Writing better titles to get 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 are not a community of experts; we are a community of learners. We understand if you are 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, name of the function or method that is causing the error or even the kind of manipulation you are trying to do.

I’ll encourage you to not use titles like “Code not working” or “Solution not being accepted” or “need help in the 1st course”. 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. We recommend that you keep it limited to one sentence with 15-20 words.

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 at. That is why I suggest that you think about tags as an extension of the title.

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

4. First paragraph of your question is more important than you realise - it is visible when someone hovers above your title in the Community feed. That is 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 is enough for a community member to be able to figure out if she is capable of helping you.

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


Practical examples:

Less helpful title Tips for making it more helpful
“Why does this code not work”/ “Code not working” using tag debug-help instead and using the title space to better summarise your personal problem
“Please help me out”/ “I’m not able to run my code, please help” We want to help you! Use the tag help and use the title space to tell us how we can help your particular case
“I think there is a bug in xxx” / “Is there a bug in xxx” using tag bug and using the title space to describe what you think is a possible bug
“Reporting a Typo I have found” using tag typo and using the title space to give a brief description of the typo
“Suggestion to improve xxx” using tag feedback and using the title space to summarise your exact suggestion
“Possible problem with the Python course, not working” using tags Python , dataquest-platform , bug and using the title space to summarise the exact problem

Are there some other tips that will help you in answering questions in the Community? Let us know in the replies below!

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