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Annoying isn't it? The title on this question tells you nothing about the content of the post. Yet this happens. Its been happening a lot recently here on biology SE. And some users are repeat offenders. Just a handful of examples in the last few weeks:

Clearly an informative title is far more useful. It allows users to evaluate whether the question is useful or interesting to them without reading the entire post.

We very clearly ask for specific titles, even in the box where the title is typed!

enter image description here

Please use titles that give useful information to your fellow users.


What is a good title?

  • Clear and concise, it should be easy to read so it grabs the right attention quickly
  • Shows what biological problem is being considered
  • Accurately describes the content of the question (is relevant)

What we should do as a community:

  • Users: comment on the post to remind the OP of the need for specific titles
  • Remind the OP to read the help and meta pages, including this post, for information about writing good questions
  • Often bad titles are associated with bad questions, down-vote/close-vote if this is appropriate
  • Moderators could you remind repeat offenders of the need for specific titles please

Is there anything else we could do?

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    $\begingroup$ I like the way you visually emphasized "Be specific." I propose SE just implement it. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse May 27 '16 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse Yes! Preferably with flashing arrows ala web 1.0. $\endgroup$ – fileunderwater May 27 '16 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ @rg255 nice title BTW ;) $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' May 28 '16 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse It is very difficult to automatically assess whether a sentence is specific or not. That will create more problems I guess. In a self moderated site like this, this is an easy issue to handle. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG May 30 '16 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG - I guess it's not obvious that that was said in jest. ;) $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse May 30 '16 at 20:52
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This is my answer to your meta post

We should be editing posts whenever they require it, making sure we leave informative edit summaries. The OP will get a message with the edit summary when their post is edited - whether they choose to act on/learn from it is up to them. I completely agree that there are some blatant repeat offenders (one immediately pops into my mind), and I would strongly encourage the mods to deal with this.

Leaving comments under a question about the edits just made should also be encouraged, as not only will the OP get a second reinforcing message about the issue(s) with their post, others will see it and hopefully learn. I don't necessarily think that requesting the OP to edit their own post is really worthwhile, as it could be hours or days before they do it, if they ever do. As a reminder (and a bit of self-promotion), you can check What are some good, informative comments I can leave for new users? for templates of useful comments.

One of the major points of the Stack Exchange system is that both questions and answers can be appropriately edited for clarification, grammar/spelling, unnecessary fluff (greetings, signoffs, irrelevant babbling), etc. However, as a reminder, if you are going to edit a post, please try to fix as many issues as you can see - don't just alter the title if the post has spelling and grammar mistakes. You should review the entire post and improve it as much as possible without conflicting with the poster's original intent. If in doubt, don't make the edit and leave it up to someone with more experience or English language skills.

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I agree that this is somewhat of a problem. Would it be appropriate for users to edit the post to have a more useful title, preferably using the OP's own words from the post body?

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    $\begingroup$ Certainly I think we should be editing titles, but its best if the OP does it (for two reasons: 1. they will learn to do this in the first place 2. less chance of misinterpretation) $\endgroup$ – rg255 May 31 '16 at 8:20
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    $\begingroup$ Sure, why not? This is what people in many other SE's do, since the chance that the OP will respond and then edit their title into something acceptable is akin to one in two hundred, as far as I've seen. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ May 31 '16 at 8:45

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