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Specific Question

After asking my question python usage of percentage sign- neither modulo nor string formatting, I quickly got a response pointing out that the percent sign usage I was talking about was, in fact, string formatting. Should I update the title to reflect this? Something like "python usage of percentage sign- neither modulo nor string formatting (turned out to be string formatting)" ?

General Question

Obviously you don't generally want to stick the answer in the title (or add [SOLVED], etc.), but in cases like that one, it seems justified since it would save people the trouble of clicking on the question thinking they were going to see something that they weren't. (In this case, someone could click through thinking they would see a feature they weren't aware of and instead would just see me being kind of an idiot.) Even if this specific example should not be changed, are there instances when we should update question titles after the questions are answered to help out future searchers?


I searched meta and didn't find the answer to this. I know that variety in question titles/ lack of specificity can be good, especially in the case of duplicate questions, because it gives users more terms to search for, particularly if they may not know the right jargon. I think this is a slightly different issue.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I think you've got the right idea--you want other people with the same problem to be able to find your question. I'd probably change it to something like "Usage of percentage sign in Python--doesn't appear to be modulo or string formatting". That way it's not asserting anything that's not true, but doesn't have the feel of adding [solved].

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No, I don't believe the question should be edited to indicate it's solved. That's just not how the community handles these things, and if you did this, you would be one of few people doing it. This could be confusing, since the majority of answered questions wouldn't be marked in such a manner.

Instead, edit the question title to make it more clear what your question is about. Make sure it's something someone can easily find on Google.

Additionally, just because a question has an accepted answer doesn't mean we don't want to encourage someone else to answer who has an even better answer. The accepts represent such a small portion of the potential reputation one can earn from a really great answer. Accepts are only 15 reputation, but 10 upvotes is 100 reputation. Adding something to the question title to indicate it's solved may discourage this desired behavior.

This is also why you can unaccept answers, even months later. If your question gets an even better answer, you can unaccept an answer and accept another. In short, you should only edit your title if it's to improve it and make it more clear what your question is about.

As a last and final point, Stack Exchange already has a system of indicating what questions already have an accepted answer. For example, on Stack Overflow, the "number of answers" text on the homepage shows the number of answers in yellow font if the question has an accepted answer; otherwise, the font is white. Many people who have learned the platform have trained their eyes to look for this. Most importantly, it's automatic. Hope this helps!

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Yes, I do believe that altering titles, fixing tags, and other edits adding to the clarity of the problem are desirable, even post-answer. This will help future developers find the post in SO, and hopefully reduce the number of duplicates.

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