Sometimes I see posts (to wit, or this one) formatted as follows:


Why do colorless green ideas sleep furiously?



Why do colorless green ideas sleep furiously?

Sometimes the question at the end is slightly rephrased for clarity, while still being a semantic equivalent of the question in the title.

To me, it looks condescending (as if we cannot raise our eyes to the top of the page or scroll up), or smacks of cheap journalism, as if creating an additional aura of mystery.

Should we edit out those redundancies?

What's with repeating the question in the title at the end of the post?


Restating a question at the end of a speech is a fairly common rhetorical technique. It is not something seen only on our site.

Politicians do it all the time in their speeches. I sometimes feel that in their case it is because the audience has either fallen asleep or lost the will to live while the speech was going on and needs to be woken up.

Is it necessary? No. Should we do anything about it? Not necessarily. In written texts like our Q&A format, it serves no - or at least very little - purpose. Linguistic purists may always baulk at egregious verbosity but it is a fact of life.

Should you edit it out? If you wish. Especially if there are other elements in the post that can be improved upon. Editing for improvement is a key part of StackExchange. If there are no other elements to improve, then personally I wouldn't bother.

People whose posts are edited in this way always have the option of rolling the edit back.


As already said, a title is ment to be for searching and to give a general idea what it is about. In text the full question may/should be named. An no, this not the question text, that is ment to describe details.

Sometimes the question at the end is slightly rephrased for clarity, while still being a semantic equivalent of the question in the title.

With this question it would have been, in fact, a good idea. As of now, the title "What's with repeating the question in the title at the end of the post?" is somewhat opinionated, which my not be a good idea at all. Somethign along the lines of "Should questions from the/a title be repeated within (the body)" is a more neutral version holding just the topic. Less opinion.

Equaly important, not every title is already a full figured question. A question may be about a uite specific detail, that hardly can be formulated in the title at all - at least not with keeping it generaly understood. So while in simple cases title and question are the seame, is has not to be that way all over.

To me, it looks condescending (as if we cannot raise our eyes to the top of the page or scroll up),

Let's be honest. We can not. People ignore context, or interprete context of a single sentence within a paragraph often quite different. Just yesterday a question gave a nice example.

This goes hand in hand with many 'answers' not realy answering the question. And that's not just all these 'I had a C64' type 'answers' when the question was about something else, more specific. There are as well many answers where people write about topics that haen't been asked at all.

Thus, having the question within the body again is a great way to help focus.

or smacks of cheap journalism,

I very much understand that argument, as formulating intentional questions

as if creating an additional aura of mystery.

Ok, I have a hard time to understand this, how is repeating the question, especially if reformated creating a mystery?

Should we edit out those redundancies?

No. They are usually helpful to focus. Especially if the text contains even more questions (or parts) that may invite to tie in an answer, often making his answer missing the central point.

Personally I even enjoy having the question repeated - at best if in context - as this allows me to directly respond. I don't see RC as a medium to write lengthy essays, but to directly respond to questions in a close way - sure, it often includes the need for some wider background, still, I want to stay close to what has been asked and a (main) question (plus subquestions) is a great help to build an answer.

Would editing all questions and repeating the title at the end be a good idea, in your opinion?

(From a comment by Leo B.)

No, as always, it's a matter of context. If a questions body is just like a short paragraph, including what has been mentioned in the title, there is no need for a repetition. On the other hand, if there are line several citations, many explanation and whatsoever, a clearly reformed question should be included. YMMV.

On a more general level

I do have an issue with editing questions (beside adding or removing tags and obvious spelling (*1)). They represent what is asked, from the PO's viewpoint and in his words - which may be revealing in itself. Changeing it does alter this in one way or another, manipulatin the intend. Our 'job' is to answer what has been askend, not make questions the way we want them.

I a question is missleading, I usually act in one of two wa: Asking for clarification, or formulating the answer to cover all variations (I see within). Sometimes both. When asking for clarification, I want it to be done by the OP. Only if he describes details in comments, I may use them to edit the question. But more often than not, I will just incooperate that comment into my answer as if it was part of the question. Sure, it might be better to incooperate it into the original question. Just I do hesitate.

Now if a question does include the 'title' part again, I see it als clarification to focus, and therefore a great addition.

Having said that, there may ofc be a class of questions where it's just ridivoulous. Like 'How many Bits has a Byte on a 6502' as title and then without much other text repeated within the body. This is ofc redundant. On the other hand, if that question contains a lot of other information about bytes and quotes or whatsoever, even a simple one like this helps focus again at the end of all of that text.

Bottom line: No, less editing of questions, and no (general) deletion of these 'repeats'.

*1 - In case of questions we need to be carful not to change the intended meaning, so better not if in doubt - in case of my writings, I'm more than glad for any correction of my cathastophic spelling :))


I am guilty of this. Sometimes it is as simple as "all the info required to answer the question is in the question and it's still really short" but most of the time it's a lazy writing device. Writing is hard, and if I don't have to worry about how to end a question so it sounds ended I can focus more on writing a clear middle bit. You can't really do that with answers.

Filler filler filler filler filler filler filler?

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