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There are often questions on stackoverflow with a generic question title whilst the actual content drills down to an issue that may or may not be 100% relevant to the question title.

For example, I'm aware my answer in this question wasn't great - but I think it's a good illustration of the protocol I'm looking for information on.

The question title is how to change specific text by using jQuery. Many future visitors will view this question looking for an answer to this generic issue that may or may not be identical to the OP's problem.

Now, it turns out that the solution to the OP's specific problem doesn't apply generally to the question listed in the title text. Is it against stackoverflow protocol to then provide an answer that isn't ideal for the specific content of the OP's question, but will help anyone looking at this question because of the more general title?

I got the feeling from the less-than-positive responses to my answer that providing general knowledge relating to the question title is looked down upon.

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1 Answer 1

When providing an answer you should direct your answer to the actual question text, not the title of the question. If there is a specific question in the body and a general title, answer the specific question, not the general one.

It's rather common for a title to be more general than the question itself; very specific questions in titles tend to make bad titles, as it's hard to ask specific questions in just a few words.

If you feel that a title is overly general, and you can think of a title that would fit the question while being more specific, then fix (i.e. edit) the title, not the question. Coming up with good titles is hard, and as a result we see a lot of bad titles. When the title conflicts with the question, it's usually best to assume the title was wrong, and fix that, rather than making the question more general to fit the title.

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We see a lot of entire questions in the title too! –  nickhar Nov 9 '12 at 23:12

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