I don't understand this badge:

Tumbleweed: Asked a question with no votes, no answers, no comments, and low views for a week.

In this question: This ODE $(\dot x,\dot y)=(f(x),g(x)y)$ has only one solution

I don't understand. It's not an honor ask a question which no one cares about lol. I need a clarification of this badge, because I'm a little confused.


  • 7
    $\begingroup$ So what do you think abut the "peer-pressure"-badge? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 20:05
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @MichaelGreinecker these badges sound strange for me, for me badge has to do with something good. $\endgroup$
    – user42912
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 20:15
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Maybe it is an incentive for people asking not so "popular" questions to ask them, despite it most very likely they will not get an asnwer:"Okey if nobody cares at least I will get an badge". $\endgroup$
    – clark
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 21:56
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges! If you aren't familiar with this quote, Google it. $\endgroup$
    – Jay
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Jay youtube.com/watch?v=VqomZQMZQCQ $\endgroup$
    – user42912
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 2:28
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ I like this badge. It says, "Yeah... you asked a bad question. Or maybe it was a good question, but just outside the existing paradigm. Either way, who really cares. Oh btw, have this badge. We like you." $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 5:16
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I like this idea posted in MO which martin linked that we have a tumbleweed cleaner badge for people who answer these questions! what do people think? I think some of these questions are good, it might just be a little bit complicated / outside existing paradigm, therefore it will actually encouraging people to answer them and encourage participation by people who have knowledge in areas outside the existing paradigm. what do people think? $\endgroup$
    – Lost1
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:38
  • 31
    $\begingroup$ I always thought of it as being sort of a consolation prize to somebody who's getting screwed over by SE, like the "Unsung Hero" badge. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 20:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This badges was recently retired. See the blog post about this and also June 2019 entry in Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 4:57

3 Answers 3


Even if you don't like tumbleweed badge, it has a positive side to it. It provides a list of questions, which have received very little attention.

I believe that there are users, who check that list and if they see a question which is in one of their favorite areas, they will try to answer. (I have seen one user here at MSE who specifically mentioned on his profile page that he regularly goes through this list.) So, in a sense, if a question received very little attention, this list might help.

Edit: As Lost1 pointed out in his comment, the tumbleweed badge cannot be awarded multiple times, so each user can get only one of their questions in the list.

You might have a look at this meta.SO question What is the purpose of the tumbleweed badge? to see what other people think about this badge.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ what if you have multiple questions which would have earned your badge? anyway to view questions which have 'low' views/ don't have enough attention? $\endgroup$
    – Lost1
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Lost1 You are right about this. The tumbleweed badge cannot be awarded multiple times, so you will get only one of your questions in the list. (I did not know about this until now.) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 6:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Lost1 since that's the case, this seems to strike me as something of a "rite of passage" type of thing. Like "It'll happen to all of us one time or another, so welcome to the club!" $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 16:10

You're right: it's a stupid badge.

In general the SE Team seems to have more of a sense of humor -- or a different one, at least -- than most of the core participants on math.SE. They are not above putting in certain features that are "funny", or playing April Fool's Day pranks, and so forth.

It's not my cup of tea, but if you don't worry about it, it can't hurt you.

Added: It has been brought to my attention that by accessing the tumbleweed badge you can find a list of the questions for which the badge has been awarded. I didn't know about that, and I agree that it's useful. However, it would be just as useful or more if this list were made independent of the tumbleweed badge and the route to the list made more prominent.

In fact, if you look at the answers to the meta.SO question linked to in Martin's answer, you can see from cletus's answer that originally the tumbleweed badge did not come with this feature. Thus it was originally thoroughly pointless, and the SE team seems to have realized this and reacted to it.

That change was a positive one, but let me also say that I am not thrilled with how often the SE platform changes in subtle (and occasionally less than subtle) ways. This is almost never accompanied by any direct explanation at the level of math.SE: rather, one is apparently expected to frequent meta.SO, various blogs and so forth to stay informed about platform changes. I found this annoying, so I am not as informed on site mechanics as I once was.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't worry at all, I was just curious :) $\endgroup$
    – user42912
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 20:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That's probably because if you spend a lot of time on StackOverflow and you don't have a sense of humor, you will go mad. $\endgroup$
    – asmeurer
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 4:53
  • 19
    $\begingroup$ Dear Pete: I completely agree that the sense of humor of participants here or on MathOverflow is not the prime reason why I love our sites : just look at the stern, disapproving reception by some commenters of one April Fool's Day prank here . The question was immediately closed by five very serious people who clearly realized that any attempt at humor was a mortal danger and should be nipped in the bud. Bless those five souls who saved MO from the evil Goosepond Prhklstr Kratchinabritchisitch. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 9:54
  • $\begingroup$ @GeorgesElencwajg It is the composite reason to love the sites. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 19:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @GeorgesElencwajg ,your post was hilarious. :) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2013 at 5:36
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot @Richard: your comment does me a lot of good after the moralizing reaction of holier-than-thou and self-important people rebutting me in comments and closing my question for fear that the site be desecrated. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2013 at 7:41
  • $\begingroup$ it's a stupid badge.<<laughed $\endgroup$
    – fairytale
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 17:31

Like Thomas Owens suggests in the meta.SO thread, I've always thought of Tumbleweed as a sort of a "consolation prize" badge. It's basically saying "Sorry, nobody bothered to even look at your question. Here, have an automatically awarded badge, at least."

Note that the Tumbleweed badge is generally not awarded for bad questions, but for questions that somehow escape the attention of the community entirely. Remember that the badge has multiple requirements:

  • no votes: nobody who saw the question considered either good or bad,
  • no answers: obviously, nobody had an answer of any kind,
  • no comments: nobody had any issues to point out, clarifications to request or suggestions to make, and
  • low views: probably almost nobody even saw the question, anyway.

Looking at the list of questions the badge was recently awarded for, it does seem that the typical question getting it here on math.SE tends to be well written, but about such an unusual or advanced subject that nobody appears to have felt qualified to answer or even vote on them. And then there are the ones that seem perfectly normal, but just somehow managed to "slip through the cracks" and off the front page before anyone noticed them.

In any case, I'd say that, insofar as getting the Tumbleweed badge indicates a failure of any kind, it's really a failure of the community, or possibly of the Stack Exchange system, not of the user who asked the question. We should not have large numbers of unvoted, unanswered open questions lying around: if they're good, we should be answering them or at least upvoting them; if they're bad, we should be fixing or closing them.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the clarification $\endgroup$
    – user42912
    Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 11:51

You must log in to answer this question.

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