I ran across this question. As usual it had a very boring title. Namely,

"How to solve this system of equations??"

Usually I'd edit away the superfluous question mark, but I was quickly informed that a title without the extra question mark already existed. So I picked a different title.

I was genuinely surprised by this, could this mean that the repetitive punctuation common to level 1's is partly to blame on a saturation of available titles? This would be interesting as I always thought these extra "!"'s and "?"'s were just desperate attempts at getting extra attention.

Could there be a more fundamental problem underlying this? Maybe we should encourage more useful titles, not only for attracting views, but also for avoiding running out of useful available titles.

  • $\begingroup$ Don't worry about it. Since the days of yore people have been using "boring titles" that describe very little of the problem inside. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Jun 28, 2015 at 5:42
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Maybe everyone should avoid what you call "standard titles" (a subset of what I call "bad titles"). The superfluous punctuation mark wasn't the problem, the problem was that the title was not descriptive enough. $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2015 at 7:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Najib I was surprised that the Op put the extra punctuation in because the other version was already taken. Although yes, that wouldn't have been a problem if a more unique title had been used. $\endgroup$
    – Zach466920
    Jun 28, 2015 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


The title was not only vague, but misleading: one is not asked to solve the system of equations, but rather find $x^2+y^2+z^2$ from them. I would go with

Find $x^2+y^2+z^2$ from three quadratic equations for $x,y,z$

considering that the system was a bit too long for the title. ("How to" adds no information).

Yes, we should encourage descriptive titles by editing poor titles and perhaps leaving comments with a link to How to write a good title.

There is also an automatic check that detects poor titles and shows a warning linking to the same article. It probably helps to reduce the number of "please help me with this problem" titles, but invariably, some users don't read anything on the screen when they are posting a question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 I'll definitely use the link in the future. $\endgroup$
    – Zach466920
    Jun 28, 2015 at 2:09

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