Often a user posts a question with a title stating what he or she attempts to do, and a question involving some code. In many cases, the problem why this code doesn't work is caused by some part of the code which is not at all specific to the kind of problem the user tried to solve in the first place.

Should the question title be edited to match the actual cause of the problem? If it is not, then other users having the same core problem might have a harder time finding it. If it should be edited, then who should edit it? The OP editing his or her own question is certainly all right, but would it be all right for the one who found the error to edit the title?

To give you an example:
This question is currently titled “How do I call main method of one class inside another class?” but the actual problem was a misuse of the List.toArray() method. There is nothing in that title suggesting that it might be of interest to people experiencing a ClassCastException after calling a toArray method. Would it be acceptable to rename the title to “ClassCastException casting result of toArray call to other array type” or similar?


2 Answers 2


I've taken to editing question titles recently. A good title is important because of its prominence in searches and the lists of related questions. I notice that novices often focus on irrelevant details, as you point out. In those cases I often alter the title to be in terms of the error message or exception they report; that is the crucial information that can make the question relevant to others. As the information was present in the body of the question, I do not believe I am distorting the question unduly.

I've noticed that questions that have irrelevant titles and which can not be altered in that way are often good candidates for closure.


Honestly, as long as a question is applicable to a wider audience and specific, then I don't see any reason to change it unless it needs it. In your case there is certainly merit.

As a community, we can can't always correct question titles in view of the actual problem/question/reason. It's a mistake to think that we can, but where we can, we should!

Personally, I find myself correcting titles in view of a potential wider audience (searches/SEO etc), but only when there is a basis for doing so. In reality, it comes down to quality and (as you cite) actual subject matter...

I'd like to think that many would/will rescue appallingly-titled questions to be more accurate/exacting, but only when the content merits it. Many questions are ill-titled, but more often than not, it requires domain expertise as well as a degree of common-sense to improve them.

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