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On the Home Improvement site we try really hard to fix spelling, grammar, and capitalization mistakes in question titles in order to avoid the broken-windows feel. But occasionally someone enters a question with an all-lowercase title (example).

It would be useful if the system could nudge the user toward capitalizing titles property by showing a hint when the user appears to be capitalizing incorrectly. For instance:

nudge mockup

As Bart and BoltClock's a Unicorn note in comments, the feature should also try to detect and advise against Title Case and ALL CAPS.

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+1, but short => should. Also, needs freehand circles :) –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Aug 2 '12 at 14:06
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Wow, you are the fastest photoshopper in the west :) –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Aug 2 '12 at 14:08
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+1 for invisible freehand circles. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Aug 2 '12 at 14:10
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Oh, can we then please include something which advices against Title Case? –  Bart Aug 2 '12 at 14:10
    
I like the idea of "Nudging" the user rather than doing it automatically. Too many people need to learn to do this stuff right, IMHO, as more people will take them seriously if they make an attempt at improving grammar. –  jmort253 Aug 2 '12 at 14:18
    
@Bart - Title Case is actually recommended in titles as a good writing practice for getting attention from potential readers. However, I only suggest it when the question is an actual title with no more than 4 to 5 words; otherwise, it does look kind of funny. –  jmort253 Aug 2 '12 at 14:20
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@jmort253: Useful titles are frequently longer than 4–5 words. In order to encourage real questions as titles (as opposed to vague topic words that are mostly restating the tags), we have avoided Title Case on the DIY site. Is there a network-wide consensus? –  Vebjorn Ljosa Aug 2 '12 at 14:24
    
No, not that I'm aware of. I just try to make them neat, searchable, readable... –  jmort253 Aug 2 '12 at 14:25
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@Bart What Do You Have Against Title Case? –  slhck Aug 2 '12 at 14:38
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@slhck: As jmort253 pointed out, Title Case doesn't work well with long titles. (This is why scientific journal articles, which often have long titles, typically do not use Title Case even in the United States.) We should welcome long, descriptive, specific titles rather than short, nonspecific topics. –  Vebjorn Ljosa Aug 2 '12 at 14:44
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I know, I should have added the </sarcasm> tag. Sorry. –  slhck Aug 2 '12 at 14:44
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@ErnestFriedman-Hill: He most likely used Firebug or Developer Tools to directly modify the page. –  Chris Laplante Aug 2 '12 at 14:58
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@jmort253 Titles are usually questions over here and not really titles. I think on SO/SE title case is better avoided altogether. Let's pick a style and stick to it. Most uses of title case over here are abuse rather than use. –  Bart Aug 2 '12 at 15:27
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@BART: NOT TO MENTION ALL CAPS TITLES AS WELL BECAUSE I'M RUNNING OUT OF SEDATIVES AFTER THIS GUY HOGGED THEM ALL (SEE THE REVISIONS ON HIS FIRST THREE QUESTIONS). –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Aug 2 '12 at 17:44
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@Bolt There are days where I'm happy I don't know these people personally... ;) –  Bart Aug 2 '12 at 18:10
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2 Answers

I always support more effective writing, but I don't think this message sets a good precedent.

There are a lot of common issues with questions, and if the system provides a nudge for this one, other well-meaning users like you are going to ask for additional nudges to be added. Before you know it, half of the "above the fold" area on the screen will be taken up by these messages.

Also, experience has shown that users who do get blocks will do only the bare minimum they have to to get around them (see the low quality question filter). From another point of view, they're submitting posts containing as many problems as the system will allow. I see no reason to believe they'd treat these nudges any differently, except that nudges aren't mandatory, which means they're "tl;dr — ignoring"-able.

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Note that the nudge message would only appear if someone enters a title that appears to be incorrectly capitalized. –  Vebjorn Ljosa Aug 2 '12 at 17:49
    
Yes, I understand that. The problem is that most people who have any given issue have poor overall writing ability, not a random, specific deficiency. That makes their posts likely to have other issues as well. For example, it's rare to see a question with proper spelling, grammar and formatting under a l33tspk title. –  Pops Aug 2 '12 at 17:57
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That's undoubtedly true for l33tspk, but most of the all-lowercase titles I have edited on the Home Improvement site have been associated with decent questions. –  Vebjorn Ljosa Aug 3 '12 at 3:50
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I Totally Support This, Especially Because Of Title Case.

Such Titles Are Extremely Painful To Read And Even More Painful To Manually Edit, Especially When They Feature Many Words That Are Rightfully Capitalized, Like

How To Present A UIPopover From A UITabBarItem?

I Think We Should Do Something About It Because Reading Titles Like This Is Causing Me Nausea.

If You Read Through The Whole Post, Now You Surely Understand The Feeling.

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I considered reading this but the lack of ALL CAPS indicates that it is not sufficiently important to warrant reading. –  Servy Oct 25 '13 at 0:18
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