One of the best things SO did IMHO was to correctly order the HTML title in the order:

{Question Title} - {SiteName}

This was great because we knew the site name (and the favicon is a better indicator once you recognize it), it was the question that was important.

Especially now, that browsers have almost all truncated the title into only the tab title of a webpage the first 20 characters are the critical ones to define a page.

However I now see that questions are titled as:

{Random TagName} - {Question Title} - {SiteName}

Thus when I look at a bunch of tabs I have open now I see:

"javascript - runni..." "project hosting - ..." "version control - ..." "javascript - How t..."

All of which are pretty useless as descriptions for which question is which.

Update: here's a screenshot showing how useless the titles now are:

Now which tab was the HTML5 video question?

Now which tab was the HTML5 video question? (hint its the 8th tab)

If you'd still like to keep a tag name in the title that's ok, but the hierarchy of the title should go from small/finite to biggest/general, thus in this order.

Item - Category - Site

{Question Title} - {Random TagName} - {SiteName}

Is there any chance we can get the order of labels in the title corrected?

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The order is determined by SEO. Sites that were taking SO content and republishing it were appearing higher up the search rankings. This change corrected that. –  ChrisF Apr 18 '11 at 11:43
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So to do a quick optimization for SEO we've decided to throw the baby out with the bath water and wreck the actual user experience for those that use the site?! - I'd like to believe that Google will always correct its ranking behavior to put SO on top as they are well aware of where the content is really coming from. –  scunliffe Apr 18 '11 at 12:06
    
You'll have to wait for a response from Jeff or one of the devs. I'm just a user. –  ChrisF Apr 18 '11 at 12:44
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1 Answer

Sorry, we can't change this without materially harming the network.

You might try a few things:

  1. Configure your browser to make the tabs twice as wide by default. I find most modern browsers have absurdly small default tab sizes for some reason.

  2. Try Arjan's suggestion of
    Remove the most popular tag from the title using JavaScript ( this might need to be on http://stackapps.com )

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:-) I actually linked to a feature request. But the user script in one of the answers might indeed work well too! –  Arjan Apr 19 '11 at 16:57
    
so reordering the tag to the correct heirarchical position will break SEO? This seems very odd. –  scunliffe Apr 19 '11 at 17:02
    
@scunliffe Aye, putting the tag in the front is what benefits the SEO. See here, in particular HTG and Jeff's comment exchange on the accepted answer, as one of many elements in a hefty discussion on the subject. –  Grace Note Apr 19 '11 at 17:05
    
I take it that we also raised an issue with Google that they may want to tweak their algo to avoid spammer sites from gaming Google! –  scunliffe Apr 19 '11 at 17:49
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