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I know the "rule" about tags in titles. When I made my first Android app post, I made the title "Unable to follow links in comments", then Cody Gray added "on Android app" in his edit. I could understand doing that since the Android app is new and not everyone is aware of it.

Then I recently just made another post about an issue I'm having, and I integrated the Android part of it into the title too. Then Sha Wiz Dow Ard edited the Android part out.

There are currently questions in that have the title with and without Android app in it. Which format should we following so we're not creating more work for editors, and making sense to the rest of the community?

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I don't see a reason to treat the Android app questions differently than any others. I would leave it out. The information is displayed with the question in the form of tags, so including the word in the title adds no real value. –  George Cummins Aug 7 '13 at 0:51
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Well that other title was castrated to nothing, who knows why –  random Aug 7 '13 at 0:53
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These both look like poor edits. –  doppelgreener Aug 7 '13 at 0:58
    
@Jonathan What else would you have changed? –  Cody Gray Aug 7 '13 at 8:26
    
@CodyGray I would not have worried about adding "on Android app" - the resulting title is fine, but since it was already implied by the presence of the tag it wasn't necessary. I would not have worried about removing the first part of "Android app v0.1.4 fails to load feed", because the resulting title was worse ("Fails to load feed" is castrated to nothing) and the original title was a perfectly acceptable sentence (the circumstance under which tags in titles is okay). I don't actually mean the rest of the edits are poor - just the title changes. –  doppelgreener Aug 7 '13 at 8:33
    
@random not nothing, it described the problem. According to your logic this question should be titled "Discussion: let's discuss how to post titles of questions about the Android App". Sorry but I disagree. Titles should be as short as possible, with all details in the body and tags used to tell where or what it applies to. –  Shadow Wizard Aug 7 '13 at 8:34

2 Answers 2

Unless it is otherwise clear from the subject of the title, I like having some obvious indication which aspect of the site you're talking about.

Consider the original title:

Unable to follow links in comments

When I first read that, I assumed it was on the main site and was very confused. Since there are comments both on the web site and in the Android app, it is impossible to differentiate which you are talking about from the title itself. What you're asking about becomes much clearer if you add that you're talking specifically about the Android app.

Yes, it is already in the tags. That serves a different purpose: one related to categorization, not description.

And of course, not all of the information in the tags needs to be added to the title—just pivotal things. Remember that the purpose of a title is to summarize the question/problem. Clarity is paramount. That you are unable to follow links in comments is not an adequate summary of the problem, because that statement is not generally true. It is only true under certain conditions, when you're using the Android app. That information rightfully belongs in the title. I mean, it's not like the title was already so long that adding "on Android app" pushed it over the edge.

It's no different than if you had posted the following question:

Unable to post anything to the site

and then, upon reading the question, I found out you were talking only about chat. That title would then be misleading and in need of an edit. Because at first blush, it would look like you couldn't post anything anywhere, which is clearly not true: in this hypothetical scenario, you had no problems posting questions or answers.

This is just a specific example of the more general rule that it is perfectly fine to include information from the tags in the title as long as you integrate it organically. The title

Android app: Unable to follow links in comments

would be horrible.

It is also unnecessary to integrate the "bug" tag into the title in any way whatsoever, because it is already obvious from the title's summary of the problem that you're reporting a bug. You would not say either:

Bug: Unable to follow links in comments on Android app

or

Bug where I am unable to follow links in comments

This argument that none of the information that appears in the tags needs to be included in the title is absurd. If that were true, we wouldn't even need titles. Tags would be sufficient. If a question is well-tagged, a title could be virtually assumed. Yet no one would seriously propose eliminating question titles.

Then again, I can't say I would want to require that all Android questions have this added to their titles. Nor would I edit all questions to make this change. I only added that while I was making other improvements, namely resizing the image to something that didn't take up my entire monitor.

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Forget the tags for a second. They help you filter, but they don't help you read as well as a clear, terse title.

Titles should:

  • Make sense
  • Make a sentence
  • Be unambiguous

If they can do all three and not mangle your tongue as they fit in tags (and worse, colons, Couric) that's a bingo.

The key is, can you read the title and know what the post body will be about without having to guess where it applies?

For example,

fails to load feed

Chat loads feeds. So do RSS readers. And now we have the Android app as well. Which one are we talking about? Oh, look at the tags? Doesn't give you an excuse to skimp on the title.

Pings occur on all messages, not just mentions

The above doesn't use "chat" but you know it's chat because that's the only thing that pings around here.

Pull down to refresh fails to load feed

We don't have "on Android app" here, but we know it's about that without the tags since that's the only thing currently with that action.

You don't have to stick "Android app" naturally in the titles, but when it's ambiguous, it doesn't hurt.

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When you put it that way it makes sense. Thanks! –  Shadow Wizard Aug 7 '13 at 12:43

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