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I have recently noticed that question titles are not well-formatted or not entirely representative of the associated question content.

The result is that this site seems to be like "Yahoo Answers", which is a thing that no one really wants.

I myself am not able to do better in writing titles, but I feel that they could be simply improved by competent speakers of English language like StoneyB, J.R. and others.

What should this community do to solve this problem?

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    Well, Carlo, I suppose I must take that as a rebuke to my remissness and a challenge to do better! I will do so. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 3 '13 at 16:28
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    I've been going through a whole ton of such questions today to make their questions more question-like. This should also help SEO and make it easier for ELL users to understand the gist of the question before clicking through to the answer page. – Matt Mar 4 '13 at 22:22
  • I sometimes edit question titles if the Qs are interesting to me. What else can we do? Sometimes, though, the OP gets pissed off because his English isn't good enough to know that the edit's an improvement that clarifies rather than a revision that changes the meaning: this happened to me a week or so ago, & the OP said he was mad at me because I changed his words -- so I changed them back & invited him to reject the edit, but he didn't. Demanding too much may lead to stylistic censorship. Most people are sloppy when they use language. Can't be helped, I think. – user264 Mar 6 '13 at 3:18
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    @BillFranke -- If in doubt, perhaps a comment with a suggested rephrasing would be taken more kindly. (I've just edited a question, without commenting first, and although I think the edit was "harmless" regarding what the OP was asking, I won't be surprised to get a rebuke.) – barbara beeton Apr 19 '13 at 18:23
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I've been going through a whole ton of such questions today to make their questions more question-like. This should also help SEO and make it easier for ELL users to understand the gist of the question before clicking through to the answer page.

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I definitely agree that this is something to be addressed; thanks for bringing it up! I've noticed it as well but been hesitant to edit, because then I have the quandary: do I edit the question text now as well?

On any other site I would say absolutely yes, and do so. But on ELL I'm not so sure. We want our question titles to be easily searchable and grammatically correct with proper spelling. But in the question itself, sometimes the mistakes the learner makes can help us understand their problem. (Plus we might inadvertently change the question so that the OP doesn't quite understand it anymore, which isn't a good thing!)

So I'm then left with the quandary: edit just the title (and leave question text alone when it could be improved), or edit the whole post (and possibly remove mistakes that would help answerers see the source of the problem, or confuse the OP)? And I can never decide, so I haven't been editing titles very often. I think the short answer to your question is that we all need to band together and start fixing these question titles. But I also think we need to discuss what to do about the actual content of the question, because I'm really not sure which side of that fence I fall on. I think there are pros and cons to both approaches, and that we need to come at the issue from a different angle on an English Language Learners site. What works for one SE site does not always work for all, after all!

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    When in doubt, fix it. Odd phrasings or spellings can be preserved when they are the topic of the question, but otherwise it just sets a bad tone for the whole question. – Shog9 Mar 7 '13 at 3:42
  • @Shog9 All righty then, will do! I've already got one eye trained on the "Unanswered Questions" list; I'll aim the other at checking posts for necessary edits! – WendiKidd Mar 7 '13 at 3:44
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My opinion is that a title needs if possible to be informative and specific. So that you can have a snippet of what the question is about. Then, of course to have good grammar and good writing.
There is a tendency as exemplified by some news sites such as Huffingtonpost to make a title sensationalist but at the same time non-informative so that you are tricked to open the article. Such attitude is of bad taste.

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