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What is the purpose of the tumbleweed badge? Why is asking questions no one answers or looks at a desirable accomplishment?

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was this badge recently added? i don't remember it being there before. i guess i have to go ask a super-narrow question at an off hour and hope it gets buried so i can get this badge.. :) – Kip Jul 7 '09 at 16:27
the tumbleweed badge is also a measure of community attention to questions on average. if a question gets no activity whatsoever, its a se outlier, and some measure of site efficacy from the questioners pov can be made wrt total # of tumbleweed badges, their connection to certain tags, etc... it signifies content that is on topic but not addressed or thought significant by the audience, "flying under the radar". (somewhat like questions with no answers.) – vzn Feb 12 '15 at 19:59
up vote 88 down vote accepted

I see it more as a consolation prize. No one looked at your question or answered it, so here's something to hold you over until you get an answer.

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Tumbleweed badge = "Here, have a cookie." =) – gnostradamus Jul 1 '09 at 19:14
@gnovice: I vote for a name change to the badge :) – Jeff Yates Jul 1 '09 at 19:17
this is exactly the intent. And it's sort of fun, also useful because it gives us a data point about how many questions are utter failures in the system (not due to the user's fault, necessarily, either) – Jeff Atwood Jul 2 '09 at 2:31
Well, if Jeff Atwood says that's the reason, who am I to argue. Although I did like cletus answer better (in that if the badge were geared towards that as well, it would be more useful - it would give Jeff what he wants plus retroactively give the question some potential love). – Yishai Jul 2 '09 at 17:10
@JeffYates I agree about name change, I'm used to hearing names like that given to people who do something foolish like a beginner. – Michael Mar 7 '12 at 3:22
just "earned" a tumbleweed badge..I guess this is the most likely reason it exits but i think @cletus answer would be more helpful..also the name does seem to suggest,ever so subtly that the question is faulty in someway(;-) sounds like a rant eh lol) – Joseph Amegatcher Oct 13 '12 at 9:42
I feel like this badge encourages bad questions. – Nathan Lilienthal Feb 21 '14 at 21:57

I think the purpose of the Tumbleweed badge is (or should be) to bring attention to a neglected and probably esoteric question. Unfortunately it fails in that regard because we only see what users are awarded badges and not for which questions.

So basically this badge would have a whole lot more value if you could browse the questions awarded Tumbleweed.

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This doesn't exactly show you the questions that for which Tumbleweed were awarded, but it's close: – Anton Geraschenko Aug 23 '09 at 2:18
This is possible now. – Gelatin Aug 31 '10 at 14:53
The list of recently awarded Tumbleweed badges is available at Unfortunately, it does not show whether the question has already received an answer/vote/comment. – Rob W Jan 17 '12 at 11:13
@RobW, But it shows the question. Isn't that the whole point of it? – Pacerier Apr 30 '15 at 8:13
@Gelatin, It's such an esoteric page that hardly anyone visits it. – Pacerier Apr 30 '15 at 8:13
@Pacerier: Only for the first such question a user asks; subsequent questions don't qualify in any case. – Nathan Tuggy Aug 22 '15 at 6:50
guess that we should add a page which encourages users look over those esoteric questions. – Johnson Steward Mar 5 at 12:19

It seems like the one badge where you could be rewarded for being intentionally mediocre. I could write a well phrased question about a topic that nobody cares about, so nobody answers or even reads it. It would be a valid question, so it won't get closed and would it just sits there until I get a badge.

Maybe there should be a tumbleweed cleaner badge for someone that answers one of these questions, or a tumbleweed question of the day based on moderator selection?

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Good idea, I'd vote for it. – Danubian Sailor Feb 7 '11 at 7:57
I'd use the Gary Larson Far Side "Tumblenerd" for this. If it weren't copyrighted, that is. – T.Rob Feb 8 '11 at 2:11
I support this idea. I just earned a tumbleweed badge for this:… But I cannot vote yet... – gus Apr 16 '12 at 8:23

I think the reason is if a question has no answers for a week, it must be pretty hard question! If it was just a crappy question/spam/etc, chances are it would be closed within a week.

That, or it's the the engines way of saying "Sorry, I couldn't get you an answer. Please forgive me :("

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Perfect answer.. Thank You. – Rockcollins May 30 '12 at 9:09

to get a song stuck in your head....

alt text

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A better quality version: – Watki02 Feb 8 '13 at 19:01

I think that it encourages people to not leave the site and ask other questions in the future although they don't get answers for all of their questions.

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"An 'A' for the effort" :)

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