I would like to propose a badge to recognize users that ask good questions that are hard to answer. My proposed criteria for the badge(s) would be along the lines of:

Bronze: [no bronze along these lines]

Silver: [stumping] or [bewildering] ask a question that receives a score of 10 before getting an answer and is unanswered for at least 3 days.

Gold: [perplexer] ask a question that receives a score of 25 before getting an answer and is unanswered for at least 7 days.

Of course some sites will award this more than other but, okay. I further would like to stipulate that deleted answers should not count as spammers could kill an opportunity to gain this badge with the old "jhgdashjgadsjhavgbdjh" post.

I don't want to wander too far but a very related bronze badge could be:

Bronze: [bounty proof] Have a question remain unanswered after a bounty has expired.


  • What about announcements, feature requests, and bug reports? These usually have fewer answers, but they’re not really “perplexing”. Commented Apr 14, 2019 at 23:29
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    @SebastianSimon: For announcements, I'd welcome anything that encourages answers over comments. (And what better motivation than denying an employee a badge? ;-) Generally speaking, it's probably fine to ignore meta when it comes to badges. The incentives on meta are never quite the same as on the main site. I do like the idea of this badge, which is certainly better than poor, old Tumbleweed. Commented Apr 14, 2019 at 23:46
  • @SebastianSimon Just to clarify this is not intended for mother meta per se but all SE sites, thus posted here. Example question: chemistry.stackexchange.com/q/103514/23561 this one has a score of 21 with no answer. Thus the badge Bewildering would be awarded.
    – A.K.
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 0:38
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    I suppose a complimentary badge for the eventual answerer may be of value too.
    – A.K.
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 1:25
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    You probably want a time component. A provocative, controversial, or entertaining question could get 10 votes in a matter of minutes. A question that gets its first answer after 10 minutes doesn't sound all that bewildering to me. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 1:57
  • As above, you need to modify the requirements to address the vote-bomb problem. "Ask a question that receives [X] votes and is unanswered for [Y] days" with (X,Y) being (10,3) for Silver and (25,7) for Gold.
    – Nij
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 2:35
  • time component and bronze badge added.
    – A.K.
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 2:52
  • You should propose a new feature request for a consolation badge for users who don't receive any new answers as a result of a bounty; I'd be in favor of it. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 2:57
  • @SonictheWizardWerehog the problem there is that some bounties simply wish to highlight a current answer, not solicate a new one.
    – A.K.
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 2:58
  • @A.K. If the bounty is manually awarded, it wouldn't count toward the badge; that'll take care of that case. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 2:59
  • Very easy to tweak on SFF and probably Movies, not sure about other sites...
    – Jenayah
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 5:20

4 Answers 4


Silver: [stumping] or [bewildering] ask a question that receives a score of 10 before getting an answer and is unanswered for at least 3 days.

This badge will be thwarted every time a user or even newcomer with 1 rep comes along and posts an answer. The answer may purposely fail to address the main issue, lack any explanation or support but it will still be, technically, an answer, which the community or the mods may decide needn't be deleted. There are thousands of unvoted answers across the network that don't cross the 0+ score, and they are not deleted. So I would suggest tweaking the criteria further

Silver: [stumping] or [bewildering] ask a question that receives a score of 10 without any answer being upvoted for at least 2 days.

The gold badge can then be awarded for a question that receives at least a score of 25 with no answer being upvoted for a day longer.

Gold: [perplexer] ask a question that receives a score of 25 without any answer earning a positive score for at least 3 days.

  • As the question says, deleted answers would be excluded from the check. Also, the badge scripts check current status (e.g. even if your answer is upvoted more than 12 hours later for the Explainer badge series, it still counts), so even if the answer gets deleted later, the author would qualify for the badge. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 12:07
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    @SonictheWizardWerehog an answer doesn't necessarily have to be deleted. Not every unvoted answer is deleted, not every low quality answer posted is garbage. The criteria has to be more specific otherwise the badge is open to abuse. Imagine a user with a grudge, very common around here, they could easily post answers that would nullify the silver or gold badge. If that answer is upvoted by the community then the problem posed was not worthy of a "perplexer" badge. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 12:12

Stack Exchange sites are designed to accumulate high quality questions and answers.

