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In a recent question I left the place name out of the title, because it was explicit in the tags. It was quickly edited to include the place name in the title. As far as I'm aware, on other SE sites, if a question has the correct tags it should not need this information duplicated in the question title (two random examples: How can I tell if a corpse is safe to eat?, Can I remove empty catch with throw?).

Should we encourage or discourage place names in question titles?

Where the place name is an explicit tag, i.e. , rather than something more obscure like Scunthorpe.

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The deciding factor should be what makes the title clearer. If the question is specifically about a country, including the location name will likely make the title clearer. If a question is more generic and the specific country is less relevant, it's better to leave it out.

Folks will tend to scan the front page to look for posts of interest to them. I'd rather not have to start hunting around just to figure out what each question is about.

This doesn't look very inviting:

Can I get by with just English?

How to see country

Shortest plane flight

Is it possible to get around without flying?

Most users will find this site through a search on Google. The closer you can get to matching their inquiry, the more likely they are to find this site.

9

Encourage.

Tagging obviously helps but when scanning a list of search results a question title is more prominent.

  • 2
    I also find the tags a lot more ephemeral. They are subject to editing and merging, especially in these early beta days. We've had a lot of internal discussions on keeping the questions narrow and specific so I've been trying to follow up on that. – hippietrail Jun 29 '11 at 12:02
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    Agreed. Questions should have good titles even if that means duplicating information. And you wouldn't leave "India" out of the question body, so why the title? – Matthew Read Jun 29 '11 at 13:39
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Tags are metadata; they are used by the search engine and for aggregation (both question counts and reputation). They are given an unobtrusive appearance on the site, and they are always displayed after the title/body.

I don't think they are really part of the "content" of the question, and so I would lean toward pretending that they don't exist when coming up with a title for a question.

  • That's a good answer. ANd how many reader will actually see the tags and immediately link them to the question. – user3470 May 14 '13 at 21:18

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