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What is the purpose of the tumbleweed badge?

I remember reading (or possibly listing to) Jeff explain the philosophy behind badges.

"To promote good behaviour"

(I've paraphrased)

With this in mind what is the tumbleweed badge for. As it seem to promote at best esoteric behaviour.


3 Answers 3


It's a consolation prize.

It's also a reminder that you have a question not receiving much attention, so maybe you need to revisit it, revise it and generally improve it. Or just delete it.

  • 1
    There are a few badges that are more "well, that sucks :-\. Here's a badge to make you feel better" (Unsung Hero comes to mind -- it's certainly not encouraged that you get no upvotes on your answers) Mar 20, 2011 at 18:23
  • @Michael - that's true. But the idea of it being a prompt to improve or remove your question just came to me.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Mar 20, 2011 at 18:24

Being the recipient of this badge for one of my questions, it did indeed act as a consolation prize. More crucially, it made me rethink the nature of my question; both its wording, which was not as clear as it might be; and its relevance to this site.

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    Did you fix it and get any answers? Mar 20, 2011 at 18:41
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    I ended up deleting the question. I came to the conclusion that it was irrelevant, ill focussed, and not crucial to what I was trying to do. Mar 20, 2011 at 18:54

I like to think that Tumbleweed is an interesting badge, it means that you had a question opened, but unusual. No one probably knew what you were talking about, except that it looked off topic. This could help to expand the scope of a particular site.

For instance, if I asked a question about a very odd programming language, one that clearly fits into SO, but maybe just isn't that popular, it'd be a tumbleweed question most likely. But perhaps with some time, someone would come and answer it, and ask another related question. Thus, the badge has a bit of merit.

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