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On Google, the first result for "blur image text" is Tool to quickly hide/blur/redact text in screenshot? on Ask Different. The question has over 100,000 views.

The accepted answer recommends using Skitch. Back when the question was originally asked, Skitch was a good platform‑neutral solution. Unfortunately, Skitch for Windows was discontinued in December 2015, meaning it is now a MacOS specific solution.

The equivalent question for Windows on Super User only has a bit over 10,000 views. While revising the question to be more on topic, I renamed the question from "What tool can be used to blur images?" to "How can I blur text in an image in Windows?", hoping that it could improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

While SEO wasn't the only reason I renamed the question, (the old title was off-topic as a software recommendation), it made me wonder whether editing a question's title to improve SEO is typically an acceptable thing to do.

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    Do you have any reason to think it's not? Improvements to questions are always welcome... right? – Catija Jul 19 '17 at 21:04
  • On that question I would recommend a more concise title of "Blurring text in image in Windows?" – PolyGeo Jul 19 '17 at 21:26
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If it improves SEO and doesn't harm human readability (e.g. you're not just randomly stuffing keywords in to a title where they wouldn't naturally be) or make it somehow less discoverable within Stack Exchange (not sure how that'd work to be honest)...

Go for it. Improving discoverability is as valid an improvement as any other.

As we all like to point out, Stack Exchange Q&As are not solely for the benefit of the people asking the questions; they are a repository of knowledge for everyone... so logically, helping everyone find those Q&As is not a bad thing.

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As Catija says in their comment improvements to questions are always welcome.

Your change has improved the question from an explicit tool request (which are off topic for Super User) to an on topic question about how to achieve a desired goal to which the answer may well be "use this tool". Though this needn't be the only answer and encourage people to leave other answers suggesting different ways of achieving the same goal.

The fact that it (hopefully) improves SEO is a beneficial side effect.

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While generally OK, I have found that it sometimes depends on the site.

I have ran into similar issues, on another Stack Exchange site, and asked in their relevant Meta site. In regards to both title and content edits, I was told that changes to improve any part of the question were not acceptable if the question meets both elements of the following criteria:

  • The question is not new
  • The edits would make an already accepted or upvoted answer defunct

In other words, if the question is old, some sites prefer to "let sleeping dogs lie"; especially when the changes could have an adverse effect on current answers. For this reason, it might be appropriate to ask on the relevant meta site.


In regards to the question you specifically bring up, the new title is more acceptable; and as such, it appears to be accepted. However, I question the issue you bring up about MacOS specific answers:

  • Prior to your edits, I do not see evidence of any MacOS specific answers. The title change improves the question, but there does not appear to have been prior answers that do not apply to the Windows operating system.
  • There is only one answer that mentions Skitch; and you are the one that posted it. If you accept that this answer is not appropriate to the question, you should not post it.
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    Edits that change the meaning of the question (i.e. invalidate any answers) aren't acceptable on any site... The "question is not new" point though is quite frankly nonsense. There may be some that prefer you don't edit old posts, but those edits are acceptable, that's how Stack Exchange works. – Cai Jul 20 '17 at 7:49
  • @Cai, it was a mod that gave me these instructions; and on some sites, I do see edits accepted, even if they change their meaning – Gnemlock Jul 20 '17 at 7:52
  • This is always the result of having asked a blatantly off topic question, where the edit would normally be considered too off-course to be accepted, but is accepted as the closest thing to the original question while being on-topic, and thus is accepted as an acceptable edit. – Gnemlock Jul 20 '17 at 7:53
  • A good example is users asking at GameDev how a particular game implemented a particular feature. We don't know, and regardless of their reasons for asking "how do they do that", we consider these questions off-topic; so we assume they are asking with intention to copy the feature, and change the question to "how do I do that". In some contexts, very similar; in others, very different. – Gnemlock Jul 20 '17 at 7:55
  • Sure, if it's a choice between a question being closed or edited then that's more likely to be OK, but that isn't the norm, and shouldn't be done if there are existing answers that would be invalidated by the edit – Cai Jul 20 '17 at 7:56
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    The mod that told you not to edit old posts is talking nonsense though – Cai Jul 20 '17 at 7:56
  • @Cai, again, in contrast, there are cases where questions that are very old and very well received are blatantly off-topic, and as is get closed due to changes in policy well after the question was answered. In these cases, the preference is to leave the original question, so as not to invalidate the old answers; also well received; even if the same question would be edited if it was only just posted. The key difference is that the old question has already prooven itself to be a good question, and has many upvotes. It gets complicated, but I see this on a few sites. – Gnemlock Jul 20 '17 at 7:59
  • My point is... you said "changes to improve any part of the question were not acceptable if the question ... is not new". That isn't true. Fixing grammar/spelling in an old question is absolutely acceptable. Fixing a dead image link in and old question is absolutely acceptable. etc. If it invalidates answers then of course it isn't acceptable but that isn't because it is old. – Cai Jul 20 '17 at 8:04
  • Actually, on a re-read, I dont have to. The edits you talk about would not render an earlier answer defunct; and thus, they do not meet the criteria I have had described to me. – Gnemlock Jul 20 '17 at 8:22
  • I was pointing out that Skitch was the accepted answer on the "Ask Different" question, not on Super User. I included it in my answer as additional information. I also made sure my edits would not invalidate any of the pre-existing answers. – Stevoisiak Jul 20 '17 at 11:07

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