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It would be nice to add markdown support on the question's title field. It seems a bit inconsistent when it’s already available in the body and question's comments.

What do you think?

  • 1
    I'm not sure what problem you're trying to address with this. Would you mind clarifying that? – JonK Jul 25 '14 at 15:28
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    On Chemistry.SE, where we have the mhchem add-on to Mathjax, we try to keep the markup out of the titles because the extra characters end up in the URL slug (the can-we-get-markdown-support-in-questions-title-field portion in your question here) and inhibit the ability of people to search by the title. – jonsca Jul 25 '14 at 15:29
  • this is a feature request – Édouard Lopez Jul 25 '14 at 15:29
  • For example: http://chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/14424/why-is-cehso4-shown-as-an-example-of-a-weak-acid-instead-of-cehso4 has the extra ce escape characters in it for the markdown. The URL slug is critical for indexing questions on search engines, I believe. – jonsca Jul 25 '14 at 15:31
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    @ÉdouardLopez Sure, but what problem are you trying to solve with it? Why do you want this feature? Or how do you think it would improve the site? – JonK Jul 25 '14 at 15:38
  • @JonK it's a UI issue, title with backtick, underscore on other unparsed markdown are ugly while we can't improve the title look & feel with this feature. – Édouard Lopez Jul 25 '14 at 15:47
  • That's true, but I can't think of any good reason to use markdown syntax in titles to begin with, certainly not somewhere like stackoverflow at any rate. I don't want my questions page to be filled up with inline code-blocked text just because users want to make their questions more visible! – JonK Jul 25 '14 at 15:49
  • I was planning on posting this on Meta but decided not to do this: the website will lose it's clarity when many people use markdown in titles. – William Edwards Jul 25 '14 at 17:01
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This isn't something we can support.

The big reason is that search engines will not render the formatted title in results. Hence:

How do I move the turtle in LOGO?

.. would look like this in search results:

How do I _move_ the turtle in `LOGO`

.. or similar sorts of messy. This is already a bit of a problem with sites that have MathJax enabled. Their titles can be extremely illegible if you're browsing them from what a search engine returned. While it's a bit of a necessary evil on those sites, as MathJax lets them, well, math and all - I don't see supporting markdown formatting in titles to be any real gain, much less justify the side effects.

There's also the problem with people making random parts of people's text into inline code. I'd hate to also have to deal with that in titles, and we haven't gone into deliberate abuse of the feature yet :)

It's good to want a strong, extremely descriptive and interesting title, but I don't think formatting is going to have a net-positive impact there.

  • 3
    I actually totally agree with this answer, but the search engine issue seems like it wouldn't actually be a problem. Markdown processing, unlike MathJax, is performed server-side, so it wouldn't actually affect what search engines see, right? Presumably Markdown would be scrubbed from the HTML <title>, which wouldn't render in browsers, anyway. – Alexis King Jun 21 '15 at 20:29
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I see that this might help on some sites, like the one mentioned, Chemistry.

However, I seriously doubt this feature will be used for good by most users. On my main site, SO, some people tend TO SHOUT USING CAPITALS. What if we give them BOLD AND ITALIC SHOUTING too?

That might be too much...

8

It's intentional to avoid users bolding, or adding italics to make their question stand out.

As such, markdown in full will never be supported in titles.

If you have a good reason to add a specific part of markdown to the title, ask for that and provide a list of existing questions where that feature would arguably improve the questions.

Without examples, though, it's unlikely to gain much traction as a useful feature.

Note that some sites allow MathJax in the titles, so there's a good case for asking this as a feature request for a specific site as well, rather than asking for it network wide:

Guidelines for good use of $\LaTeX$ in question titles

Asking for a feature in one site rather than all is nice in that it doesn't slow down sites where it's not useful, but as you can see above other sites, and the question hotlist, might not render it correctly.

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