Consequently, I think these badges will encourage a behavior that seeks to replace some of that.

Sure some questions will be harder to answer than others, but to encourage badge hunters to phrase a question that attracts votes, but not timely answers, goes against what I think is the key strength of Stack Exchange sites.

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    How do you purposely phrase a question that would attract votes, while preventing timely answers? And what is your opinion about the tumbleweed badge, then? This one is even worse by this logic: it encourages "meh" questions, that nobody care about, and that aren't answerable.
    – dim
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 11:41
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    @dim it will depend on the site but a question that sounds interesting but has no clear answer is one that viewers might like to know the answer to but is also one they may be reluctant to take a stab at. I prefer to let badges happen rather than hunt them so to me Tumbleweed is just another badge that I may or may not get.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 12:51
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    I think questions that "attract votes, but not timely answers" are rare and I would skeptical that any one could consistently do it purposefully.
    – A.K.
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 18:35
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    SE site communities are diverse, and the number of question-readers can be a factor of 100 or 1000 larger (or more) than the most active answerers. I may have found more than one "sleeper" who may have answered few or zero questions until mine, then really shone brightly with a well received and surprising answer. I agree with @A.K. that writing "vote-getting but un-quickly-answerable" questions would be difficult to do intentionally, but occasional tough question-writing, resistant to the same-old top-ten answer-writers and bring out some sleepers might be a badge-worthy activity.
    – uhoh
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 3:06
  • SE communities are incredibly valuable yet intangible assets. It could be good to selectively exercise their less-used aspects from time to time.
    – uhoh
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 3:09
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    @uhoh It's a cute idea, and it might work on some of the sites. I like the "either way you win" aspect: either you get a good answer to your entertaining question, or you get a badge. OTOH, I have to agree with PolyGeo. The vast majority of people come to Stack Exchange sites for the answers. The questions are merely a way to organise and motivate those answers. The only people who come here to read the questions specifically are we poor benighted fools who feel impelled to answer them. ;)
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 6:31
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    @PM2Ring There is plenty of diversity of purpose in SE, people come for all sorts of reasons and choose what and how to read in very different ways. I don't know why so many people are compelled to decree that SE is one thing with one purpose and one goal. It isn't.
    – uhoh
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 14:29
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    @PM2Ring if we can award badges for a questions view count, I think we can add badges for a questions perplexity.
    – A.K.
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 17:42

Many hard questions are also hard to understand because they require a very deep knowledge in some field so often very few people vote on them because they simply don't understand them. This means that only vote-count wouldn't be a good criteria to qualify a question as hard or perplexing one.

However, an alternative approach might work much better but would also require a much more complex formula that could go along these lines: you'll get the perplexing-badge when your question is answerd by a user with many highly upvoted answers and having some other badges in many fields OR it was answered by a relatively new user whose answer was highly upvoted. Other criteria could be view-count, the fewer people read it, the more complex it must be... right? Mhmm.

So, basically it would mean to determine the level of complexity and rarity of a question... but how do we do that? I think there are too many factors that contribute to that and vote-count and/or answer delay alone would be way to unprecise.


Despite being a little perplexed about what this would achieve, I like the general idea so here's some more tweaks..

If this is to recognise the questioner for stretching the knowledge of answerers, a clear rubrik may be visits from people with high rep on the given tags. Though I don't hear much about that kind of signalling so pencil that.

If this is to bring attention to questions that are considered worthwhile, but few people can approach clearly, then ratio of views to time or upvotes, will read actual interest rather than underdeveloped posts just gathering views like cobwebs.

A bounty timing out is the absolute cake on a question that's already got a badge for this, could be a major signal for a gold badge especially if we can be sure that specialists have seen it and had time to research replies.

This all depends, as many are saying, on not being awarded to low quality answers. and the question having a high rating.

A few name agreements and suggestions:

Bronze ~ ⏺ Baffler ⏺ Stumper

Silver ~ ⏺ Perplexing

Gold ~ ⏺ Bounty Proof ⏺ Inconceivable

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