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Suppose I have a fairly generic question (like about the use of global variables or something like that) but I'm looking for an answer related to PHP, should I include that requirement in the title? I know that it's what tags are for, but maybe it helps visibility and relevance in external engine (google) searches?

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possible duplicate of HOWTO: Writing Good Titles –  Ladybug Killer Sep 30 '10 at 16:14
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It's ironic that the original has a terrible title. lol –  Jon Seigel Sep 30 '10 at 17:05
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Stack Exchange does this automatically nowadays to the HTML title. –  Andrew Grimm Sep 15 '11 at 23:56
    
It helps in indicating context! –  Jason S Sep 13 '12 at 13:54

5 Answers 5

Just don't pseudo tag the title. Please.

How can I frob my whatsis in PHP?

is good, but

[PHP] I want to frob my whatsit.

is bad.

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I only do this when I'm asking the type of question that's liable to get answered by people who haven't actually read the question or the tags.

For example, I asked "Is SQL Server DRI slow?" and actually got a very good answer, but I suspect that if I hadn't added the "SQL Server" part then a bunch of people might have given irrelevant answers for other DBMSes (and the specific DBMS was the issue there). If I had just asked "Is DRI slow?" then the title would have suggested a product-agnostic question; aside from including the product name, there was no way to reword it to be more specific.

On the other hand, I also asked about "Approaches for generic, compile-time safe lazy-load methods", and even though the verbiage does not suggest a specific language, I think it's obvious to any reader that the language matters.

Honestly, it can't hurt to include the product name, but as dmckee says, just don't make it a "pseudo-tag" at the beginning of the question; make your title a coherent sentence that includes the product name in its proper place (i.e. "Is there an XYZ library available for .NET?").

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Keep tags in the tags, please.

You don't need the additional visibility. People interested in PHP likely already have that in their interesting tags.

People interested in not seeing PHP questions likely already have that in their ignored tags list.

Neither group will be served by you placing the tag in the title.

If you start to get answers from people who didn't notice the tag, then maybe you should consider editing the title to include the tag (without the brackets).

Still, I hope you won't need to change the title from "How do I Consume a WCF Service using nuSOAP" to "How do I Consume a WCF Service using nuSOAP in PHP".

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If PHP is a requirement, you can certainly mention it in the title, but nobody can force you to do so. You can use any title you wish. If people think that it's not sufficiently precise, it will get edited anyway. That being said, some people do overlook tags, so the more precise your question title (and body) is, the better.

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Then let's train people not to overlook tags, instead of pandering to their laziness/ignorance with something inferior. –  Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 18 '11 at 6:18
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@Tomalak: I am not arguing in favor of titles such as "[PHP] [CSS] [float] problem"; I am arguing in favor of precise descriptive titles such as "Problem with CSS floats in PHP" vs. "Halp needed". How is a precise title inferior to an imprecise one? I'm not following. And "let's train people not to overlook tags" is nothing but empty words. How do you train people not to overlook something? That is, other than saying "please don't overlook it" in a comment, which they then overlook. –  ЯegDwight Jul 18 '11 at 8:13
    
That title is neither precise nor descriptive. What problem? –  Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 4 '13 at 12:32

Please keep the tag in the title if it's not obvious! (as per dmckee's post) The questions shown in the sidebar in StackExchange sites do not include the tags, and it can be very frustrating to check question one after another just to find out if it applies to your situation.

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The correct fix is for the SE templates to be modified show tags in these scenarios, not to move that information into the title where it cannot be indexed, or otherwise stored & represented in a useful semantic manner. –  Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 4 '13 at 12:32

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