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Very often you see different forms of "pseudo-tagging" in titles. For example:

c# - how to sniff packets in an app without relying on WinPCap?
JS / Jquery: Unable to access the properties of an object returned from an ajax call
C++: Using enum as template type argument
...

Some times these can be removed from the title without making the title look weird or non-descriptive. Some other times it's not as obvious:

"MySQL implications of ‘like’ vs ‘join’ query" vs "Implications of ‘like’ vs ‘join’ query"
"Can I create a “view” on a Python list?" vs "Can I create a “view” on a list?"

When should the title contain the language it's referring to versus having it on the tags only?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 17 down vote accepted

To be clear, I think it is fine to duplicate the tags in the title, but only when they can be worked into the titles organically and conversationally.

See this discussion:
How do I write a good title?

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I say use your best judgment. The good thing is they can change it back if they don't like the change. I tend to remove them every once in a while and have not been rolled back yet (That I can remember.).

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If they're meta-tags, then just plain remove them, for example: Is it appropriate to tag someone else’s question urgent help needed?

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If they are the "main" tag (such as the language name, for example [C++]) I would say never.

Some people argue that it's redundant information but it's not. It emphasizes the most important tag with a bigger font and in place where it's easier to be seen.

See these two examples:


[C++] What is the name of this operator: “-->”?

operators fun standards-compliance c++ c


What is the name of this operator: “-->”?

operators fun standards-compliance c++ c


You can't possibly say that the first one is equal to the second. If I'm interested in C++ questions (as I happen to be) I can understand immediately that the first question talks about C++.

Interesting tags help but not much, especially if you have some that cause a lot of false positives (optimization, web-development, etc).

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now look how little the tag prefix adds to your new title compared to the original! When a title fails to describe the question, tags become the only thing left to help readers decide if they wish to click through - so of course you'd wish to emphasize them in that case! But you're fixing a problem that shouldn't even exist: with a descriptive title, the tags naturally take a back seat, and should rightly be given less visual emphasis. –  Shog9 Aug 15 '10 at 18:21
    
@Shog9, I regularly add a tag when needed for context like c++: What is the name of the --> operator? and hadn't heard any complaints until today. I'm trying to get a feel for whether or not I should continue this practice. To me, a title of In c++, what is the name of the --> operator? seems verbose. –  glenviewjeff Nov 14 '11 at 22:33
1  
@glenviewjeff: well, as my other comment notes, you don't actually need it - the tags suffice to provide that context. If you wish to put it in the title, working it naturally into the sentence (as you did with, "What is the name of the -> operator in C++?") looks a lot nicer than slapping it on as a prefix. The prefix thing works well on sites that don't have tags or categories, as it allows readers to quickly scan down a list and pick out questions that fit their interests - but we have far more powerful ways of doing this on SO. –  Shog9 Nov 14 '11 at 22:43

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