6

While using the collection of SE sites that I participate in, I've discovered various reasons about why the title of a question is, IMO, extremely important. Just consider the very first feature you see at work when you type the title when posting a new question (ie the Questions that may already have your answer that show up, dynamically, while you type).

So as per the title of this question (oeps!): What are the criteria for a high quality question title? If you were to write something like guidelines about the perfect question title, what would those guideine be?

If you wonder why I ask (or don't think it really matters), how about these pseudo-random picks (in a random order):

  1. Loadbalancing nexus artifact repository
  2. What is a 'Feature Flag Toggle' and when to use them (or not)?
  3. Ansible Dynamic Inventory - generate inventory with ip addresses under specific tag with underscore instead of dot
  4. Problem in integrating Travis-CI with core PHP projects
  5. What's the difference between checkin and checkout?
  6. Simple CI/CD Containers in AWS
  7. How do I run ansible on one host at a time and break on a failure

PS 1: This may be a question that may be a better fit for meta.SE. Anybody wiling to do so: go ahead and migrate it to over there ...

PS 2: did my question content (more or less) match your expection before you actually opened/read it? If not: what else did you expect this question to be about?

3
  • related
    – Tensibai
    Mar 6 '17 at 12:43
  • @Tensibai indeed "related", but my question is specifically about the title of any question, while the related answer does not even include the word "title". FYI: "after lunch" (how was yours?), I plan to post my own answer to this question, in which I plan to include (constructive) critique to some of the 7 questions I linked to and to also share some of my recommendations to pick a title.
    – Pierre.Vriens Mod
    Mar 6 '17 at 12:49
  • Lunch was good thanks ;) I'm on my way writing an answer.
    – Tensibai
    Mar 6 '17 at 12:55
4

My advice for a good title is to summarize as precisely as possible what the question is about the way you may ask it to a colleague.

So you may wish to be precise and avoid too long titles or to mimic a book title, main goal behind this, is that search engines are more likely to present your question as search result if it match what you would have asked.

From your list of examples (which I didn't open to stay on the tittle only as far as I can):

  • Links 1 and 7 sounds ok to me.

  • The 2 has the problem of being a question and its follow up question, I'd argue it worth two question so answers stay focused on one thing and get more details.
    The tittle is descriptive enough.

  • 3 start with its tags and is super long, I'd write it as "How can I generate inventory by a tag with underscores in Ansible Dynamic Inventory" and extend the details in the question itself. That would be more straight to the point with still the important information.

  • 4 give no idea of what the problem is, sounds begging for a tutorial about travis and PHP (and was more or less the case if I remember it well)

  • 5 It miss a subject to narrow it, are we talking about code, organization time management, issue time metric ?

  • 6 Says what technology it is about, but it's not obvious if it's about a configuration problem, a technical problem, a process problem or a call to advices/How to.

As is, only with he title there's only one I have an idea how to reword, for the others, I'd have to open the question and deduct/guess what the author has in mind.

For reference, Jon Skeet's blog entry about how to write a good question has valuable informations.

4
  • Hm, looks like you have pretty similar opinions on this like me, merci! Though I think there is a conflict in your answer for "5." (is it realy "OK", as in your first bullet?). If you can/want (some day, no rush), can you think of a few "commandements" you could add to your answers that someone could use as a guide for creating a question title that would, for sure, get Tensibai's pre-approval?
    – Pierre.Vriens Mod
    Mar 6 '17 at 13:17
  • @Pierre.Vriens indeed, at first glance it sounded ok, thinking more about it while writing made me found a glitch about it.
    – Tensibai
    Mar 6 '17 at 13:20
  • 1
    If this was a test (oeps) to verify my QA-reading of answers, then I trust you agree that the test succeeded, i.e. because my first QA-reading of your answer resulted in a valid failure ... I bet there is yet another DevOps thing (term, procedure, whatever) for this also ... and no "I" will not post that as a new question ... to avoid I run into a B37-abend (oep, that's mainframe speak, and possible DevOps topic, not many users around here will understand).
    – Pierre.Vriens Mod
    Mar 6 '17 at 13:27
  • I've fighted with zOS long ago and indeed forgotten a whole bunch of terms. We only have RPG as 'proprietary'' languages here and the QA is handled by a specific team. I don't think there's something specific to devops, Quality Acceptance is still Quality Acceptance, whatever the teams/company organization is.
    – Tensibai
    Mar 6 '17 at 13:33

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