Writing better titles to get a faster response from the Community

Before going forward, remember: these tips aren’t rules. They are just… tips! Using them is your choice and not using them doesn’t get you disqualified from getting answers.

We aren’t a community of experts; we’re a community of learners. We understand if you’re panicking and lost and just want some help. Don’t let these guidelines stop you from asking questions.

I believe what follows will help you if you consider it your duty to help others in helping you.


4 tips for writing a good title:

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when writing the title of a new topic:

1. Make it unique. Aim to create topic titles that will be unique to your problem. Using unique topic titles ensures that your topic doesn’t get “lost”.

Unique topic titles will contain the name of the error, the name of the function or method that is causing the error, or even the kind of manipulation you’re trying to do.

I encourage you to not use titles like “Code not working”, “Solution not being accepted”, “Need help in the 1st course”, or “Please help me out”. Use the title space to very specifically describe your problem.

2. Length of title. There’s a 255-character limit to the length of topic titles in our Community. This means that your title can be almost 50 words in length. But that’s too long. I recommend that you keep it limited to one sentence with 15-20 words at most.

Pretend you’re talking to an extremely busy coworker, and you need to sum up the problem in one sentence. What do you need to include that is imperative to understanding the problem?

3. Tags as an extension of the title. Tags are shown in every place that the title is shown. That’s why I suggest that you think about tags as an extension of the title.

When asking a technical question, you should use at least one tag to specify the exact technology you’re working with: python, R, SQL, numpy, pandas, etc.

4. The first paragraph of your question is more important than you realize. It’s visible when someone hovers above your title in the Community feed. That’s why you may want to write it with the goal of attracting the right people to interact with your thread.

A good rule of thumb to see if you’ve got it perfect is making sure that your title + the first paragraph are enough for a Community member to be able to figure out if they’re capable of helping you.

That’s why, when you’re asking a technical question, always introduce your problem first and then give us examples of code.

9 Likes