Sometimes our site gets questions where the asker doesn't know what something is and provides a picture. As a site, we have come to the understanding that these types of questions are acceptable as long as the text of the question provides a description and detail.

My question is related. Once the answer is known (accepted or highly voted), should the title of the question be drastically changed to describe what was being asked about?


Changing the title makes it clear what the question was about for future visitors.


Making a drastic change to the title can also make it seem like a completely different question. Someone just stumbling upon the question may be confused as to why a person had such a specific title (e.g. why did they need to ask?)

Some candidates (with possible new titles):
What is this screwdriver bit, and what is its purpose? (Is there a screwdriver bit for wingnuts?)
Name of spring actuated component (No idea...)

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for the suggestion, but ... "meh." There's a bit of an expectation for SE questions to remain as they were prior to any answers being delivered. Future visitors can then expect "Here's the question at hand, here's the answers that were provided." Editing titles / questions kind of invalidates that expectation. Likewise, those edits can throw off search engine optimization where people are asking "What is the name of this Foo..." $\endgroup$ – user16 Mar 23 '16 at 2:16
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't the search engine going to index the answer as well as the question, so it would find the name? $\endgroup$ – Ethan48 Mar 23 '16 at 4:18
  • $\begingroup$ I guess moreover, people with the same question aren't going to search for it by its proper name right, but rather by some descriptors they know? $\endgroup$ – Ethan48 Mar 23 '16 at 4:19
  • $\begingroup$ Someone looking for a wing nut driver who does not know that it is a wing nut driver yet will most likely not find the post. Knowing the name the user wouldn't find the post either (and why would the user want to?) since there are a lot more useful results containing these words. I would estimate the benefit of this type of question lies heavily with the original poster rather than some visitor with the same problem. So I'd leave the title be. $\endgroup$ – idkfa Mar 23 '16 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ If the title was "what is this Y-shaped screwdriver bit" I suspect some people would find it by search. $\endgroup$ – Ethan48 Mar 24 '16 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ But this is not the question's title and neither is this description in the text. I'm unsure where you stand on this, would you want to change the title to something more useful like your suggestion or leave it be? I'd agree that edits in this direction could benefit the searchability. $\endgroup$ – idkfa Mar 24 '16 at 16:02

No, we shouldn't change the title. As you say, that can lead to confusion for future visitors and can make the original author look stupid.

Another reason for not changing the title is that we want both the question and the answer to be searchable. If the problem is that few people know the right name for the thing being identified, then we want the original description to be a search hit.

It could be helpful to edit the best answer to put the official name of the thing in bold or in a title, but only within that answer.

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