The title for Is there a formula for this? is currently "Is there a formula for this?"

Obviously, this doesn't describe the problem at all, except to say that the OP is looking for a formula. It might as well not have a title. Should this question be renamed so that future users with the same question can easily a) find it, b) recognise it when they see it?

I would rename it myself, but I don't have the language to describe what the OP is asking for.

In general, should questions like this one be renamed?

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    $\begingroup$ The fact that titles should be informative was discussed a few time. In fact there is also a comment template for this and this is mentioned in How can I ask a good question?. Some past discussions: Is it okay to edit titles of questions by other users to make them more descriptive?, More informative titles ... $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2018 at 7:18
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    $\begingroup$ ... or Consider giving better titles to the questions you answered… especially right after you answer them. Your question is perhaps slightly different since you specifically ask about old questions. $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2018 at 7:18
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    $\begingroup$ Many users actively try to edit titles into better shape. You can find using SEDE many edits that make title more descriptive or more informative. (The linked queries show edits where edit summary contains the word descriptive/informative. I am not sure how to modify to get also date of the edit, so that we could check the time gap.) $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2018 at 7:22
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    $\begingroup$ Is it worth editing only the title of such an old question (since that brings it back to the front page)? Or should you wait until it has come back to the front page for some other reason to also edit the title. $\endgroup$
    – GEdgar
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 12:13
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    $\begingroup$ I've edited the title to something more specific. The title doesn't have to be a problem statement, much less a comprehensive one. Informal language is fine as long as it gives Readers some idea of what the Question is about. Nonspecific titles are bad for that reason. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath Much better! I knew it was bad, but didn't know how to make it good. $\endgroup$
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 20:31
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    $\begingroup$ @GEdgar: I would say it is. One of this site's motives for existence if to be a repository; bad titles definitely hamper such goal. And, on top of that, users are supposed to avoid posting duplicates, so again good titles make the site a lot better. And, in any case, the front page fills so quickly these days that I'm not sure if it makes a difference. $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2018 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak: That SEDE query shows that I seem to have cornered the market on title-editing lately! :) I mostly only do that for generic titles in new posts as I come across them. However, I sometimes update old titles when a new question is a duplicate or related, thinking that, if the old question had been more-easily-searchable/identifiable, then the new questioner might've been disinclined to make a redundant post; the consequent "bump" in such cases seems like it might actually be helpful in drawing attention to the fact that this type of question has been asked over and over again. $\endgroup$
    – Blue
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Blue Well, many users edit titles, probably many of them to make them more informative - but without mentioning this explicitly in the edit summary. Here is another very simplistic query. (To show also a date of last activity, I would have to look into two separate tables. So it's ordered simply by creation date.) In any case, thanks for your work on improving the posts on this site. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


Yes, there is no such thing as "obsolete question" on the SE. If you can improve a post, question or answer, then improve. It doesn't matter, how old it is.

If you edit a question title, or make any minor change, then it is strongly adviced to fix also any other problems in the post, if there is.

However, editing a post bumps it to the homepage, thus don't edit too much old questions in a single rush. (The same problem can happen also in large retagging tasks.)

<2000 users can have at most 5 pending edit suggestions (20 on beta sites), however it is generally discouraged to regularly fill this limit.

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    $\begingroup$ I think the opposite is more true: there are classic questions that are of continuing interest, but most questions on this site are idiosyncratic to the person asking the question, and as such if they are several years old there is usually not much reason to edit them. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 2:18
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlMummert Sorry for the late reaction. If a question is bad, vote down. If it is unsalvageable, flag as VLQ. If you have more than 10000 or 20000 reputation and the score is negative, you may also vote for deletion. However, my own impression is that the community votes mainly unfairly, my own - in my opinion, pretty okay - questions were closed and downvoted (example) and I see that a more serious problem as that we have also unhandled crap posts. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 21:18

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