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I've been looking at some of the questions on the front page and in the archives and I'm noticing that a lot of the titles aren't questions. For example, on the front page right now:

These are at varying levels of "not-a-question"ness. The first two are statements that could easily be turned into questions. The third just needs some words added to turn it into a question. The fourth is a statement masquerading as a question because of the mark at the end.

This is annoying to me, but that isn't a great reason to edit them. Is it worthwhile to edit titles to be questions?

The pros I see:

  • it adds consistency to the look of the site
  • if all questions were titles, it would help reinforce that this is a Q&A site
  • this would also help users have a better idea of what question they were about to look at, whereas sometimes statements can be a little deceiving

What are other user's thoughts?

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    I should have said to keep the editing to a maximum of 5 or so a day. Flooding the front page with old questions has a way of killing traffic to the site. – user1873 Apr 6 '13 at 2:49
  • Got it. I'll keep it down. – SocioMatt Apr 6 '13 at 3:01
  • @user1873 I don't think we should bump old question just to edit the title. But if we are going to do it, it's better to edit them all as fast as possible. It's less disruptive than bumping five questions each day. – Pablo Apr 10 '13 at 18:36
  • This raises a philosophical problem. Is the title of a question itself a question (in which case it should certainly be edited into a normal English question form), or merely an identifier, in which case it should plainly be left alone? I incline to the latter. – TimLymington Apr 10 '13 at 23:05
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I should have offered this reply sooner, but to offer an opposite view: no, we should not.

I think if a subject line leaves it unclear what the core question of the post is, then that subject should be edited for clarity's sake so that visitors to the site can see the core question, and I wouldn't object to gentle suggestions to users that they edit their title to be in the form of a question. But I don't think every question can easily be asked as a question, and we're not playing Jeopardy: I don't think that 'phrase in the form of a question' is such an essential element of the question-asking process to be worth either changing out a user's post from under them (while it's true that users should be prepared to 'lose control' of their questions when they post them up here, that doesn't mean that it should be a matter of course) or of sweeping through the site's entire history revising everything. This site isn't generating a ton of fresh content, and it's very easy for 'actually' (relatively) new questions to get lost in the swath of edited items; by my tally almost 2/3rds of the 'front page' of the site right now is auto-bumps, either from editing to the form of a question or from Community bumping up unanswered items.

  • You might be right. Maybe the answer isn't 5 per day, but 5 per front page – user1873 Apr 10 '13 at 19:19
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Absolutely. This is a Q&A site, so every OP should be in the form of a question.

I am, not a huge editor myself, but during the last site evaluation I fixed questions that were not clear. Feel free to edit any question so that it is more consistent, readable, or clear.

As clarified by Steve though, it might be best to limit the edits to 5 per front page.

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    I meant to respond to this on Friday, but it slipped through my day -- while I agree with this answer in principle it's important to note: the title should still reflect the specific question being asked. If there's no good way to "questionify" the title without losing meaning, don't alter the title. Remember: Google searches only look at the first 60-75 characters in the title, as well. – Aarthi Apr 8 '13 at 19:22
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I'm thinking about this from a new user's perspective.

Let's say a new user finds this site through Google by searching for something specific and decides to check out the front page. Before my little editing spree (which was probably a result of too much coffee), they would have been presented with a mishmash of questions, statements, and somewhere in between. Assuming they don't immediately read the FAQ (since most people who stumble here probably don't), they may see this organization as indicative of a forum rather than a Q&A site.

The initial thought when seeing "Elegantly increasing the difficulty of Elder Sign" isn't going to be

this is a question about how to do that with some potential answers supported by facts

but probably more along the lines of

this is going to be where we can talk about how to do that.

Editing titles into questions would help make this more clear.

It probably isn't pertinent to go back and edit old titles into questions. However, if something shows up on the front page that isn't a question, my feeling is that it wouldn't be too much trouble to edit. With all threads being titled as questions, new users may have a better understanding of what they're looking at before getting to the point of reading the FAQ.

Also, in contrast to Steven, I think all posts on B&CG should be able to be boiled down to a single question. If they can't, there's a pretty good chance that the question is too broad or out of scope. Some examples:

Current: Does Epic Experiment let me pull creatures out of the graveyard that were exiled during its casting?
Change: Can spells cast from Epic Experiment target creatures put into the graveyard from Epic Experiment?

Current: Land ratio vs mana curve
Change: How does a deck's mana curve determine how much land to use?

Current: Dominion: When to use Platinum and Colony
Change: Should Platinum and Colony always be used in a game of Dominion?

Current: General advice for maximizing fun playing multiple games of Dominion
Change: How can we maximize our fun when playing multiple games of Dominion?

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