I know that I atleast have used witty or provocative (though not intentionally misleading) titles to catch the interest of community members here to help my question, and for my own enjoyment. I would like to know if this is allowed, and if it is looked down upon if it is allowed.

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    $\begingroup$ Get a PhD in mathematics using this one weird tip! $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting title... $\endgroup$
    – copper.hat
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ @rschwieb: I really detest those ads. A similar one is "Dermatologists, trainers, etc... hate him/her." Can't they come up with more effective come-ons? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ @TitoPiezasIII It's amazing that so many companies are pursuing this bizzare advertising method. I can't understand why anyone would click on such a link on purpose. Optimistically I could see this scheme fooling anyone at most once, suckers at most twice, and then nobody else forever. Seriously.... $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 18:42
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    $\begingroup$ The story of the evil behind these scams: theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/01/… $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 1:53
  • $\begingroup$ earlier (tangentially related): How should we treat subjective titles? $\endgroup$
    – Grigory M
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


There is nothing wrong in being witty.

But. Question titles should be descriptive. As the help message for the title field puts it

What's your math question? Be specific

That's especially important nowadays when there are lots and lots questions on Math.SE.

Good question titles are like (random examples from the current main page) 'If $f:X\to Y$ is continuous and surjective, and X is metrizable, so is Y?' or 'Continuous local martingale of finite variation is constant'.

In the past two months I've retitled much more questions with titles like 'Please help to solve' or 'Combinatorics question' than I would like. And honestly, I don't see how 'Elementary, my dear Watson' is better.


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