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I occasionally go on a link-click binge through the linked-and-related questions sidebar. This past-time has led me to several interesting questions with exemplary answers, and I'm sure I've learned a lot of trivia and several elegant proofs by doing this.

However it would be impossible for me to favorite every one of those questions from which I benefited without making it more difficult for me to find by sifting through my favorites (why is there not a search capability for just my favorites?). Thus to my occasional detriment, I don't. However, every now and again I want to go back to that 'one question' with that 'one answer' I vaguely recall. Sometimes someone asks a new question which is a duplicate of that one I remember. And occasionally I see a new question, and I remember an old one that the new asker will surely benefit from.

So, I go on a search. Then I get annoyed. And then it turns into a hell-hunt. And if I don't find it, I give up exasperated.

The one invariable quality that each of these questions that beat me have is a terrible title. This question is the most recent one that made me play hide-and-seek. There are several questions on this site that ask the same thing, and this is definitely a duplicate; however, it was the answer that I was pursuing. It has been my favorite answer for this particular problem. I've now favorited it, but I know this will happen in the future. So my question is:

Is it appropriate to edit the title of old, dead questions to make them easier to find?

I see a couple of downsides to doing this:

  • I bump an old question into the active queue that has been resolutely answered
  • I risk disrespecting the original author by questioning their titling abilities

But also I can think of a couple pros:

  • It will be easier for people who happened on it by chance to find it later on
  • Giving it a more descriptive and fitting title could decrease the probability of having a question repeated (the "Questions that may already have your answer" list seems to work with titles)
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  • $\begingroup$ Related: Retitling Questions: a modest proposal. Even "closed as duplicate" Q's can be beneficially retitled, if it makes them easier to find. Theory is keeping the dups helps with searching, so titles that help searching are in the spirit of this. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Jul 26 '14 at 14:32
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why is there not a search capability for just my favorites?

There is. Use infavorites:mine parameter. This and other advanced search operators are listed here.

Is it appropriate to edit the title of old, dead questions to make them easier to find?

Yes. It is appropriate to improve the content of the site, including titles. When doing so, please consider also improving the tags and body of the post (spelling, TeX, other formatting.)

Generally, it is advisable to edit only a few posts in a row, to avoid flooding the front page with rapid-fire edits. (Although, if you take time to improve the formatting, the edits will probably not be rapid-fire.)

I risk disrespecting the original author by questioning their titling abilities

The greater risk is in not doing what is right for the fear of offending someone.

I edited dozens of titles in recent weeks, and haven't gotten a single objection yet. Although the author of this post could be unhappy with my edit: the original title was deemed funny enough to be rewarded with 7 upvotes.

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