I cannot end a question title with a full stop, as it gets deleted by the system.

On regular sites, most question titles will end with a question mark, which is kept. An exclamation mark is also kept. There may be cases, where it is appropriate to add a remark after a question in the title, such as:

  • Why is X happening? I tried Y and it did not work.
  • What is this X? I found it in Y.
  • Can I do X? Y said Z.

In those cases, the titles look better with the full stop. The titles consist of two sentences. The first one has a proper ending (a question mark, which replaces the full stop), therefore the second should be able to have one as well.

A silly workaround is to use unicode characters that look similar, but that has many disadvantages.

  • 4
    It is a feature ... – rene Dec 6 at 11:23
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    related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/27877/… – rene Dec 6 at 11:26
  • @rene To me, a question title like this one seems grammatically off. It may work on the main site, where questions tend to end with question marks, but when there are multiple sentences in a title, I think it's a bad feature to strip off the full stop from the final one. Makes me want to use an exclamation mark instead. – gerrit Dec 6 at 11:29
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    Or use a Unicode equivalent of a full-stop? – rene Dec 6 at 11:31
  • The unicode full stop is the ASCII full stop, however, there are similar looking characters. – gerrit Dec 6 at 11:34
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    Why would you use multiple sentences in a question title anyway? – Christian Rau Dec 6 at 11:35
  • @ChristianRau In the example I linked in an earlier comment, I think it's more readable that way. – gerrit Dec 6 at 11:40
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    @gerrit not really. The second part in each of your three examples belongs to the question body, not title. I would edit such titles myself when possible. – Shadow Wizard Dec 6 at 12:11
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    Do you see full stops or periods in book titles? In newspaper headlines? Do titles in scientific papers end with a full stop??? – Mari-Lou A Dec 6 at 12:28
  • @Mari-LouA Not if it's a single sentence. Not sure about multi-sentence titles or headlines. – gerrit Dec 6 at 12:32
  • I'd suggest finding several examples of titles that end with a period/full stop to support your argument. – Mari-Lou A Dec 6 at 12:34
  • @gerrit I have a user script installed that adds that in. It displays the question's hotness score used for calculating eligibility for HNQ. (For the record, I've installed this script far before the recent HNQ debacle.) – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Dec 6 at 14:23
  • I personally prefer periods at the end of titles—unless the words are also capitalized so that title case is used. Here, the titles use sentence case for the words, so the lack of a period turns it into a strange hybrid of sentence case and title case. But, having said that, it's the style decision of the staff—and it seems the majority of people are in agreement with it. – Jason Bassford Dec 6 at 14:45
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    On example of appropriate is "etc.". The "." should not be removed. – Peter Mortensen Dec 6 at 18:41
up vote 12 down vote accepted

The University of Sussex, in the UK, has guidelines on how to punctuate titles

The title of a complete work is usually centred near the top of the first page; if possible, it should be printed either in large letters or in boldface, or even in both. It should not be italicized or placed in quotation marks, and it should not have a full stop at the end. Any punctuation or italics which are required for independent reasons should be used normally; this includes a question mark at the end if the title is a question. If there is a subtitle, a colon should be placed at the end of the title proper; unless the title and the subtitle are both very short, it is best to use two lines.

Proof-Reading-Service.com, says

Full Stops in Titles, Headings and Captions
As a general rule, a full stop is not used at the end of a displayed title, heading, subheading or caption in scholarly English prose. […] However, there are several instances in which full stops are required, as outlined below.

Full stops should be used whenever the relevant guidelines indicate that full stops (also called full points and periods) should [be used to] close titles, headings and captions, wherever they may appear within a document. It is therefore imperative to consult author instructions and pay careful attention to any details about headings and their formats.

Here is one very good reason why full stops (periods) are normally avoided in titles,

Full stops, like their name suggests, are something that halts the eye of your reader.

This isn’t something you want at this point in your post. Titles are all about leading your reader into your post and so anyway that you can help this flow is a bonus.
Source: ProBlogger

  • 3
    But there are exceptions. "etc." should remain "etc." in a title. Unfortunately nothing can be changed (unless someone tweets) – Peter Mortensen Dec 6 at 18:37

On main sites, especially Stack Overflow, question title is not, and should not, be a sentence, hence there is no reason for it to end with a full stop.

Question title should only describe the question, i.e. be a short summary of the question. One sentence.

Trying to bypass this with fancy unicode characters is also a bad idea since unicode is not standard and each device/OS renders it in different ways, and many don't support "newer" characters anyway. For example that's what I saw when some unicode character was put in the title here:

Not very useful.

  • Many titles can be full sentences, they needn't be fragments. For example: Show a placeholder for deleted comments to avoid confusion – Mari-Lou A Dec 6 at 13:01
  • @Mari-LouA meta is different. I mean on main sites. Will edit. – Shadow Wizard Dec 6 at 13:10
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    I can provide plenty of examples of titles that are full sentences on EL&U. The majority aren't, many are questions, many are fragments of sentences but saying a title should not be a sentence is inaccurate. Hey, I upvoted for the square box thingy, that is something I often see when users post weird Unicode font stuff. +1 times ten – Mari-Lou A Dec 6 at 13:14
  • "." should not be removed from "etc." (if it is at the end) – Peter Mortensen Dec 6 at 18:39

I agree with @ShadowWizard's answer saying:

Question title is not, and should not, be a sentence, hence there is no reason for it to end with a full stop.

but I would go on to say that the:

Question title should only describe the most important part of the question body, i.e. it should be a short summarizing question and end in a question mark.

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