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The description for the generalist badge says:

Provided non-wiki answers of 15 total score in 20 of top 40 tags

How do we know what the top 40 tags are? There is a display of 25 tags on the page, but I am unsure if they are taken from the top 40. Also, I am going to assume that the score (saying total) can be gathered through several questions (i.e. if I answer a question 15 times and only get 1 point each time, that would still count).

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Take a look at this blog post for the details. The tags are the 40 most popular, but this badge is only awarded once every one of those 40 tags has at least 200 questions in it.

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    Thank you Fabian! That was the missing bit of information! Jun 12 '11 at 16:35
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You can view all the tags by occurrence here. Count to 40 and you're there. And, yes, as far as I know the score does not have to be earned on a single answer. It can be accumulated over time.

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