I don't think we edit titles enough. Editing titles helps make them stand out from the crowd:

Just the latest batch of questions:

  • What is this algorithm / concept called?
  • Unknown cipher text for decryption
  • Proving a function is a one way function

Now the first two were probably pretty bad questions to begin with (to gather knowledge on crypto.SE anyway, probably not to the asker). The second one however had a reply from Poncho.

In general however we should understand that "Proving a function is a one way function" is not a good title if the actual question is about a specific algorithm. In that case we should at least try to make the question as specific as possible.

I see a lot of great edits of questions, but the title is often left alone. If a title can be made more specific we should not forget to do so.

Do you agree with these statements or are we doing enough as it is?

  • Looking at the title is always the first thing I do in First Post reviews. Too many people review "No action needed" IMO. However, it is not always easy to come up with a good title. – otus Feb 21 '16 at 21:39
up vote 8 down vote accepted

From my personal (non-moderator) point of view: I definitely agree. Titles should be (at least somewhat) useable and allow users to find what they are looking for. Many times, this works… but there are indeed questions (like the two you’ve pointed at) that surely could need a bit of editing to make them “support” the question.

I think that we all benefit from that in the end. After all, the titles of the questions are the only thing we see when looking at the list of active questions etc. A person asking a question with a title that is able to clearly show what is to be expected (read: what a question will be about) will tend to be able to attract answers quicker. And people who are willing and able to answer questions don’t have to check each and every question just to be sure they don’t miss a question they could (or couldn’t) have answered.


From a moderator perspective, I can only encourage edits whenever and wherever they make sense. This definitely includes making titles better. On the positive side I’ld like to mention that I’ve been seeing some new names show up in the suggested edits review section, which clearly indicates some users have recently started to edit things while they tended to be rather inactive in the past when it came to editing things. This is great… and I hope many will follow their lead.

Generally, no one should be scared of edits. In the unlikely case someone edits something and messes up things, there are ample means to fix it: from enhancing the edit, up to by rolling back edits in a worst case scenario. Also, it might motivate some when I remind of the fact that each accepted edit will give you +2 in reputation… and even while that’s not much, it’s still enough not to ignore the option to earn a few points extra, while helping out the whole community.


TL;DR

I agree from both a personal, as well as from a moderator point of view: if a title can be edited to better reflect what is being asked, please edit it. Doing so helps both askers as well as people who are willing to provide answers… and from a motivational point of view: the system rewards accepted edits by increasing reputation points. So, even if we would ignore individual points of view… editing things to make them better is definitely encouraged by StackExchange.

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