Today I wrote about a possible Achievements dialogue sum error which was duped to "New top bar can't math." As James Webster and Cruncher point out there, the title is intended to be humorous, but it makes it quite hard to find when attempting to search for relevant keywords.

A question with a title that seemed more relevant was "Top bar reputation accounting should add up" but on reading, that question really had a different focus‡.

Should we create a strong, intentional bias in selecting "canonical" questions toward those with titles that make them more easily discoverable by someone searching for that content?

: Reflected in its edited title "Deleted downvotes should appear in Achievements dialog."

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  • +1 upvote for that answer. I would lean more to the "yes" side generally, but back to "no" for questions that we're expecting people to find and dupe to. A humorous question title that winds up duping to some canonical question with a more descriptive title, for example, might be more appropriate. We can change the direction of dupe closures, and that's what this discussion is about. – WBT Feb 22 '16 at 0:00
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    Personally I dislike most/many of the humorous titles because my first thought is "how would someone find that?". I think they are fine for blog titles but not for wiki-style Q&A. – PolyGeo Feb 22 '16 at 0:06
  • FWIW - I came to meta.stackexchange.com/q/210139/287261 via a link in a comment that was labeled with the old title "New top bar can't math". The old title did, in fact, clearly communicate to me that the question was relevant. So I'll just leave this here - I believe that was one example of a less serious title that still satisfied the title condition from Gilles' answer below, and didn't necessarily need to be changed. </opinion> – Dan Henderson Mar 25 '16 at 19:50
  • @DanHenderson You had a link to the particular discussion and some description of it and your challenge was just to understand the brief title. If you were trying to search for that discussion, or find it without a link, do you think the old title would have helped you do that (compared to the new or other possibilities)? What search terms would you have tried? – WBT Mar 25 '16 at 20:07
  • @WBT Actually, I was searching for it. I had just noticed the same phenomenon and was not previously aware of it. I took a screenshot but decided to search before asking a new question. I first just searched "reputation" because I couldn't think of the right term. After several unrelated posts I found one containing "top bar" and realized that was the term I needed, but then before I reached my Back button I saw the blue text New top bar can't math and instantly knew that's what I had been searching for. – Dan Henderson Mar 25 '16 at 20:24

We should create a strong, intentional bias in selecting canonical questions toward those whose answers are the most useful to people who face a common issue.

We should then edit those questions to make them optimally discoverable. Discoverability includes several aspects:

  • Include keywords that people are likely to search for.
  • Use tags that reflect the actual issue.
  • Use a concise but meaningful title so that when people are scrolling through question lists or search results, it's immediately clear whether the question is relevant.
  • Link the question from the relevant tag wiki.

Done: https://meta.stackexchange.com/revisions/210139/4, https://meta.stackexchange.com/revisions/209139/3

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