I was just looking at FrostFyre's comment against this question and it occurred to me that it's already articulated in a manner in which I would've written it.

I don't see any reason why the title shouldn't articulate the question itself, and you then use the body of the post to set your scene, show your research to date and provide sufficient boundary to the scope.

Is there a specific reason that we should ask posters to reiterate their question in the body if the title is an adequate formulation of it?

I'm of the view that the answer should be no, but I'm happy to be proven wrong if there's a good reason for the contrary position. The only possible reason I can think of (not being a mobile consumer of SE) is that the title may not be as prominent in certain smaller interfaces, like mobile.

  • $\begingroup$ Unsure, but that question doesn't need a body. Or an answer. Just that comment to Wiki. - That's what happens when you assume the title is a proper formation of the body. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Apr 7 '18 at 4:52

The main reason why I think it is useful to repeat the question in the body of your post is that some questions can be really long. My questions for example are often quite long and that will lead to people already forgetting what I am asking about when they are at the end of my post. Being reminded of the question without having to scroll is nice and being nice to potential answerers is important to make the potential answerers feel like they want to answer my question.

It doesn't hurt to repeat yourself in the post, but it's helpful for people reading your post. I've also seen posts (mainly from new users) where the OP posted a long title and the body was just "Question in the title", which feels extremely lazy. This leads me to a slight feeling of laziness when reading posts that don't repeat their question in the body. I prefer to write a short(er) title and then explain the details in my post with a repetition at the end - and I prefer to read such a format, too.

Here is an example of one of my own questions:

How to realistically create a bow that's also two one-handed swords? repeats the question at the end in a slightly wordier way:

How would you realistically create a bow that can be reassembled so that you can fight with two one-handed swords?

I think we should encourage people to reiterate their question in the body even if the title is an adequate formulation of it.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting take and I hadn't thought of it that way but yes; that's definitely a good reason to do so. It also acts like a double check that what they really want to ask is clear enough that the title (that's usually typed first) and the reiteration (usually typed after all the background) correlate. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Apr 5 '18 at 9:50
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    $\begingroup$ I have observed there is a reasonable number of WB participants who evidently lack close reading skills. The question needs to be repeated otherwise they're likely to miss it. $\endgroup$ – a4android Apr 5 '18 at 13:02
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    $\begingroup$ I'd also say that repeating the question in the body has no downsides, so it's something we should recommend even if the benefits are variable. $\endgroup$ – walrus Apr 5 '18 at 14:49

While I agree that a question can be located solely in the title, getting the format of the body right to accommodate that decision can be tricky.

In this particular case, the body of the question provides a significant amount of "this is what I have" information, but doesn't identify any stumbling blocks or problems that need to be overcome. Looking back to the title, it's unclear how the question therein relates to the body.

While my ability to concentrate and piece together information varies from day to day (and sometimes comment to comment), looking back now, I'm still having trouble understanding what the OP is looking for.

This is why I made the comment in the first place.

  • $\begingroup$ Fair point; I should say at the outset this question is not a criticism, merely an attempt to determine good question formation for my own mind when considering VTCs. I think based on answers so far the test is one of coherence. It's less of an issue if it's a simple question with relevant background in the body but if you can't find a common thread then the restatement requires the poster to revisit his or her original premise. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Apr 5 '18 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @TimBII I wasn't taking it as criticism; I just wanted to be clear why I made the comment, which would have taken longer than a comment would have allowed. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Apr 5 '18 at 14:15
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    $\begingroup$ More so than an issue of being able to concentrate, it's also an issue of linguistics. Lots of people on Stack Exchange has a first language other than English. When you have to actively think to understand what you're reading, that diminishes your ability to keep multiple things on your mind at once. Reiterating the question is a small step that can help those people, at very little cost to the person asking the question. Expanding the pool of possible respondents is never a bad thing; just because someone isn't great with English doesn't mean they can't make useful contributions. $\endgroup$ – user Apr 6 '18 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ This. Reiterating the question forces you to put the question in context of all the other information you present. It makes you form the connection between the background and your question, and that connection is your point of confusion (a missing piece of information, something that seems paradoxical, etc.). That leads not only to better presentation, but also better questions. This is true across Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ – jpmc26 Apr 8 '18 at 19:14

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