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Someone else asked about the purpose of the tumbleweed badge before, 2 but I think this badge should possible be "burninated".

Yes, burninated. Burninate the tumbleweed badge!

Although others have said "it's a consolation prize", really it seems it's actually awarded to questions that border on "too localized" -- some really specific task to some particular API, browsing some the awardees there.

Even if it is genuinely a good question, being the recipient of tumbleweed seems to say "hey, good question, sorry nobody here's interested." Which I don't think is a good sentiment. For me

It's the only badge with a negative connotation, really, the only badge which you probably don't want. And people don't seem to want negative connotation badges! (last few (negative) answers have negative suggestions

(It would be delicious irony if I got tumbleweed for this.)

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I really don't see how this badge follows the pattern for encouraging good behavior from users. How is a question that gets no votes, answers, or comments for an entire week helpful to the community? It seems like this badge awards the behavior opposite to what we want from a question. –  animuson Apr 30 '12 at 4:52
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"Which I don't think is a good sentiment" - It seems better than the site leaving the OP with the impression it's not a concern that their question received such little attention by not doing anything at all. Granted, I doubt there's a huge benefit to having the badge, but I also don't think it's actively promoting any sort of bad behaviour...so I don't see what the point in removing it would be. What would that actually change? –  Tim Stone Apr 30 '12 at 4:53
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possible duplicate of Is the Tumbleweed badge good or bad?, What is the purpose of the tumbleweed badge?, and a number of others. This discussion is not a new one. –  Cody Gray Apr 30 '12 at 10:51
    
@TheEstablishment It's not a dupe. I am calling for a mass burnination here. –  bobobobo Apr 30 '12 at 17:30
    
How does that make it different? This is tagged "discussion" anyway. –  Cody Gray Apr 30 '12 at 19:04
    
possible duplicate of What is the purpose of the tumbleweed badge? –  Kevin Vermeer Apr 30 '12 at 19:17

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I completely agree. The only statement ever made that really comes close to justifying this badges is this:

It encourages you to ask questions even if you think they are a little out of the mainstream. In this regard it is a positive thing, though not something I would be too excited about.

However, it goes both ways. It also encourages users who make poorly worded and unresearched questions which yes, can sometimes borderline the "too localized" threshold, to continue making those questions. Looking through the list of questions which receive the badge, the majority that get it have horrible titles that don't attract the attention they need.

Sure, a new review section could fix the issue. After all, these questions do need better titles. However, if the titles get improved to the point where they will attract visitors and the review panel works as expected, then the badge will only ever be awarded by those questions which are unfixable.

We should also note that a lot of those questions which receive this badge and are from 1-rep users are also first questions, and already appear in the review panel. So obviously reviewing them doesn't always help the question in the first place, especially if no action is taken where action is needed.

This badge is just as much hurtful to the community as it is helpful. Badges are not meant to be a "reward" from the system because the community didn't notice your question; they're meant to reward positive behavior. It doesn't follow the standards of badges to help encourage positive behavior, as it can encourage both good and bad.

It should not be the community's responsibility to fix someone else's question, and we shouldn't reward them in any way for the inaction of the community to fix their question.

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The unfixable questions wouldn't get the badge, they would get downvotes and / or close votes, with at least as much likelihood as good questions getting retagged / title edited, since it's less work to vote than to edit. –  agf Apr 30 '12 at 7:25
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@agf: You keep saying that the ones that don't deserve it will get votes, etc, but the review system currently in place has already proven that is not the case for many first questions. –  animuson Apr 30 '12 at 16:45

I disagree. The award of tumbleweed can represent a question which is just too narrow and specialised for a quick answer or much interest.

Eg. this one for which I received a tumbleweed badge.

I don't think it is a bad question, it is just about a specific, but unusual, combination of technologies, and it did eventually get an answer that completely solves the problem. In no way is it "too localised" (it isn't about a problem specific to one application/business/person).

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"and it did eventually get an answer" - Says who? That's not a condition for the badge. I'm sure there are tons and tons of questions which get Tumbleweed and continue to go unviewed and unanswered. –  animuson Apr 30 '12 at 16:44
    
@animuson I am referring to the quality of a question is not related to the speed to receiving an answer. –  Richard Apr 30 '12 at 17:01
    
But the problem is that even though this does occur, there are a lot of other not-as-great things that occur with this badge as well. You're only focusing on part of the issue. Take this question (10k only); it was the 16th question to receive the badge, and ended up being auto-deleted after still getting no answers for a year. This problem has existed since the badge was created. –  animuson Apr 30 '12 at 17:04
    
@animuson I don't think I am focusing on only part. I just don't think that they are significant – to me it does not say "sorry nobody here's interested." in a negative way, but acknowledges that a question can be both not too localised and not widely applicable. –  Richard Apr 30 '12 at 17:07

Too localized doesn't mean too arcane or too obscure -- it really means the question and any answers will cease to be useful very quickly, or will never be useful to anyone but the asker.

