Some time before, I had a discussion with @Mico on changing the title of a question to be more useful. The general idea is to make it more useful for search engines. Since the question as was before was down-voted (and I can understand this) the new question is not a feature request but opinion on the suggested edits on the titles of questions.

Question (I will answer too):

Do we have to edit titles of users-questions? Anf if "yes" when do we have and what we have to keep in mind?

Old question (feature-request)

In the site there are many too specific posts and unrelated with the title of the question like this one: unuseful question-answer. I think that it would be a nice solution to add something like [TOOSPECIFIC] or [NOTREALLY] in their title, so that when someone have already used our community will know that the "google search" returned something not really useful. (This will give fewer clicks too and will not allow such questions-answers to take a high google rating).

Another solution would be to gather all these kinds of questions-answers in one topic with common newcomers mistakes or something like this.

  • You are right, but I am talking about google search results. May be they don't have to close... And I am not talking for all too specific questions. I think the question I had the opportunity too choose show what I mean. If someone google for "section smaller than subsections" my answer will appear there in the first results and will not really help the one which is looking for an answer in his problem... Even if the problem is the same the code will not be. An addition to the title like [Redirected] and a link to similar common user mistakes would help more people. Of course it is not so easy
    – koleygr
    Aug 19, 2017 at 16:32
  • Yes... my post is a question and can accept ideas as answers. I just included an idea but may be there are one or two more clever than me users :P... I think changing the title would be helpful for these people that already have seen what this change means here. This way they will not lose their time by clicking and will not also move this answer in top google results (2 in 1). Also a link to common mistakes that causes this or similar problem in the question would be helpful for them who don't find another answer or don't know what the word in title means improvement on both search results
    – koleygr
    Aug 19, 2017 at 17:05
  • @Schweinebacke As an idea it would be better to make it a discussion that can accept positive or negative answers... but I thought that feature-request was more close to this "question" even if it is not really a "request"... Do you think I have to make it a discussion? (If yes please change it -someone- because I will be away for some hours). Thanks
    – koleygr
    Aug 19, 2017 at 17:10
  • 6
    @Schweinebacke TeX.SX search is useless. Always use a web search engine with site:tex.stackexchange.com identifier.
    – percusse
    Aug 20, 2017 at 10:25
  • @Schweinebacke You search for answers not votes.
    – percusse
    Aug 20, 2017 at 10:33
  • 3
    @Schweinebacke Well as you know votes hardly ever reflect quality. Especially here where people tend to upvote more than the rest of the SE network
    – percusse
    Aug 20, 2017 at 10:40
  • 2
    @Schweinebacke I don't share the same beginners imply incompetence attitude. Many learn things pretty quickly. TeX is too old so are the pages about TeX. We don't have too many ridiculous answers so it's not a concern in my opinion.
    – percusse
    Aug 20, 2017 at 10:52
  • 2
    Why is there an L next to my table? Here is MWE. And there is an L that the user typed in accidentally but overlooked it. The user got to fix the problem and close as off-topic afterwards. The chance that another user will have the exact same problem is near zero. We don't have to preserve everything as good material for the great great Stackexchange Network Knowledge Database.
    – Johannes_B
    Aug 20, 2017 at 11:43
  • 3
    There are no stupid questions, but not all questions deserve to be kept. Do your job as the help desk clerk and junk the problem ticket if it reads: User complained about monitor not working. Told to turn off monitor. Monitor turned on. Customer happy again.
    – Johannes_B
    Aug 20, 2017 at 11:45
  • 1
    On the other hand: Does it matter if we have a bit of unuseful information here? Have you seen the internet? It is full of clutter and junk of all sorts. But ones junk is someones elses treasure.
    – Johannes_B
    Aug 20, 2017 at 12:53
  • 2
    I would never say that beginners are incompetent. No more comments from me. Aug 20, 2017 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


My opinion is that the titles of the questions have to be edit if while or after are answered they don't seem to be easily findable from search engines or they don't describe the problem in a (somehow) efficient way.

1) They don't describe the problem: -If the title of the question describe an error message (that is not really the problem) that is possible to be searched I suggest no edit (because it is already useful for future searches). Of course always exists exceptions.

-If the title of the question do not describe the actual problem but it is possibly a common problem and only after the answer the real problem appears, I also suggest no edit because more people will find it without knowing their mistake before. Some exceptions too.

-In most of the other cases that we are against a question with a title that don't describe the problem I suggest to open a discussion (with a flag or something -This discussion could be used to if many of you agree... And I could copy this answer to the question to leave space for title changes on specific questions... But some other place accessible from more experienced users, I suppose would be better- ) about the suggested title and see if it really have to be changed or not. (I already have some flags of this kind that are "helpful" but I did not show a change).

The change has to be as efficient as possible to be found by search engines.

If the title describes the problem but has no possibilities to be found

These kind of question titles are often and the main problem is that even they use too good English (like "How could I accomplish to..."-> No search engine will find easily the rest of the keywords).. or they missing the suggested keywords (like "legend" of a figure for problem with figure or "width" for problem on fixing the width of a table etc...)

So, I would like to see somewhere suggested edits on the titles to make the questions more useful, but I recommend this edits to be done after discussion and not too easy.

This is my opinion in bad English but I think you can get what I mean.

  • I think you are greatly underestimating the search engines. They don't even bother with the title. It's scraped entirely.
    – percusse
    Sep 14, 2017 at 13:45
  • @percusse: May be. Just my experience have shown that as less keywords I use in my search... it gives first results with titles containing these keywords ... If I search for a sentence... it gives things that most of them are not useful.
    – koleygr
    Sep 14, 2017 at 14:24

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