I was vainly looking at the list of badges to see if there were any I could cherry pick in a moment of boredom (mostly beause my psychology absolutely depends on looking like I'm somehow important on WB:SE) when I noticed the Tumbleweed badge. That badge has never been awarded, and little wonder.

  • The question title would need to put people off, but not so much so that people wouldn't click on it just to see what idiotic nonsense you were blathering about.

  • The question itself would need to be legitimate and within the rules posted for the site, but so boring that nobody would care to answer, comment, or upvote (or, if surprisingly there is an upvote, someone would need to downvote, too).

My kneejerk reaction was that this was a badge so insanely difficult to obtain that it should be a gold badge. Or an irridium badge. Or even a glowing hot plasma... a sign of divine favor that resulted in your WB:SE pages all receiving a soft, yellow glow and your moniker discovered on everyone else's pages accompanied by a high quality audio effect of an angelic sigh of satisfaction; thereby identifying you as one of the august few who have risen to the ranks of the notoriously mundane.

And then I realized that it's likely impossible to get this badge without putting actual effort into asking a question that would get it, but that might result in even greater curiosity and, worse, would seem to defy the intent of StackEchange in general in that questions are, well, aren't they supposed to be in some way useful?

And now we're on a slippery-slope toward people actually trying to get this badge, thereby filling our cherished site with (ostensibly) boring questions that nobody wants to read.

Leading to my final conclusion, why do we have this badge in the first place?


Should we burn this badge?

I'm not the first person to ask this question. FrostFyre was. For the full conversation, see these posts:


I am stunned and in absolute awe for receiving the Tumbleweed Badge for this Meta question. Though previously awarded to 0 people on the main site and 1 person on Meta (I'm the 2nd), I frankly didn't think this badge could be earned. I'm honored! I really am!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ See also: Badge viability and The Completionist's Dilemma. The latter is not my brightest moment. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Dec 4, 2017 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre, I should have known that this question had been asked before. Let's get this sucker marked as a duplicate so looney people like me can cry quietly in their closets without the embarrassment of posting yet another duplciate question! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 4, 2017 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of The Completionist's Dilemma $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 4, 2017 at 16:02
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    $\begingroup$ What's hillarious is that while responding to @Frostfyre I was awarded the Tenacious badge on English Language Learners.... That's a much harder house! :-) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 4, 2017 at 16:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I don't think this is a duplicate of "Completionist's Dilemma". This question asks about changing one badge; that one asks whether it would be acceptable to create bogus questions just to get badges. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2017 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio, I'm trying to keep the conversation all together. The questions are all releated. Mine is more a duplicate of Bade Viability, but it doesn't link forward to Completionist's Dilemma, while CD does link back to BV. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 4, 2017 at 19:21
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    $\begingroup$ If you link to the other questions in your question, those links will be more visible and durable than links down in the comments. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2017 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Just pretend you did it to help out, you KNEW other people would ask, so you just wanted to get it on file. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Dec 5, 2017 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ "I'm trying to keep the conversation all together." That's what tags are for. If there's a badges-related question around here somewhere not tagged [badges], then feel free to make such an edit, but don't mark questions as duplicate just to "keep them together"; that's just not what duplicates are for. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Dec 5, 2017 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sure I asked about this as well in the early days of the site :) Considering there are a grand total of 1 unanswered questions on worldbuilding at the time of writing and as a community we take pride in either answering or closing everything...(I've even been known to place bounties on questions that were good but hard and as a result hadn't been answered within a few weeks)...I think you're right, tumbleweed isn't going to happen. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Dec 6, 2017 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB I wonder if anyone here got Tumbleweed badge, either here, or at the other site :) $\endgroup$
    – Vylix
    Dec 8, 2017 at 1:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Vylix, no one has yet to receive the Tumbleweed badge on WB:SE. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 8, 2017 at 5:01

3 Answers 3


Angelic sigh

Sorry, that's the best I can do on the special effects. As others said, the badge lists are global and sites can't customize them. Take a look at the badge list here on meta, which includes the badges for bounties -- but you can't award bounties on meta.

Tumbleweed was, as I understand it, meant as a consolation prize, not a goal to work toward. "Hey, you asked a reasonable question (we didn't downvote it to oblivion before deleting it and salting the earth on which it sat or amything), but nobody looked. Still, we want to give you something for your effort, so have a cookie badge!"

I think it's actually a pretty neat compliment for our community that this badge has never been awarded. People aren't just focusing on their favorite tags and not reading the rest; people here are engaged. That's great!

  • $\begingroup$ I have been "awarded" this badge on multiple other sites, it's the worst feeling. The badge says "your question was valid, but an answer either doesn't exist or isn't important enough to find its way to you" $\endgroup$
    – Devon M
    Apr 27, 2018 at 22:56

As far as I know we can't burn badges. They are the same across the network.

This leads to cases like Tumbleweed - on a site like worldbuilding, which is focused on creativity, it's nearly impossible as you have already stated to get something like tumbleweed. But on a site like StackOverflow, which is the largest and most important site in the network, it's easy to have a valid question that gets drowned in the sheer amount of questions. Tumbleweed provides at least something for people with such questions. Questions about obscure programming languages that really nobody can answer.

And tumbleweed means there is a way to sort for this sort of question - which allows others to look for them and specifically answer them.

This also leads to some badges being far easier on bigger sites - the review badges for example.

It doesn't hurt you that you can't get that badge here - probably nobody can. Ignore it, we can't do something about it. It's other site's fault ;)

  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand your first paragraph. Badges that have rediculusly low or high requirements for the site is exactly what does happen because they are not tuned to the specif8c board. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Dec 4, 2017 at 7:06

I've gotten one on a different board.

The culture and relatively small size of WB makes this impossible. The badge definitions are global.

  • $\begingroup$ Aahhhh... this I did not know. I assumed that badges, like tags, were site-centric. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 4, 2017 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH Its actually pretty easy to get one for a hard question on a hard-science site, especially the less populated ones. Making it gold would be silly in that context, so I think its best as it is. I've got them on Cross-Validated and GIS. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Dec 7, 2017 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, you got one earlier in the year here for a Meta question. You and I have the honor of being the only two awardees, main and meta combined, to have received this badge. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Nov 3, 2018 at 21:04

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