One of my recent questions on Programming Puzzles and Code Golf, titled ☁ A Little Cloud ☁, was renamed in an edit to Little Chandler is sad. Draw him a cloud to cheer him up. I don't mind the title change, but I am curious as to the reasons why it was changed. Was it because of the Unicode characters? Or something else? I was hopeful to create a series of challenges based off Dubliners, but if there is something wrong about using the titles of the short stories as challenge titles, I would like to know.

In particular, is there a full set of rules or guidelines available for what sort of titles are allowed?

This was originally asked on PPCG meta, but I was redirected here, as it was a SE dev that made the change, allegedly because the Unicode was showing up on Hot Network Questions.

3 Answers 3


Unicode is allowed, as far as I can tell and in my opinion. However when a question becomes popular enough to appear in the Hot Network Questions list, its title should be descriptive enough to make sense in any site, not just the site where it was asked.

So while "☁ A Little Cloud ☁" makes sense to the Golfers, others would just be clueless when it appears in other sites. Descriptive title would be better in such case, telling what the question is about.

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    "when a question becomes popular enough to appear in the Hot Network Questions list, its title should be descriptive enough to make sense in any site, not just the site where it was asked." - Does that mean the (quite random and temporary) status as a Hot Network Question now determines how titles are to be constructed? This doesn't make too much sense. The title has to follow site rules (which I admittedly don't know for Code Golf) and that's it. We're not including tags in title either, even though that might provide more context to people completely outside of the system (e.g. googlers). Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 7:46
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    That being said I generally agree that titles should not be too jokey and make actual sense (and personally that title seems a bit stupid/attention-greedy to me). But that is to be determined by the individual site and not by the hotness state. If the question title is inappropriate for a hot question, it was bad in the first place anyway. Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 7:49

It is certainly allowed to use Unicode, when appropriate. We don't discriminate :-)

On the other hand your question had a title which, in my opinion, used Unicode as decorations and needed improvement.

Do use descriptive titles and avoid flashy decorations. If you want more views for your question, write about an interesting topic -- do not use your title as a small "punch the monkey" ad. I appreciate the cleverness, I truly do.

But please don't.

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    You do discriminate against math, it seems: Are the questions with TeX markup in titles excluded from Hot Network Questions?. [I'm not complaining about the exclusion, but it'd be nice to have this fact confirmed.]
    – user259867
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 0:24
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    @CareBear the problem is simply that we don't want to turn on MathJax everywhere, most notably on StackOverflow, so those titles don't render correctly.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 0:25
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    Thanks for confirming. This means these two outstanding feature requests are actually completed: Suppress Hot Questions containing MathJax markup on non-MathJax sites homepage and Unreadable LaTeX in hot questions.
    – user259867
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 0:36
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    Admit it, you'd so go on a vacation somewhere to find the P̯͍̭O̚​N̐Y̡... though I'm betting that would be to Turkmenistan.
    – user213963
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 0:55
  • It's worth noting that these sorts of characters/formatting can cause accessibility issues, especially for those using screen readers and the like (which may not read the characters at all, or may read them improperly/confusingly).
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 1:57

Titles are meaningful things for the site they are on. Sometimes, they get picked up for hot questions. While mathjax appears to be excluded from enabled sites (mathjax titles from Math.SE look like gibberish outside of there), there is nothing fundamentally wrong with question titles like "Why is 有 (yǒu) the only verb that requires 没 while other verbs can use 不?" from chinese.SE, nor "What's the difference between שמחה and חדוה?" from Mi Yodeya, a hypothetical "how does one type 💩 on a macintosh keyboard?" or whatever gaming happens to ask today (no, they don't use unicode, but they do have interesting titles).

Those are perfectly legitimate question titles that show up and make use of unicode.

The issue is, is it a good title? That has nothing to do with unicode in the title.

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