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I began listening to the StackExchange podcast a few months ago, and in one (of several in which they discuss the topic) Jeff and Joel were talking about quality posts, curating content, etc. At one point one of them mentioned that they liked question titles to be actual question, IIRC because it might help the question get more views when people are just typing questions into Google, since the title is in the URL.

As I began trying to become active on the site, editing question titles to be a natural language question is one thing that I've started doing a lot.

Does anyone else have a preference on this topic?

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Writing better titles is high on the list of worthwhile edits to a question, but there are a few caveats you should keep in mind, especially when you're editing below 2,000 reputation:

  • Editing en masse really messes with the front page. It also clogs up the suggested edit queue, where people are tasked with approving edits from users below 2,000 reputation. If you're going to edit, do it in short spurts, not 20 at once.
  • Nearly every question has problems other than the title: we have a huge tag problem, for example. But beyond that, nearly every question will have spelling, capitalization, formatting, or other copyediting issues. When editing a question, try to improve as much as possible beyond just the title.
  • While many titles are terrible and ought to be reworded as actual questions, there are a lot of questions that have okay titles or even good ones that aren't actually questions. If you were going into them to edit more than just the title, editing the title is a nice bonus, but otherwise, it's best to just leave them alone. Ask yourself, "does the title change make the question any clearer?" If it doesn't, don't bother just for the sake of making it into a question.

Other than that, thank you for taking the time to make the site a better place!

  • I do always read through the body as well and make edits as necessary, though I haven't done much with tags up to this point. I'll see if I can help with those as well, now that I'm aware of the problem. Thanks! – Mike Partridge Nov 15 '11 at 20:00

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