The whole point of stack exchange is that it is a Q&A style site, and an overwhelming majority of questions have a question as a title. This is surely a nit-picky thing but it really bugs me when titles aren't questions.


  1. Is this something that bothers anyone else?
  2. Is this something that WB moderators should fix?
  3. If yes, then should previous questions be adjusted or only future ones?

3 Answers 3


Do the titles of questions need to be in question format?

When asked that way, I think the answer is pretty obvious: no, there is no requirement for question titles to themselves be written as questions. Sometimes, it might even be so that doing so would be impractical.

However, question titles should be clear and to the point.

I know we get questions occasionally that have "witty" titles. I've edited a few of those myself. Consider the title box placeholder text: What's your worldbuilding question? Be specific.

Question titles should allow readers to, at a glance, tell what the question is about. Exactly what this means will be context-dependent (tags, for example, can add context to a question title) but I find that in practice, a good test for whether something makes a good question title is: would you type it, or a close variation of it, into a search engine if you were looking for the answer?

The question title and the first few sentences from the post is what someone sees on the front page, on the questions page, in search results, etc. etc. etc. In the Hot Network Questions list, the site logo and the question title is all that someone sees. My opinion is that we should be using that space to give readers as good an idea as possible of what the question is actually about.

Is this something that bothers anyone else?

Well, yes, it bothers me, so it does bother at least someone else.

Is this something that WB moderators should fix?

No. Not because we are diamond moderators on the site, at least. This is perfectly within the capabilities of the community to handle on its own. (That doesn't mean we won't fix what we perceive as a poor question title if we come across it, but it wouldn't be in the course of moderating the site.)

Think of us diamond moderators as janitors and/or human exception handlers. A poor title, regardless of what one means by "a poor title", is not an exception; just like other aspects of clarifying the content of a post, it's something that any user on the site can propose improvements to.

If yes, then should previous questions be adjusted or only future ones?

If the only problem with a previous question is that it has a less than perfect title, I would say that you can edit the title if you believe you can make it substantially better and the question is still on the front page. Avoid small editing if the question is no longer on the front page, and avoid mass edits, especially but not only of old posts; keep in mind that editing a post bumps its question to the top of the front page, crowding out more recently added content.

If the title is the question's only problem, and it's no longer on the front page, I'd say don't worry too much about it. The bad title probably didn't hurt too much in the grand scheme of things.

If you are substantially editing other aspects of the question, and that question happens to have a poor title which you feel you're able to improve at the same time, then by all means go ahead just like you would with similar edits elsewhere.


No, titles do not need to be questions.

You're right that this is a Q&A site, but there is no requirement that titles are questions. The help center articles about asking questions specify what you should do when asking questions, but I can't find any title requirements.

It can sometimes help when a title is a question: question titles often have very clear meaning - but if someone wants to name their post something else, that's OK.

It is, in fact, sometimes a good thing: there are some questions that just can't be simplified to a single-sentence question to go in a title.


  • If a title is going to be a question, it should be a grammatically correct question. "How to blow up a planet?" is not a correct question. "How to blow up a planet" - no question mark - is, as is "How can I blow up a planet?".
  • A title should give some indication as to what the question is about. Even if you're trying to give your question a fun name, include in that name some mention of the content of the question.

I use the above points as criteria for editing titles. They are not reasons to downvote (unless the entire post is really bad quality), but are things that should be fixed.

So, to answer your specific questions:

  • It only bothers me if there's another problem with the title - in which case it should be edited.
  • It's fine as it is and doesn't need fixing.
  • See second answer (but if you want to improve posts, please do - just edit them).

All that said, I'm glad to see you're interested in getting the quality here to be better. If you think you can improve on a title, please do submit an edit.


Titles written as questions bother me. The title is not the title of the question, it's the title of the whole page, including the answers. There's something weird about using a question as a title for answers.

Nonetheless, it's ok sometimes to have titles phrased as questions, in the same way that articles are sometimes titled for the question they seek to answer. But don't overdo it. Never mangle a title just for the sake of making it a question.

There is some good advice in the title FAQ on the main meta. Summarizing it, keep in mind that:

  • The title is the first, and often only, thing that people see. It needs to make it obvious what the question is about. Note that people won't always see the tags, so don't leave out information on the basis that it's implied by the tag.
  • Keep it short. Often people will scan through a list of titles.
  • Lead with the most important word, because some readers will drop off. This is where questions phrased as titles often fail — they start with boilerplate like “how can I” (best avoided) or “what is the best way to” (completely useless). Non-question titles can fail too — leading with “best way to” would be bad too.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can't say I agree with this, given the whole q+a format where the title is written as part of the question, but you do make some good points. $\endgroup$
    – ArtOfCode
    May 9, 2015 at 17:39

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