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I've noticed on the main site that people often complain/comment on a question that they don't understand what is being asked, if the question is only stated in the title bar, and not in the body text as well. I was wondering if it is required/encouraged to ask the question in the body as well as the title, or if just the title is sufficient.

To be safe I always try to re-state my question in the body, but sometimes I feel like this is a bit redundant, and to be honest, it seems like some people just like being nitpicky.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think that it's good to duplicate or rephrase the question in the body. The title should be a summary of the question itself.

Anything that improves the question without violating the original spirit is in my opinion good behaviour.

We have a lot of users with edit rights now, so it would be a waste to discourage them.

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The title should be something that is Googleable. It doesn't need to be your question title. In fact, if we follow the premise that questions should be made more general, then it doesn't need to be a question at all. Let me explain.

ASP.NET MVC Problem is not googleable.

How do I construct a custom constraint in ASP.NET MVC is. We can say with some degree of certainty that someone will have that question.

However, the following titles would also show up in a Google search:

Constructing custom constraints in ASP.NET MVC

and this title doesn't need to be changed if you need to tweak your question (like an update on what the regex would need to look like to match x).

Try to keep the topic keyword specific enough to be useful, but general enough not to pigeonhole your question.

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I'm not asking about the title of the question... I'm asking whether it's necessary to duplicate or almost duplicate the question in the body text of a post. –  GrailsGuy Feb 25 '11 at 13:52
    
@UBM and I answered your question by saying that removing the question from the title is a good thing and just having it in the body. It may not be the answer you want; but that doesn't make it a 'not useful' answer. –  George Stocker Feb 25 '11 at 13:53
    
I'm sorry, perhaps it's too early in the morning, but I do not see where you addressed my question. You discuss how to construct a good question title? –  GrailsGuy Feb 25 '11 at 13:56
    
@Ubm Yes. Your question is asking if it's required to restate the question in the body title. I'm rejecting the premise that it's even necessary, and saying that it's preferable to keep the title keyword specific but general; and to have your question in the body. –  George Stocker Feb 25 '11 at 13:57
    
That is not how I had interpretted it. If you edit your question, I will be able remove my downvote. :) –  GrailsGuy Feb 25 '11 at 13:59
    
@UBM edited. There are some new juicies in my answer; so feel free to read the link I put in. –  George Stocker Feb 25 '11 at 14:05

I don't think it's a requirement, but I have noticed that some people react badly to questions that consist of a title and a few short code examples, as expressed through down votes and flags.

Many Stack Overflow users appreciate succinct, well written questions - so long as they are easy to read. Going from a title straight to a code block throws some people off.

If I see otherwise great questions going in the can due to this, I generally edit them to summarize the title and end the question with a question, however redundant.

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