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I was editing this post which had several mistakes, post, starting with the question title (it was ambiguous). The most reasonable title which I considered writing was "Will vs Would" since the OP's question was mainly based on that, as they weren't able to understand the difference between these two terms in the sentence structure. But when I edited the title and contents of the body, and hit the edit button, it popped an error message: Title need to be 15 character or longer.

Why is it a necessary for question titles to have 15 character or longer word format when they can simply use shorter terms for describing their question satisfactorily?

I have also seen people asking questions with titles that are literally the whole question put in the title column, and only the sentence present in the body section which is to be acted upon. Is that a good practice while asking questions? (I currently can't find an example for the same, but I assure you I have seen this, many times in fact. Will add the link when I find one.)

On the other hand, I have also seen people writing the question in the title and the same thing again in the body section. I am literally confused which one among them is a good practice? E.g this post has this type of writing format.

Also, I have seen error message prompting that the question title already exists. Why are questions with the same title rules out when they could possibly have different level of needs or answers?

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  • Since the limit applies across the sites, as far as I understand, this might be better on the Meta site meta.stackexchange.com – mdewey Sep 22 at 12:28
  • Oh, I had no idea about this. I am present in other SE sites, but never experimented writing too short titles. – Dhanishtha Ghosh Sep 22 at 16:03
  • I can only imagine the number of times, posts with titles such as "Help me pleez”, or "Is it correct?" would be posted (and that last one is just a hair's breadth short). As for repeating the question in the body, (It is who edited the question you posted a link to) I'm all for it as I personally focus on the content and forget to refer back to the title. However, the title is not identical, I did in fact shorten it. Look at the time stamp – Mari-Lou A Sep 22 at 17:03
  • +1 because the question is a good one. – Mari-Lou A Sep 22 at 17:04
  • @Mari-LouA Yes, I saw that you had shortened it to quite an acceptable number of terms. I appreciate it. Actually I have seen quite a lot of them few weeks back when I was here, but wasn't able to find those today. Some of them are already edited and some remain the same. This was one of the latest one trending, hence I posted it. I meant no disrespect by pointing out the post you moderated. – Dhanishtha Ghosh Sep 22 at 17:57
  • On the opposite end, question titles can be very long :-) – Tsundoku Sep 22 at 18:47
  • @Tsundoku Don't mean to be rude, but what language is that? Doesn't look English to me. Even though the letters are very English. – Dhanishtha Ghosh Sep 22 at 21:02
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I disagree that the title "Will vs Would" was satisfactory. I don’t think the current title is satisfactory either.

Imagine you’re a learner looking to solve your problem about whether to use will or would.

Here’s the problem:

(In case any of these questions get edited, here’s a picture of the above list.)

Did you find that one canonical answer you were looking for? Or did you get frustrated and stop looking (like me currently)? This is also the reason titles are required to be unique (and actually the algorithm for this is clearly not aggressive enough, because it doesn’t ignore capitalization or punctuation).

There are two possibilities here. Likely both are true:

  • We have many duplicate questions and need to start closing them.
  • Some questions are not duplicates, and the title should be edited to reflect how each question is different from the others. This will result in a longer and hopefully better title, where a person looking at the question in Google can decide if their question is the same or different without having to spend a lot of time clicking through to each question, reading the body of it too, and also trying to remember if they already read that question or not.
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  • Yes I agree with you on the grounds that one cannot find an exact or canonical solution to their question if they type it on Google. But many people like me will actually take the effort in understanding the meaning or grammar from quite a few examples and then solving our assignments or whatever they may be doing. And I personally think it is not right to close questions claiming them duplicate, because people are actually taking an effort coming here and writing their questions, if they don't get a direct answer. – Dhanishtha Ghosh Sep 22 at 21:12
  • And I think it won't be a problem if we type in carefully and properly in Google, because Google does a deep search when we type sentences in, hence it provides us with an almost near answer. – Dhanishtha Ghosh Sep 22 at 21:14
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    All of the questions above contain more than 15 characters, the OP is asking why there is this limit. Your answer seems to suggest that even titles as long as "Are "Will" and "Would " interchangeable?" are unhelpful. I agree with your conclusion but it doesn't answer the specific question. It explains why the suggested edit is inadequate, but if the title described an edge case, an exceptional post? – Mari-Lou A Sep 24 at 10:32
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    I don't believe it's possible to bring out the differences between questions in question titles at all well. If it were, we wouldn't need both a question title and a question! I don't think an any more elaborate question title would have helped in a majority of the listed questions. Even if it could, in a few cases, I don't think a) an ELLearner would have the skills to articulate it or that b) it would be easily searchable by users. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Oct 3 at 1:25
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This is a very longstanding practice; a July 2009 post mentions the "recent" increase from 10 to 15 characters on StackOverflow. The question title has a minimum required length for the same reason the post itself has a minimum required length and must have at least one tag applied: for crude quality control.

A low-effort title is correlated with a low-effort question, and the underlying intent is to discourage titles that give no indication as to what the question is about. You often encounter these on forums with weak moderation, for example: threads titled "help plz" or "need fix URGENT" or "wondering if..." or "hi i am user12345," and so on. Without any idea of what lies behind, who wants to waste time even opening them in the first place, much less improving them or answering them?

If the question body and title are the same, it may indicate that the question needs improvement. Titles have a maximum length of 150 characters, which seems thin considering that one of the basic expectations throughout Stack Exchange is that questions should be specific and practical and demonstrate some prior effort at research.

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  • I understand, but the title to which I edited was, well logically reasonable and understandable. "Would Vs Will?" – Dhanishtha Ghosh Sep 22 at 16:05
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    @DhanishthaGhosh It does not matter whether the limit makes sense or not for this or that individual post; the rule is there to protect the entire network. If you want to make the case that it does not do any good and should be lifted, MSE is the place to ask. – choster Sep 22 at 16:09

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