So the new "suggested edits" bit is really neat, however I've been seeing a lot of edits that basically amounted to--

"Removed X from the title because it was already in the tags"

Is this stackexchange policy somewhere? I guess I'm just not understanding the rationale behind it; I could see a case for updating the Title / tags if neither one of them included the subject matter (and we do a pretty good job of that, I think), but if the question title is already acceptable, what does it really matter if the title duplicates a tag?

Personally, I think including tags in the titles is most helpful in regards to searches -- I find that I skim the titles of the results, and don't necessarily look at the tags at first. If, say, someone has a question relating to Steam on Macs, but the only indication that macs are involved are in the tags, I think someone is more likely to not notice the difference than if the title was "Steam on Mac: foo bar et al".

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I actually think that particular question would've been better phrased by putting "on a Mac" at the end, than to just remove it altogether. Better flow. –  Grace Note Feb 4 '11 at 23:50
    
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2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

No, there is no strict Stack Exchange policy on this. We do have a related post on the matter.

Personally, I'm not entirely fond of the process of putting the tags at the front of the question title, as a categorizing measure. Firstly, that's what tags are meant to do in the first place, we don't need to section off the front of the title for that purpose. Second, the new feature in which the most popular tag is prepended to the page title also makes it look exceptionally awkward. You get things like "pc - Civilization IV:" before you reach the actual title of the question! In that scenario, I'm fine with the removal.

But it's not forbidden to put the tags in the title. Rather, it's better to do it organically - make it a part of the title, rather than a preface. Use terminology like "In Chaos Wars, how do I recruit Emily?" or "How do I shoot down spy planes in Black Ops?", if you want to stick things in the title. This is especially important with otherwise generic titles or when the specific tag really helps. In particular, moving the Steam installation directory for a Mac may differ significantly from in Windows, so having two separate questions both entitled "How do I move Steam games to another location on disk" with the only difference being tags is just confusing to people when they try to find things. A similar case would be for platform-specific features of a particular game.

Ultimately, the title and the tags are meant to work in concert. So it's not required to stick it in the title if you feel the title doesn't need it. But if it organically fits, I don't think it's completely necessary to remove it.

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I agree with you completely. –  Raven Dreamer Feb 5 '11 at 0:23
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two rules: 1) think it is fine to duplicate the tags in the title, but only when they can be worked into the titles organically and conversationally and 2) if the most important tag on the question doesn't work in the title at all, it implies your tagging system is fundamentally broken. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10647/… –  Jeff Atwood Feb 5 '11 at 4:45
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@Jeff The problem are our platform tags like xbox-360, ps-3 and pc. Those tags outnumber most of our games, but the most useful tag would always be the game name. From an SEO perspective those platform tags are just not as useful as a game name. And while "game name - Question" look acceptable as a title, it just looks wierd with xbox-360 or spoiler in there. –  Mad Scientist Feb 5 '11 at 8:56
    
@Jeff it's a general problem with the way we use tags for game names - see my suggestion about it. –  Oak Feb 8 '11 at 8:23
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Answer:

I just posted my view on MSO, because I think this issue exists (and there's been some ongoing debate) on a number of sites, so I posted there to avoid a discussion that was limited to gaming.

The TL;DR is:

Titles should be completely independent of tags. A good title tells an expert whether they want to read the full question all by itself.

Apology:

At least some folks felt that making the post on MSO and using mostly Arqade examples was a "public shaming" approach to highlighting my concern,which was genuinely not my intent, or that it was a veiled criticism of this site disguised as a broader problem, which is not the case. I went to MSO because the issue comes up on numerous sites. I used mostly gaming example because they're topics that much of our audience can follow, NOT because I was only concerned with changing the approach on this site.

This is one of our strongest communities, and the last thing I want to do is come off as criticizing it in a way that's not a respectful, open dialog, or that is less than direct in what my concerns are.

So, I'm sorry for not anticipating how it might come off that way, even though it wasn't my intent. I should have anticipated that, and posted here first.

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It's hard to see how anyone here at Arqade would be offended. We're shameless. –  Sterno May 14 '13 at 18:42
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