Along the lines of other measures to improve question titles, could we encourage users to use sensible casing in their questions by ensuring that the correct casing is used in the title and tag watermarks?

What sort of message does this send?

And again in the tags field

We've implemented a word filter on question titles to stop users from asking typically "poor quality" questions, and while I don't think anyone's actively thought "Oh, they don't like capitals here, so I'll post in lower case" I'd like to think if we set a good example here they might stop and think "Oh, I should use proper casing".

When editing a post the first item in the right hand "How to Edit" list is "fix grammatical or spelling errors" which I believe covers capitalisation as well.

In response to the comments "This is house style", the reason I'm asking for this is to help us on LEGO Answers honour the LEGO Group's "Fair Play" requests to use their trademark in a specific way - All caps and as an adjective, we're good on the adjective, not so good on the casing, and before anyone says we're not fussed about that here, let me point you at the Stack Exchange Trademark Guidance Page where we're asked to:

As a name, Stack Overflow, is always written "Stack Overflow" (two words, capital letters). [...] Currently, all Stack Exchange Network sites follow this convention: Server Fault (serverfault.com), Super User (superuser.com), etc.

Everywhere else on our site all official (i.e. site copy) uses of the word "LEGO" are now following the fair play policy, and while we don't enforce capitalisation on our users, if we happen to be editing a question/answer for other reasons, we'll generally tidy it up, and adjectivise it.

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    I'm usually the first one to support grammar-related feature requests, but in this case I think the all-lowercase text is a style choice. I can see how it could be especially weird for the LEGO SE site, though. – Pops Jan 5 '12 at 21:26
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    I think Jeff would consider this similar to reporting pluralization bugs. We'll know for sure if he shows up at your house. – animuson Jan 5 '12 at 21:26
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    Do let us know which giant LEGO brick he brings. – Pops Jan 5 '12 at 21:29
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    I'll have to endorse this since I brought it up on LEGO meta, but Zhaph, you should at least proper case your meta title here. :-) – LarsTech Jan 5 '12 at 21:32
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    I'm in favor of this. I'm tired of seeing questions posted where people can't even be bothered to use the shift key, and fixing this gives them one less excuse. I assume your non-use of the shift key in this question is ironic/illustrative? :P – user102937 Jan 5 '12 at 21:33
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    @LarsTech I was making a point that I felt would help our case here ;) They've recently implemented a word filter to stop question titles containing words like "problem" in an attempt to improve question quality, and I thought I'd use that as the angle ;) – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 5 '12 at 21:35
  • @RobertHarvey indeed - hence the comment about switching out of "ironic lower case", partly because I needed to use the word "LEGO", but mostly because I couldn't bring myself to not use the shift key ;) – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 5 '12 at 21:36
  • @animuson I for one would welcome him in, and teach him the error of his ways by pointing him at the "Trademark Guidance" page here: stackexchange.com/legal/trademark-guidance where the capitalisation of Stack Exchange is discussed in some detail. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 5 '12 at 21:40
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    @RobertHarvey ...you can't be serious. There's no way anybody has ever thought "Ok, time to use proper capitalizat... hold the phone! The default text is in all lowercase; I'm going with that" – Michael Mrozek Jan 5 '12 at 21:40
  • @MichaelMrozek Probably not, but there's a small chance that someone might think the other way if it was properly cased - however, if they want to waste time running an A/B test on this, by all means, but from a legal standpoint, The LEGO Group would rather we used their trademark in UPPERCASE. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 5 '12 at 21:42
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    @MichaelMrozek: It has more to do with people using artifacts in the system to justify their laziness. "Why are you getting on me for not using proper casing? You don't even do it in your own title watermarks!" – user102937 Jan 5 '12 at 21:46
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    Historical note: Jeff doesn't think much of capitalization (as evidenced by the lack of capitalization pretty much everywhere, and this answer), but the devs have previously honored the official capitalization of trademarks like Facebook and Twitter. Expect a fix in 6-8 months. – Kevin Vermeer Jan 5 '12 at 21:50
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    @MichaelMrozek A style choice? Pfft. StYle hAs nOtHiNg to dO wItH iT. – user102937 Jan 5 '12 at 21:54
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    @MichaelMrozek - I question the validity, effectiveness, and attractiveness of all-lowercase text as a style case, but I'm not styling these websites. That said, I can say confidently that style should not come before correctness, especially with respect to trademarks. edit: What Robert said. – Kevin Vermeer Jan 5 '12 at 22:01
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    @RobertHarvey i.stack.imgur.com/ChwXS.png. I can't comment anymore though; the "show more comments" link is in lowercase, and I for one refuse to click it until it's changed to "Show more comments" – Michael Mrozek Jan 5 '12 at 22:09

Looking through the sites, this was changed sometime last year. The tag prompt remains in lower case, however. The LEGO® Answers prompt reads:

What's your LEGO Bricks question? Be specific.

These bits of text should be custom editable by each site's moderator team. Currently, Biblical Hermeneutics prompts askers:

what's your the analysis of biblical text question? be specific.

We are a highly literate and text-focused site, but our UI makes us seem like we don't care about grammar. It certainly isn't the way I'd like to present our community!

Other (non-SE) sites use capital letters freely:


Compose new Tweet...

Facebook (changes frequently):

How are you feeling, $firstname?

Google Plus:

Share what's new...

And there are plenty of sites that don't use the feature at all. Frankly, for our site (and bricks.stackexchange.com I would imagine) not having the prompt is better than having one in all lowercase.

  • I hope you don't ever run into danah boyd or k.d. lang! – Jeff Atwood Jan 15 '14 at 0:47

I'm sympathetic to the official trademark being proper case, but otherwise the use of lower case in the textbox hints is 100% intentional.

  • it's a fragment, not a sentence
  • we're trying to de-emphasize this text, that's also why it is a dimmed gray
  • note that the field titles are black, bold and capitalized for emphasis
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    Both "what's your lego bricks question?" and "be specific." are full sentences, not fragments. But I agree, I like the lower case here for de-emphasis. – ThinkingStiff Jan 20 '12 at 18:10
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    Have to agree with @ThinkingStiff on the full sentence opinion, they look like full sentences, with the question mark and full stop. And the de-emphasis is already provided by the lower contrast. I'm glad it's intentional though ;) – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 20 '12 at 20:40
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    "Be specific," is called an imperative sentence, for those interested. You is the understood subject. english-grammar-revolution.com/imperative-sentence.html – ThinkingStiff Jan 20 '12 at 20:52
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    I'm all for respecting trademarks, but I have to say that the usage of all lower case in those water marks hurts my eyes as well. – Kev Feb 21 '12 at 9:19
  • "Fragments" are not complete sentences and therefore isn't grammatically correct! – alexyorke Dec 1 '12 at 0:31
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    let's change it to "whats ur lego bricks doubt?" – gnat Jan 14 '14 at 18:44
  • I'm fine with it being Proper Case for complete sentences with periods and so forth. – Jeff Atwood Jan 14 '14 at 20:29

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