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In the past few weeks on stackoverflow, the new top questions aren't questions at all. Some examples, quoted exactly:

  • Rebranding android 1.6
  • Im Having a problem with Jquery's fade animation
  • Logging into Mongo on Amazon's EC2 (AWS) with MongoVUE
  • upload photos to Facebook Album from App
  • Show custom contact information

Can something be done to encourage people to write actual questions?

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Thanks, Jeff. I agree with some of the sentiment that it's grammatically jarring, hard to parse. I guess I just have to get used to the twitterization of English. –  thrillscience Jun 6 '11 at 3:53
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At least it's not as bad as ELU: english.stackexchange.com/search?q=%22what+does%22 –  random Jun 6 '11 at 3:59
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At least those people are providing something. This dude's pattern annoys me to no end. The only meaningful titles there are ones other people edited in. He's been told to be more descriptive, doesn't seem to have succeeded. –  user414076 Jun 6 '11 at 4:10
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It's not a sudden change. People have been making titles instead of asking questions for as long as I can remember. –  Robert Harvey Jun 6 '11 at 4:43
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2 Answers

Personally, I think this trend to titles for questions instead of questions in the title is good.

I think that the extra verbiage to actually phrase the title as a question simply makes the title more verbose for no real benefit. Add to that it's sometimes quite challenging to concisely construct a reasonable question, whereas constructing a concise title is much easier.

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If most of the question titles were descriptive of the actual question, your argument would make sense, but many of them are not. Going to the trouble of asking an actual question in the title forces you to think about your issue, and how it can be encapsulated in a few words. I submit that creating a good, descriptive title is just as challenging as asking an actual question in the title, so I don't think the issue is how much work it is. –  Robert Harvey Jun 6 '11 at 4:40
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@Robert: Yes, and if most of the titles phrased as questions were descriptive of the question, I would agree... but they're not, and I (subjectively) don't see any real indication that they even generally somewhat better. –  Lawrence Dol Jun 8 '11 at 7:00
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When you select TOP QUESTIONS you're looking at the titles of the top questions, not the questions themselves. We need to distinguish the two.

Besides, the title field on the Ask Question page restricts the length of the title and doesn't allow much formatting. We should take this a hint and not try to shoe-horn the entire question into the title.

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