Any question that is too localized should (theoretically) get closed or downvoted, which should disqualify it from Tumbleweed. So, again theoretically, only those obscure / arcane questions should be rewarded with it.

If bad questions are getting it, that's a problem with the community moderation system (low view questions not getting close / downvoted), not a problem with the badge.

One way to solve that problem would be to devise a system to encourage close votes / downvotes on low view questions (older than 2 days, perhaps). I would suggest a new "review" tab as the mechanism.

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Please explain, how is a post supposed to be closed before getting Tumbleweed, if it gets such a low view count to be awarded Tumbleweed in the first place? You can't vote to close if you don't view the post. What is this "problem with the community moderation system" you speak of? I also tend to think you aren't addressing the actual question/proposal. –  Wesley Murch Apr 30 '12 at 4:58
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@WesleyMurch I'm saying that he's misidentified the problem, that the problem is bad questions with low views not getting closed. The solution to that isn't to stop giving a consolation prize to show we value questions even if they don't get answers, but to devise a system to encourage close votes / downvotes on low view questions (older than 2 days, perhaps). I would suggest a new "review" tab is the solution. Added a bit of this to my answer. –  agf Apr 30 '12 at 5:04
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My point is that having low views in itself is something that will cause posts to not get close-vote velocity. You can't VTC on what you don't see. The only remedy I can think of to that is more exposure. You can review the posts here, but who actively checks up on posts that recently got "Tumbleweed"? I know I don't, maybe I should. –  Wesley Murch Apr 30 '12 at 5:22
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@WesleyMurch The idea would be for them to get reviewed before they would be awarded a badge, to prevent the bad questions from getting it. People who want to look for bad posts use the "review" tool, so that's what should be improved to encourage this. –  agf Apr 30 '12 at 5:25
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I see what you mean. In that case I'd just say drop the badge completely then and create a new "Tumbleweed" tab/link for reviewing them. If a post gets more exposure through a "review" page, chances are it will not get Tumbleweed at all, defeating the point of the badge in the first place. This applies to both good and bad questions. –  Wesley Murch Apr 30 '12 at 5:26
    
@WesleyMurch I doubt a post getting loaded into "review" counts as a view; if it does, that could be changed. –  agf Apr 30 '12 at 5:29
    
I mean that being in a "review" tab will generally give it more exposure and views, for better or worse, very much lessening the chances of getting the badge in the first place. –  Wesley Murch Apr 30 '12 at 5:31
    
So the threshold could be changed. Again, that's not a problem with the badge itself, and this is a thread about removing the badge. I think review is the right place for this; lots of these posts would benefit greatly from a title and / or tag edit, as those changes alone can get a question a lot more attention. –  agf Apr 30 '12 at 5:31
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I think you may be too tied to the idea that all Tumbleweeds need close votes and downvotes. Some of them (surely must) deserve answers and even upvotes. So it sounds like you're saying we should do more to prevent posts from getting this crappy badge? If so, then that sounds like a great idea to me and I apologize if I sounded like I disagreed with that, but then again - not the point of the proposal is it? –  Wesley Murch Apr 30 '12 at 5:33
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@WesleyMurch The ones that deserve answers and upvotes are the ones the badge is there to serve in the first place (which is what my answer talks about) -- it's to provide a reward where our other reward systems fail. The question here says in part "bad questions get this badge so we should get rid of it" and my point is that he's conflating a moderation failure with a problem with the badge; we should keep it so the good questions that get it still get rewarded. –  agf Apr 30 '12 at 5:34
    
This still doesn't make too much sense to me. If a question gets an up or down vote, comment, or higher view count (potentially via a review tab), it's ineligible for Tumbleweed, thus posts that get activity and exposure (negative or positive) will never be awarded the badge in the first place. You say "we should keep it so the good questions that get it still get rewarded", but when there's very few views and zero comments or votes, how then do you tell if the post is "good" or "bad"? –  Wesley Murch Apr 30 '12 at 5:48

I don't think that if a question does not get attention that means it's low quality. That's what we have even have bounties for: "This question has not received enough attention." I think the tumbleweed badge encourages answering questions on non-popular topics.

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