Many questions (including mine) happen to be titled How to ... ?, which is not good English.

This is bad.

Maybe that's how I "learned" the "rule" about How to ...? in the first place...

  1. Shall we run a global s/^How to (.*\?)/How do I \1/g across the whole StackExchange?
  2. If no, shall I mass-rename my own 200+ "How to" questions?
  • Another related: english.stackexchange.com/q/56625/63341 – The Guy with The Hat Apr 8 '14 at 13:19
  • 3
    Is this really necessary? "How to do x" may not be great, but is it that terrible? – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Apr 8 '14 at 13:26
  • @Pëkka, It invites more "How to" titles. As somebody bother enough to rename such titles, it whould be more proper to encourage writing the correct titles from the beginning, so correctors can fix other mistakes instead of "How to"s. – Vi. Apr 8 '14 at 13:28
  • I'm not sure I agree it's a major problem in the first place. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Apr 8 '14 at 13:54
  • 3
    If I google "sqlserver create schema" and the top SO result is a question titled "How to add a new schema to sql server 2008?" (as it was when I had this query moments ago), I'd say that's about as appropriate a title as I could possibly have hoped for. The only thing bad about the english is the ?, but removing that is about as minor as edits come. – OGHaza Apr 8 '14 at 14:00
  • @OGHaza, What's wrong in a global bump-less minor ?-removing edit? – Vi. Apr 9 '14 at 17:14
  • @Vi. the fact that the instructions when editing say "Avoid trivial, tiny one-letter edits unless absolutely necessary.". Guaranteed that ? won't be the only thing wrong with the post though, and I would encourage its removal while fixing all errors in the post. But I think there are much more valuable heuristics for selecting which posts to edit rather than "is the title a statement followed by a ??", e.g. "is the post new?". – OGHaza Apr 10 '14 at 8:15
  • @Vi. Oh I just realised what you meant by "global bump-less" - for SO staff to script it, well I've never heard of anything like that ever happening. – OGHaza Apr 10 '14 at 8:19


Edits should substantially improve the post that is being edited. "Too minor" is even specifically a reason to reject a suggested edit.

Only changing "how to X?" to "how do I X?" in the title does not substantially improve the post.

Manually editing a post pushes that question to the front page, drowning out any older questions. This is a major issue if we're talking about hundreds of questions.

Even assuming that all use of "how to X?" is bad, doing a global search and replace still would not do anything about any other potential language issues with those questions.

If the questions can be substantially improved, then consider making the title change at the same time. If not, just let them be; they are obviously good enough already.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .