14

Since this site has been launched, I've been abusing my powers by editing the titles of non-question titles. I guess I just assumed every title should be a question and that if anyone hated it they could just roll it back. But then Gilles kindly showed me some meta questions where the stack exchange community supported some non-question titles. So I just wanted to figure out how people on this site felt about the issue.

Should I stop messing around with these non-question titles?

Are non-question titles any more or less desirable?

15

Since I raised the point:

  • I don't object in principle to your retitling. It's definitely not an abuse.
  • I'm on the (minority, apparently — see below) opinion that question titles don't have to be questions. After all they become titles for the whole page (including the answers) as well.
  • Improving bad titles is definitely a good thing, but a title isn't bad just because it's not phrased as a question.
  • There was one retitling of yours I didn't like because I felt it made the title too long.

The topic has come up on the main Meta site before, in particular: Should question titles be phrased as questions? (A straw poll); HOWTO: Writing Good Titles.

9

Question titles that are questions themselves are nice, and usually make it easier to pick a question out of a list; it also makes the site look more polished and more professional, especially compared to your typical list of forum thread titles. However, there are times that this might result in a grammatically tortured piece of wordage, so it's more important to be clear than to be consistent.

No worries about editing titles to make them clearer. As long as you respect the original author, this kind of editing is good for the site. I do a good amount of this on other SE sites, and I'll sometimes leave a comment indicating something along the lines of "did I do it right"? as a courtesy to the question author, particularly if the user is new/has a low rep and might not understand that edits can be refined further or even rolled back.

5

Personally I feel that if the question being asked is clear, it shouldn't matter as much whether it's a grammatically proper question complete with question mark.

Whether or not a question can be clear without being a proper question is a different discussion, I think.

1

The old FAQ/About page used to say that users should pretend that they're playing Jeopardy=

However the most important thing is that the question title should cover the load as good as possible. In the end, the title is what every user sees first, even those coming from Google!

So if you see a title that's unclear, editing is always appropriate. If you can make it into a nice Jeopardy form, but the content of the title is always more important than the form in which it's phrased

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