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When the OP asks a question, the title box contains the hint

what's your language learning question?

so the OP duly types in his question:

What's the difference between these two sentences?

This as an appropriate response to the hint, but it's about as much use as [substitute your favourite metaphor here].

Would it be worth while changing the hint to say something like

What's your question about?

or something suggesting (as briefly as possible) that the title should help people with the same question to find it.

So, two questions: should it be changed, and if so, what should the new hint be?

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  • Related: meta.ell.stackexchange.com/q/2630 – ColleenV Mar 24 '16 at 19:11
  • @ColleenV: Nice! A "Not sure? Check this link" link next to the title box would be great! – JavaLatte Mar 24 '16 at 19:23
  • Well, the intention is nice, but I doubt your proposed change will do anything useful. I imagine next time they see the hint (provided that they take the hint into account writing a bad title) they'd type "two sentences I have problems with". – M.A.R. Mar 24 '16 at 20:21
  • Needs something like "include in your title the word(s) or language issue you are asking about". The link is good but includes a lot of writing tips that are not related to getting key words and issues into the title. Even if someone can or will read through it. – user3169 Mar 24 '16 at 22:46
  • Something like "summarize your overall inquiry in a single sentence, framed as a question, ending with a question mark"? The problem will be, of course, that no matter what the hint says, people "just want to ask" their question, and don't want to our a lot of thought and effort in beforehand. And, sometimes, it's difficult to summarize a question well. The antidote, of course, is for high-rep users to edit their questions after the fact, but the comes with its own slew of issues, including the misplacement of responsibility, and territoriality displayed by many OPs. – Dan Bron Mar 24 '16 at 22:59
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    Why not include sample question titles in the prompt? – John Clifford Mar 29 '16 at 15:17
  • I like @John Clifford's suggestion. It might be good to have a sample DO & DON'T. For instance: Don't give your question a title that could apply to hundreds of questions, like "What is the difference between these two sentences." Instead, be more specific; for example: "What is the difference between 'carry the load' and 'carry the weight'?" – J.R. Mar 29 '16 at 23:15
  • This is an issue that would probably be best handled on meta.SE. Every single site has the same format here: "what's your [short site description] question?" We've actually discussed this on meta here before, thought I can't seem to find the question now. I like @J.R.'s idea that we could edit the prompt, similar to how moderators can edit sections of the Help page. I'd upvote if you posted to MSE :) – WendiKidd Apr 3 '16 at 8:36
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Honestly, writing titles is hard. Most people are bad at it. Most people are also bad at writing email subjects and similar things. I really don't think there's a quick fix for this; it's simply a life skill that some have, and some don't.

A good title is interesting, concise, covers what's most important, and distinct. Memorable and evocative, in other words. That's not something that a line or two of prompting is gonna help much with, because those important qualities are all fairly subjective, so it's really more of a knack to get something you can put in a short how-to.

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    Agreed, but even no hint at all would be better than a clear instruction to do the wrong thing. – JavaLatte Mar 25 '16 at 9:34

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