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I came across a question that had a title that did not match the description of the problem. The title indicated a generic problem but the description described the particular problem with the software the person was using. He got an answer that solved his particular issue but not the generic problem described in the title. So while useful for this particular person, the answers are not useful to others (me) and the title misleading.

I feel that this should be a reason for downvoting the question for inconsistency. Am I missing something here or am I correct?

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4  
Downvoting perhaps is not the right action here. You could suggest an edit or leave a comment to the OP explaining the problem with the title. –  Lix Feb 9 '12 at 14:30
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I've up voted you here because while I disagree with down voting simply because of such a mismatch, I applaud you for asking this question to know if it's a good thing to do. I'm posting to explain my up vote so you don't misinterpret it as agreeing with the practice you are inquiring about. –  Andrew Barber Feb 9 '12 at 14:42
    

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

I'd think a better action would be to edit the question in question, so it gets a better title. This of course if nothing else would rate this question as 'bad'.

This way you will end up with a good question with a decent title. Otherwise you would end up with a downvoted question (that doesn't deserve it) with a wrong title.

If the question is bad in and of itself, you can of course downvote it AND change the title.

As a side-note: sometimes the title has to be a bit more general, as it describes only part of the question, not everything. This might be the case in this case. The perfect title isn't always possible.

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This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful.

If you believe a mis-titled question fits under the suggested downvote criteria, then go ahead - it's your vote.

The fact that you recognize that is has a bad title suggests that you might be expert enough to give it a better title, and since everyone can suggest edits, a better action would be to retitle it for the user.

It's unlikely that they mistitled it on purpose, and showing them by example how best to do it would be helpful to them, as well as make it more likely that they'll get good answers.

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