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I am curious if changing the title of a question is a good idea if the question has already been answered and had that answer accepted. I've read Changing the title of a post as well as the answer describing naming of a question in Style guide for questions and answers, but I couldn't tell if this is a good thing to apply to every single question title that could be considered inaccurate.

For answered questions and very old questions, I wasn't sure whether it would even be important/worth bumping random questions to the top of the list and making them look like sorta-new questions from the title.

I'm not worried about closed questions as I assume all edits that improve the post (title included) are welcome.

Should I worry at all or make sure every title I see is accurate, even if it's late?

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If the title is vague before, well then yes –  Hugo Dozois Apr 9 '13 at 21:37
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An example might help discussion here, what do you mean by an "inaccurate" title? –  blahdiblah Apr 9 '13 at 21:52
    
stackoverflow.com/q/15205280/1751715 - A question of my own, @blahdiblah. This is what sparked it, but I figured I could apply this to other titles as well. In this case the title is just overly vague. Obviously it's not working, else I wouldn't be asking the question. –  Hydronium Apr 9 '13 at 22:42

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Editing the title can and should be done, if appropriate.

There are two reasons for this:

  • Organic SEO, if the question title says foo bar baz but really solves bat mat hat. Then changing the title helps people to find the answer they are looking for.

  • Ultimately the goal of Stack Exchange is to make the Internet better, and a big part of that is community editing. If you know you can improve the post and help future users by editing the title then do it.

Don't worry that your bumping a post back to the top. Stack Overflow gets so many questions a day and has so many filtering techniques that it will quickly fade away again, except for those that need it. Which is really the point anyway.

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Just to add to Ryan's answer: Questions with bad titles are are a terrible problem for Google searchers. I'm searching for "Setting up Foo with Bar," and I wind up at some Stack Overflower's post about some highly-obscure error message he is getting while fooing the bar. Very frustrating. The more that can be done about these kinds of titles, the better. –  Robert Harvey Apr 9 '13 at 23:36
    
@RobertHarvey I hate when I'm setting up foo to work with bar and all google says is bar caused an error in foo. Why can't bar have a wiki for setup and play nice with foo? 'sigh'. –  ryan Apr 10 '13 at 16:51

I don't think this can be stated enough, and I'm sure titling is getting slowly worse.

I've always edited titles where I know there are one or more:

  • Grammatical errors (usually, but not always confined to non-native English speakers)
  • Spelling errors
  • Poor meaning/context
  • Word shortening
  • Leet

And regardless of prior acceptance, it's important to convey accuracy as many people make subconscious assumptions about titles - knowing what they mean.

It's largely as ryan states - SEO is a big deal for searchers and knowing that better context and titling will make finding answers much easier.

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