There is a type of questions like this entry where the structure is simple enough that a question title surely covers the entire description without further explanation. Requiring question body for those questions would be redundant and would impose an unnecessary burden on users.

So what I think would be nicer is to have a checkbox, saying "Empty body" to omit the body input.

  • 3
    Voting to reopen this question since this is much older and has an official response. The other question should have this as a duplicate target instead. Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 7:25

4 Answers 4


I disagree. Having a required body forces you to think about "what further detail" should I supply for this question.

We don't need more questions, we need better questions

  • there is the other side though: it'll increase the number of valid questions - thus more contents on SO.
    – OTZ
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 3:39
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    We don't need more questions, we need better questions. Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 3:48
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    u r missing the point, sir. questions can be good and short.
    – OTZ
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 3:49
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    @OTZ: Can you? Are you sure about that?
    – thyrgle
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 3:52
  • @thyrgle im not sure... actually im not sure what's being asked.
    – OTZ
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 3:54
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    @OTZ: Can you really post a short but good question?
    – thyrgle
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 3:55
  • @thyrgle Yes, like When will a computer surpass human intelligence?
    – OTZ
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 3:57
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    @OTZ: There is so much more you could add, you have no idea.
    – thyrgle
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 4:01
  • i dont know how u got the impression. but that aside, answerers would compensate for any lack of information if they felt like it.
    – OTZ
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 4:06
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    @OTZ: Another problem, is it is subjective. Define smarter? Also, it's always nice to show what research you have done on the matter.
    – thyrgle
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 4:16
  • just how long are you going to continue this off-topic conversation?
    – OTZ
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 4:23
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    @OTZ: It's not off-topic.
    – thyrgle
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 4:42
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    "When will a computer surpass human intelligence?" was your example of a good question? That would get closed in about a minute Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 9:25
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    @Michael: Unless unit Sk33t reopens it to reply "happened already" Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 10:05

"When will a computer surpass human intelligence?"

This is a discussion question, SO is not a discussion site. Its a technical/programming Q&A site. Any question actually appropriate to SO is 99.9% likely to require further details.


I strongly disagree with this view. The title has an important role in questions and using it to contain (the only) content of a question is abuse of the title field and indicative of low quality in general.


The title is useful for much more than just "the first part of my question". I think in a good question the title and body should be used as outlined in the next two sub-sections.

The title

The title in my view is your "hook", this is your one chance to entice readers; it's what the experts you hope will answer your question see mostly when scrolling through a big list of question. (It's important to search engines too). Thus I would suggest that a good title to does two things:

  1. Make it clear to a potential reader what area your question is in.

    Some of the really basic filtering is done through Tags, e.g. differentiating from , so you can and should be somewhat more specific.

  2. Make it sound interesting and make it obvious you've done basic research.

    Given a choice between a harder, well written question and a corresponding poor question I think most experts (i.e. the people you hope will answer) would pick the former.

The body

Once you've hooked someone in this is where the guts of the question lives. My expectation when reading a question is that the body is not a continuation of the title, instead it is the details and substance of the question. It should be free-standing and complete. An interesting title followed by no details in the body is almost always going to be disappointing to readers.

I don't recall ever reading a text book where the chapter/section titles are blended into the contents, or the only content. In my view in order to make your question a valuable part of a Q&A site (i.e. a useful reference for future readers) this should be the case here too.

The separation of content, presentation and structure in documents is generally seen as a good thing. The title of a question is a structural thing, the content is the body - don't blur the line between the two.

If you think you can ask a question in just the title alone then 99% of the time I think it's probably one or more of: not very interesting, not well researched or not well written. Odds are it'll attract close votes for:

  1. Too broad - e.g. "How is X implemented?"
  2. Duplicate - there are very few simple, sensible questions that haven't been asked already. Even if it it isn't a duplicate adding some examples would go along way.
  3. Not clear enough to answer
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    +1 Absolutely. Title and body are different things that serve different purposes. Each has a single responsibility, and their roles shouldn't be confused.
    – Kerrek SB
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 16:05
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    If you don't have context for your question to basically say why you are asking, you don't have a question! Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 17:31

Think of it this way: forcing people to fill in the message body trains people in the skill of writing doco and/or requirements. In the example you provided, you should have explained why you thought it was censored. Add some context to the question, because context can be vitally important. You may know exactly what you are talking about, but you are posting questions on an international forum but you cannot be sure that anyone else knows what you are talking about.

If your question truly fits within the title, then it is probably a very simple question with a very simple answer that you probably didn't need to ask.


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