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Way back in 2009, the question was posed:

Should language-specific questions contain the language name in the title?

I want to ask this again, but in a broader context. On Boardgames, some users feel that adding the game name to the start of every question is in fact a best practice, such as user Tom Au.

In general, I have taken the approach of respecting the original author's intention. However, a recent question was edited to follow this practice, and I would like to canvass wider opinion on the practice here.

The original question linked above, despite being marked as a FAQ, does not have a clear best answer, has very few votes, and is from the early days of Stack Overflow.

Do we have a community consensus on this? In general, is it better to add programming language, board games, or other general categories to titles (which would be also present as tags), or not? Should one edit an existing title one way or the other?

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The language/topic only belongs in the title if you can weave it in grammatically and sensibly. Otherwise, let the site automatically append the most popular tag for SEO reasons and be done with it. Focus on writing the best, most descriptive title possible, and leave the rest to the tag system and the question body. –  Cody Gray Aug 24 '11 at 16:52
    
I don't think there's any reason that adding the name to titles could not become the standard on Boardgames while simultaneously being unacceptable on SO. Perhaps this should also be raised on Meta.Boardgames? –  Josh Caswell Aug 24 '11 at 18:20
    
@Josh Caswell - We certainly could pick the standard either way, and there's no intrinsic reason to require continuity across sites. My question is more about what arguments there are one way or the other. I personally don't see what would make Boardgames 'special', to encourage this title convention, as compared to SO, or Gaming, for example. I could ask on meta.boardgames, but there is a lot more general experience here. –  ire_and_curses Aug 24 '11 at 19:37
    
Related: HOWTO: Writing good titles –  Pops Aug 25 '11 at 21:31
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This s*t is getting out of hand. –  Won't Sep 19 '11 at 14:26

5 Answers 5

Anything that exists as a tag - programming language, board game etc, should not usually be added into the title. There might be cases where this is important, but most of the time it's duplicate information.

Using a tag in the title is OK if it's a natural part of the question. So, for example, compare and contrast the following:

C#, LINQ - Concatenating strings

How do I concatenate strings using LINQ?

The latter is a proper question that just happens to use a tag. It's also a far better title for your question. (Thanks to Cody for the examples)

SE automatically adds the most popular tag (if one isn't already present) to the title attribute for SEO.

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I think including the language/topic/etc. in the title is okay, as long as you weave it into the sentence naturally and grammatically. For example, there's a big difference between C#, LINQ - Concatenating strings and How do I concatenate strings using LINQ?. –  Cody Gray Aug 24 '11 at 16:57
    
@Cody - I was thinking of making that point, but couldn't find the right phraseology. Mind if I steal it? –  ChrisF Aug 24 '11 at 18:07
    
I was actually going to edit it into your answer, but then I realized it might be putting words in your mouth. So, sure... steal away! –  Cody Gray Aug 24 '11 at 18:09

I've seen it edited out before, but never in. I don't think having it in is always bad, but there's no need to edit someone else's question for that when it's tagged appropriately.

Also, consider what happens when you have a question about multiple games. Do you stuff all of the names in the title? Try to come up with some sort of superset that doesn't give the wrong impression that it includes other games? (E.g., "In solitaire games other than Clock....")

I think it's better to leave it off and not bog down the title. The tags are designed for categorization; the question title is not.

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Headings come at the beginning of questions. Tags come at the end.

Sometimes there are short questions where this basically "doesn't matter" because one can see the tag at about the same time as the title.

On the other hand, it could be "jarring" to read a long question, think "what is this about?" and then finally come to the end to see a tag. Too many such experiences, and I might want to move to another site.

Our grade school teachers taught us that "heading" was important to get people to read your stuff. They probably knew what they were talking about, although admittedly, it may have less validity here than somewhere else. Even so, putting the game name in the heading is a good way to "put one's best foot forward," and separate members and non members of your audience at the beginning, rather than the end of the question.

In the rare instances that multiple games were involved, I'd indicate this fact in the heading and then list them in the first paragraph.

Maybe most people here feel that the idea has merit, but is not mandatory. If that's the sense I get (and I'm beginning to), I'll refrain from making this edit in the future.

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If you read a long question and think "what is this about?", then the question body is in need of significant improvement. Closing it until it's improved may even be warranted. –  Brad Mace Aug 24 '11 at 18:21
    
Perhaps we could add the code that works for SEO to the display of the question title. –  Chad Aug 25 '11 at 18:32

Please also consider that Tags are not shown in the RSS feeds for questions. Until they are (or are the summary text after, it's far more convenient for one tag to be in the question.

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SOMEBODY KILL ME

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