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How do people create a "good title"?

IIUC, the title should just describe a problem and then you will describe the details of the problem.

Now, could someone please explain what is wrong with "pkg-config and Qt"? It perfectly summarizes the question I'm trying to ask.

Unless someone can create a better title...

This is what I put in the Description field:

Hi, ALL,

How do I run pkg-config for Qt5?

Or there is some other script that will identify where Qt is installed?

And I'm talking about Qt - not QtE{mbedded}.

TIA!!

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3 Answers 3

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A good question title, first and foremost, lets me know whether I want to read the actual question, whether I am likely to know the answer or want to know the answer. Some heuristics:

  • It should be a question. How do I X? Is it still possible to Y? Not "issues Xing" and definitely not something much more general describing the domain in which your question belongs. For example, on Travel, people will have a title like Trip To Dubai and in fact it's a detailed question about applying for a particular visa.
  • You have limited space, so don't waste any on issue/problem/question/doubt/help and similar words in the title. Do not ask "has anyone managed to X?" when your question is "how do I X?" Be concise and precise.
  • Do not waste the few words you have alienating people who might help you by venting: "how do I use this stupid X to do perfectly simple things like Y?" or "why is X such a useless and difficult tool?"
  • Do not just list the things you're trying to use together. Even asking "how can I use X and Y together?" is better than "X and Y" as mentioned in your question. Better, of course, would be "why does X give an error "this and that" when used with Y?"

Take a look at the front page of the site you're using and see which questions make you want to read them. See also which ones are nice enough to let you know there's no point in reading them because you don't "do" whatever they are about. And see which ones are vague and ambiguous leaving you unable to tell if they are worth reading about. Don't write one of those titles.

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The title is best written after the body of the question because it is there to summarize what is in the body. As a result it should not introduce any new terms or information not covered in the body. By making this as succinct and accurately descriptive of the body as possible you are likely to attract more potential answerers to open your question.

I think you should avoid starting titles like "How to do X? and "How do I do X?". I think it is better to use a more succinct statement title like "Doing X" instead.

For your question here, which is currently titled as:

Creating a "good title" for a new question

I would instead use a title of:

Creating good title for new question

I have dropped the "a", the "the" and the double quotes because I think they all make the title longer than it needs to be to convey the same information.

I also think that the body of your "pkg-config and Qt" question needs more focus so that it not only tells your potential answerers what you want to do (i.e. "run pkg-config for Qt5"), but also what you have tried and where you are stuck.

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Now, could someone please explain what is wrong with "pkg-config and Qt"? It perfectly summarizes the question I'm trying to ask.

No it doesn't. What is your question about pkg-config and Qt?

I'm sorry that there is a steep learning curve, but questions on Stack Exchange sites have to be useful for future readers. This means providing a good title so the question can be found by whoever needs it.

There are many questions about pkg-config and Qt. Literally, 29 questions. So, each of them needs a specific title that tells what is in the question.

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  • ,, I don't know about anyone else, but for me when I come to SO from Google I try to open every single one of them and read thru the full description. I now people who do just like that. However, I don't know anybody who can figure out the stuff just by looking at the title.
    – Igor
    Nov 21, 2021 at 2:40
  • Now my specific question is about using pkg-config with Qt5, but it is to specific. And I don't even sure I can do that. So while I understand that my title is vague - I can't put the whole description there.
    – Igor
    Nov 21, 2021 at 2:41
  • For clarity I added the Description I wrote for the question. Please see the edit.
    – Igor
    Nov 21, 2021 at 2:46
  • 2
    OK. Then How to run pkg-config for Qt5 is better. It fits into the title field. Nov 21, 2021 at 2:48
  • I used you suggestion here: stackoverflow.com/questions/70051568/…. I even tried to google more. But nothing can explain how to do that, and I think many people just skip my question because its confusing as only title is shown. Any suggestions? At least what I wrote was catchy and this one is useless.
    – Igor
    Nov 21, 2021 at 20:11

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