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Lately two of my questions earned me a tumbleweed badge? Does this mean my questions don't make sense and I need to improve them to attract more attention?

  • 3
    Note that questions not attracting enough audience (one upvote at max, answers not upvoted) after a long time may be closed – user518951 Nov 8 '15 at 15:30
  • 2
    achievement unlocked – jammypeach Nov 13 '15 at 12:57
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Technically you can get the Tumbleweed badge for a number of reasons, not all of which are contingent upon you asking bad questions:

  • Asking them at the wrong time, so they get pushed off the front-page and nobody sees them
  • Tons of other editing/review activity goes on whenever your question gets promoted to the front page, so it doesn't get to stay there very long
  • You asked a really good question that nobody knows the answer to and nobody feels qualified to even take a stab at it
  • You ask questions at a time of day when SuperUser's answer-writing members are least active on the site
  • Your questions are high enough quality that they aren't closed, but low enough that no one wants to deal with them

... or other reasons ...

In short, there's really no single reason why you might get the Tumbleweed badge, and it isn't a bad thing. A badge is actually a compliment in a way. But this is just a badge they created because they feel bad for users who don't get their questions answered.

Now ordinarily if you had more reputation and you wanted to get a question answered "at all costs", you could spend some rep to start a bounty. This greatly raises the chances of your question getting some kind of answer, or at least making progress in the comments toward clarifying your thoughts.

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I often ask niche or difficult questions, and I often get tumbleweed badges.

Part of the formula is low views, so I see them mostly as a useful notification that very few people are looking at my question and that I might therefore need to do more to get it seen.

Ways in which I've responded to Tumbleweed before:

  • Migrating questions to a different site. For example, I asked a "Microsoft on Mac" question on this site, which went tumbleweed, so I asked for it to be migrated to Apple.SE, where it got a better response (and actually got a gold badge for over 10,000 views eventually!)
  • Re-wording the title to make it more interesting or more obvious what the question is about. Sometimes my question titles were accurate but unclear or unappealing
  • Putting up a bounty. If a problem is both difficult and only a small number of people would relate to it, people will understandably need some extra encouragement to help. I'm expecting to need to do this with this question, for example.
  • Looking on other sites such as specialist forums - particularly if it's a very niche piece of software. Maybe there just aren't any regulars here who know that software. Linking to the question on a specialist forum can sometimes work (if the forum doesn't mind such things)
  • Sometimes, if you feel like you've done everything you can, you can put up a Support question on Meta linking to it along the lines of "What can I do to get this tumbleweed question seen?", and that itself might be enough to get an expert to notice the question (or, suggest a way to improve it)
  • Sometimes you just need to be patient. For example, this very niche question got almost no response from the regulars (I think it was on something like 5 views for a month after asking), but got a great answer months later from someone else who was researching the topic, and is now up to 3,000 views because it's a rare source of quality info on a niche topic
  • Thanks for the enlightenment. – rinfinity Nov 11 '15 at 19:41

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