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This has probably been covered on every other SE site out there, but I don't know the answer, so I'm asking it here.

What do we do when a title and a question don't match (probably due to confusion on the part of the OP)? Especially when answers have already been provided that address either the title or the question, or maybe both...

The question I'm referring to is this one, with a title asking about the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, but the question itself asking about personal Bible interpretation. The OP has acknowledge that the question isn't really about Sola Scriptura... so it's not a question of differing definitions... it's just a question of "what do we do now?"

There's probably no reason to spell out all the possible courses of action, since there's probably a well-defined course of action from other SE sites. But just for the sake of completeness, I'll go ahead and mention the options I've thought of (there are likely others I haven't thought of):

  1. Leave everything as-is.

    Pros: It's easy. It makes the answers match the question (whether the answer addressed the title or the question).

    Cons: It makes searching difficult. If/when someone asks a question that is really about Sola Scripture, it may be erroneously closed as a duplicate.

  2. Re-title the question to match the question.

    Pros: Well, they would match.

    Cons: Makes some answers no longer match.

    Note: The question was retitled previously by me, but rolled back. This being the reason for the question in the first place.

  3. Re-form the question to match the title.

    Pros: They'll match.

    Cons: Some answers will no longer match, and it's probably more complicated than #2.

  4. Close the question as "Not a real question" or similar, and let the OP re-ask what he really meant.

    Pros: Title and question will match. Existing answers continue to match the title and question.

    Cons: More work for the OP and those who would answer.

4

The question in question is a hard case because it deals with different understanding of terms, let's deal with that one on it's own.

As a general rule I would advocate something like this.

  • Catch these early on and deal with them as soon as possible. Editing them early on can save a lot of trouble with scrambled answers later.
  • Edit with a mix and match your #2 and #3 solutions based on your best judgement about which was represents the intended question. There isn't a hard rule to this, different questions will err different ways. Often the question is not in the body at all, people just put background there. Sometimes the real question is there and the title is a mis-fire.
  • If you can't figure out pretty clearly what the question is, ask the OP to clarify via comments. Only if they take no action and it remains unclear should a close vote be cast.
1

Indeed, the scribes were not wrong in saying that they shouldn't have written "King of the Jews" they should have written "He said He was the King of the Jews".

I don't care if you edit it, but personally, I think it's OK (especially after I edited it with your suggestions, I do see how it was lacking in the original form I forgot to add "Be-all-end-all").

We have a similar problem on Gardening.SE where people want to identify plants and don't have enough info. We could edit the question forever, but adding too much clarity could make it harder to even know what question was being asked.

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