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

  • 3
    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
  • 2
  • Link to this question should be added to the definition of the badge – Michael Freidgeim Sep 24 '17 at 20:47
  • @MichaelFreidgeim not really since it's not official at all. – Shadow Wizard Apr 17 at 12:03
  • @ShadowWizard , do we have official explanation? Unofficial is better than nothing. – Michael Freidgeim Apr 17 at 14:28
  • @MichaelFreidgeim sure it's better than nothing, the high score speaks for itself, but linking to it from official page just seems wrong. Since this is open ended discussion, even most SE staff can't really give "real" answer these days, only those who actually created the badge. (e.g. Jeff, but I doubt he'll bother to give answer here.) – Shadow Wizard Apr 17 at 14:37
  • @ShadowWizard, Jeff Attwood already commented as to the purpose. I accepted the answer based on his comments. – Yishai Apr 17 at 16:15
  • Related tweet (very important these days): https://twitter.com/robconery/status/974678531832610816 (by Rob Conery) - see the 10th response to the tweet. (Related meta post: Why does this account page return a 404 error?) – Peter Mortensen Nov 12 at 15:30
up vote 131 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.

  • 85
    Tumbleweed badge = "Here, have a cookie." =) – gnostradamus Jul 1 '09 at 19:14
  • 11
    @gnovice: I vote for a name change to the badge :) – Jeff Yates Jul 1 '09 at 19:17
  • 24
    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
  • 1
    @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) – jgatcher Oct 13 '12 at 9:42
  • 2
    I feel like this badge encourages bad questions. – Nathan Lilienthal Feb 21 '14 at 21:57
  • 3
    @NathanLilienthal Writing bad questions is quite risky. Your chances of getting a tumbleweed badge are low, and your chances of loosing reputation are high. As someone said (meta.stackexchange.com/a/1653/344567) the tumbleweed badge is more likely to be attributed for a well-formulated but difficult question. – bli Dec 2 '16 at 16:38
  • I have been reviewing my last question after I got the badge and wondering what I did wrong. I have done enough research before posting that question. Usually, if the question was not well formed, someone will indicate that. I didn't get any responses so far for two weeks. @bli, what you said makes sense. – Raj006 2 days ago

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.

  • 2
    This doesn't exactly show you the questions that for which Tumbleweed were awarded, but it's close: stackoverflow.com/search?q=answers:0&page=50&tab=newest – Anton Geraschenko Aug 23 '09 at 2:18
  • 21
    This is possible now. – Gelatin Aug 31 '10 at 14:53
  • 10
    The list of recently awarded Tumbleweed badges is available at stackoverflow.com/badges/63/tumbleweed. 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
  • 1
    @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 '16 at 12:19
  • I always browse the tumbleweed questions, its so easy to give em answers without trying to compete with other users! – Unitato May 31 '17 at 16:51

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?

  • 6
    Good idea, I'd vote for it. – Danubian Sailor Feb 7 '11 at 7:57
  • 1
    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
  • 2
    I support this idea. I just earned a tumbleweed badge for this: stackoverflow.com/questions/9205721/… But I cannot vote yet... – gus Apr 16 '12 at 8:23
  • That would be an encouragement to encourage people answering hard questions. – Bebs Nov 18 '16 at 9:46
  • This is a very good idea. The tumbleweed cleaner should be a gold badge, since it's quite hard to answer a question which everyone ignored. Plus, it would give such askers an answer. – Unitato May 31 '17 at 16:52
  • 2
    @Unitato in a way this is covered by the revival badge (Answer more than 30 days after a question was asked as first answer scoring 2 or more), there is also the necromancer badge (Answer a question more than 60 days later with score of 5 or more). Both badges can be earned multiple times. – Flint Sep 29 '17 at 15:19

I think the reason is, that 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 system's way of saying:

Sorry, I couldn't get you an answer. Please forgive me :(

"An 'A' for the effort" :)

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.

I think it rewards questions that were maybe done in specific technologies. For instance, I have done many questions about Apache Zeppelin which is not very popular at the moment, but maybe my questions will contribute in the future and they are building new knowledge. I'm glad I got the badge :o)

Maybe its a way of indicating that people don't care or perhaps want you to look for answer somewhere else in the internet (as I found mine).

  • 1
    This doesn't seem very coherent. Can you try to fix up the syntax and punctuation a bit? I got lost at "or look for answer...". That seems like a stub of a sentence. – Chair Jul 30 at 9:33
  • 1
    @Chair I try my best at editing.I use grammarly for that.I have a language based learning disablity. – Shunya Jul 30 at 10:31
  • That's alright. Are you trying to say that if (for example) I receive the tumbleweed badge, Stack Exchange is indicating that I should search somewhere else on the internet for my answer? Because while that's a perfectly legitimate opinion, I find it somewhat unlikely. – Chair Jul 30 at 10:47
  • @Chair What I meant was (for example) topics like OpenCV have their own forums where the probability of your question being answered would be more,as someone there might have encountered a similar issue.Of course,the same set of users could be here answering. – Shunya Jul 30 at 10:57

You must log in to answer this question.

protected by Shadow Wizard Jul 30 at 9:09

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .