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I was browsing through the tags on Gaming.SE to see if I could add any tag wiki excerpts (y'know, with the new tagging system and all), and I noticed some of the excerpts began with capital letters, and some didn't. I thought this might have been specific to Gaming for some reason, so I checked Meta Stack Overflow's tags, and, similar to Gaming's tags, some entries began with capital letters and some didn't. However, I found that Stack Overflow's tag wiki excerpts almost always seem to begin with lowercase letters (unless, of course, they began with a proper noun).

I feel all the tag wiki excerpts should be consistent (especially now that they're shown when tagging questions), so my question is should the first letter of tag wiki excerpts be capitalized or not?

To capitalize or to not capitalize, that is the question.

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i do see the answer below about the automatic stripping of the tag description but in both examples above the first phrases of the description are sentence fragments; i would say that if the consensus is to capitalize them, then the descriptions should be re-worked to be complete sentences. and yes i realize the irony of me commenting on anything regarding capitalization. :P ♡ –  shelleybutterfly Aug 10 '11 at 4:12
    
in light of random's comment below i did a bit of searching and i think this is another rule of which the strength was a bit, shall we say, overemphasized to me in school... i hereby revise my above statement: change 'then the description should be re-worked' -> 'then my personal stylistic preference would be that the description be re-worked' –  shelleybutterfly Aug 10 '11 at 4:38

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

They should be and usually are.

What you're seeing in those examples are poor tag wiki excerpts wherein the tag itself is mentioned again to explain what that tag is about.

Because of the redundancy of such they are automatically stripped from showing up on the tags page leaving some to appear without a starting capital.

Example where the tag is repeated right at the start and its removal will leave you with a lowercase starting word:

Durian
Durian is a magically delicious fruit that will leave your senses in awe and your knees quaking.

Fix it up to something snappier like:

Durian
Magically delicious fruit that will leave your senses in awe and your knees quaking.

When you see such chop shop works, it's your chance to go in and make that tag excerpt better. Take out the fluff and bone in right to what the tag is and what it's used for on the site.

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Why should your second example start with an initial capital? It's not a complete sentence, it's just a short phrase. Traditionally in the English language, phrases do not start with capital letters or end with periods. (I agree that I like it better than the first, I'm just not sure why we treat something that isn't a sentence like a sentence.) –  Cody Gray Aug 10 '11 at 4:16
    
So "Magically delicious..." would be preferred over "A magically delicious..."? –  Kevin Y Aug 10 '11 at 21:52
    
Better be safe and not start with "a", "the", "this" and its ilk. @kev –  random Aug 10 '11 at 22:08
    
@random - why not? –  Raven Dreamer Aug 12 '11 at 18:02
    
If you're going the way of a sentence fragment anyway, cut to the chase @rav –  random Aug 12 '11 at 18:28

Yes. I would vote for sentences to begin with capital letters in the tag wiki excerpts.

I think the sentences should start with capital letter in my opinion. I try to follow the same whenever I edit a post. The same rule that applies to the post should also be applicable to tag wiki excerpts.

If you look at the sentences written in MSO faq, SO faq and other SE faq sections, they all begin with capital letters. I think we should follow the same rule for the site wide content.

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If they're complete sentences, then yes, because the first letter of a sentence is capitalized. Thus, the second example in the question is quite obviously incorrect.

But if they're not complete sentences, then not necessarily. It's a matter of style, but often short phrases do not start with an initial capital.

If you want to make the rule that the first letter of tag wiki excerpts should be capitalized, then you should start by making the rule that tag wiki excerpts be written in complete sentences. The capitalization rule would then necessarily follow from that.

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2  
Even sentence fragments should start with a capital letter –  random Aug 10 '11 at 4:20
    
+1 Cody for clearly having a wonderful of a sense of style, and +1 @random for reminding me that i was taught a lot of things in elementary school that weren't quite as cut and dry as i was led to believe... :D –  shelleybutterfly Aug 10 '11 at 4:48

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