Firstly, I personally believe this is not a duplicate of Question with Vague title as this question is a lot more specific while that one covered a broad number of points and was thus difficult to answer, I also find it difficult to understand due to the mix of stating opinion, stating fact and asking a question, the answers were also resultantly vague, I wish to ask a much simpler question purely regarding community consensus and policy.

An example:

I just noticed from this question that a VP and moderator edited a question solely to add the name of the game (which was already in a tag) into the question title.

The question:

Should question titles contain the name of the game and if they do/don't is it valid to edit them purely to change this?

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That's no mere user, that's the VP of Community Growth at Stack Exchange. I suppose this was done in response to the less-than-clear automatic tweet. –  badp Jul 9 at 16:20
    
Jaydles is an SE employee, and his take on titles differs from established Arqade norms. –  Frank Jul 9 at 16:24
    
@badp Sorry I had not noticed that, the little diamond is hard to notice sometimes. I shall edit to reflect this. –  Vality Jul 9 at 16:41
    
@Frank I had not noticed this when I asked, edited to fix, thanks for the heads-up. –  Vality Jul 9 at 16:43
    
I think you can't have duplicate subject titles on the same SE site and since difficulty related questions are so commmon, it's much better to include the game name in this case to avoid title collisions. This is just my two cents. –  deutschZuid Jul 10 at 21:48
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2 Answers 2

Titles do not have to contain the name of the game, and you shouldn't intentionally edit a question just to add the game name to the title.

The game name is required, however, to be in the tags. This is the canonical way to identify what game a question is about. Also, for SEO reasons, the first two tags appear in the HTML title of the page, so when the question is rendered on a search engine, the game title always appears since that should be one of the first two tags.

This isn't to say that the game name should never be in the title question. But you shouldn't be adding the game name to the title just to add the game name to the title. You should have some other compelling reason to do it, as outlined in Jaydles's answer.

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You should include the game in the question title anytime it's needed to determine if you would want to read the question.

Titles should be stand-alone summaries of questions without depending on tags.

Some key points from that post:

  • we should never force a tag into a title if it's not helpful, but...

  • Nothing should be left out of a title just because it exists in the tags

so...

but...

On fun traditions: For what it's worth, I recognize that Gaming has a long tradition of posting the occasional, hilariously out-of-context title, and I support continuing that tradation so long as it's more the exception than the rule, and being used in cases where the community benefit (how entertaining it is) outweighs the loss of readability, etc.

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See also –  fredley Jul 9 at 16:27
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Perhaps in your view, but you're kinda going against our established norms. We don't mind it being done organically, but really, this latest edit was not needed. –  Frank Jul 9 at 16:54
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@Frank "established norms" are great for established users who have also trained themselves to scan the much-less-visible tags when browsing, but it's much less accessible to new people, and totally breaks down in some places, like hot questions and search results. –  Jaydles Jul 9 at 17:08
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SE's been around for years, and we now have tours for new users to run through, which explains the tagging process rather well. Indeed, there's a section dedicated to tags. As for hot questions and search results, isn't that more of a UI issue than forcing users to spell out tags? Your attempts for title changes seem more like shoehorning an unpopular idea into what exists, instead of fixing the underlying issue, in my opinion. –  Frank Jul 9 at 17:13
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@Frank, you shouldn't have to explain a process to someone trying to browse a site. It's just not realistic to expect a user trying to simply read the home page of site to be familiar with the model, or to have read a tour page first. –  Jaydles Jul 9 at 17:21
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@Jaydles My only concern is one of SEO. Remember when we discovered that "game_name - How can I do X" is the best way to put the game name in the question title, back when scrapers that did this outranked us? There was then a lot of drama here as our use of meta-tags meant those tags weren't useful, and since then we've been the only site to have 2 instead of 1 top tag in <title> (something that now might be unnecessary). Are those findings from back then still true? After losing a ton of traffic to Panda 4, I'm afraid about encouraging more things that might risk us further Google juice. –  badp Jul 9 at 17:24
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I mean, what probably triggered your edit is that the tweet for the question was not as good as it could've been, but that strikes me as a problem with the tweet template rather than the question itself. But I might be wrong. –  badp Jul 9 at 17:25
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@badp, it's both - we can't be totally dependent on adding tags everywhere we display questions (hot questions, tweets, etc.) but the bigger issue that's not fixable with UI is right on the site - it's undesirable to set up a situation where you can have six headlines that all say "what's the fastest way to grind for experience" that all require you know the other (smaller, lower-contrast) place to tell them all apart. SEO shouldn't stress you either way on this issue. Adding games to titles won't hurt SEO, but it's also not needed to help it. –  Jaydles Jul 9 at 17:30
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@Jaydles I do believe that the tag system, especially on Arqade, is much less than it could be, but I understand that this is mainly a problem only for this SE site given how little knowledge there is that can be shared between different games. –  badp Jul 9 at 17:33
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I can see the argument for game names in titles, mostly in questions where if you ignore the tags, the question could apply to just about any game ever, "Where is the best place to grind (money/xp/kills)". The example zergling question is fine without, because it would likely only apply to two possible games (Starcraft, Starcraft 2). But there is a grey area between the two extremes where the breadth of possible games is not negligible, but neither is it unbounded. In those cases I'd say don't go dredging up old questions with this edit, but if you see a newer edge case; editor's discretion. –  Trent Hawkins Jul 11 at 4:09
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