]]|
|The Nuclear Barnstar Shelter Sign, in the style of signs from the Cold War United States.|| [[File:StarFallout.png|thumb|MESSAGE -~~~]]|