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Old 04-09-2011, 09:08 AM
Bo Bo started this thread Bo won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Tenth Edition (Apr-May 2014). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Ohio
17,102 posts, read 35,557,418 times
Reputation: 14372

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(This will be added to the FAQ soon.)

Good thread titles summarize what the thread is about.

Some posters prefer mysterious titles that force other posters to open the thread in order to know what it's about. If the resulting discussion turns out to be very good, then a mysterious title will make it hard for someone who wants to revisit that thread in a few weeks, months or years to find it! Many members and non-members make use of the information and discussions in old threads. You do them no favors when you use a title that conceals what's in your thread.

Here's a hypothetical example:

Thread is titled "I can't believe they would do this!"

What's it about? Your guess is as good as mine.

If it's important enough to start a thread, it's important enough to give it a good title!

Turns out the hypothetical thread above was about the Anytown school board closing C.D. Forum Elementary, which is a school in the poster's neighborhood. Here are some better ideas for thread titles.

"Forum Elementary will be closing!"
"Anytown board votes to close school"
"I can't believe they're closing Forum Elementary!"

One thing all of these possible titles have in common is that they have a noun and a verb. Take a look at some titles that don't have a noun and a verb:

"Sad about C.D. Forum Elementary"
"Closing"
"No C.D. Forum Elementary?"
"Forum Elementary"

They don't really tell the story, do they? If you were looking for info about the closing of the school, would you believe that a thread with any of those titles was the Anytown forum's best source of information?

The best thread titles have a noun and a verb. The very best titles are very specific! It's OK to have fun with your titles and perfectly fine to express emotion in them, but also try to be considerate of newcomers and people using search by including both a noun and a verb.

If you see a thread title that you think is confusing, use the Report Post button and tell a moderator. Moderators can fix that!

Last edited by Bo; 04-11-2011 at 01:06 PM.. Reason: Left out a word in the third sentence.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Mayacama Mtns in CA
14,523 posts, read 8,158,589 times
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Thanks, Bo This is so helpful and I'm glad it's going to be added to the FAQ.

Could it even be a separate Sticky for awhile at first, just to get attention?

And. . .I'm happy to know that we may report thread titles which are confusing or misleading. . .that's a peeve of mine, 'cause I see them all the time, it seems.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,017 posts, read 19,427,689 times
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A lot can hinge on thread titles, such as infractions for being off-topic. It is not adequate merely to post about the thread topic, but one must apparently also limit oneself to the aspect of the thread topic as defined by the original poster in the text of the original post. Therefore, for this additional reason, I am very much in favor of being specific in thread titles, as per what Bo is so sensibly talking about.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Mayacama Mtns in CA
14,523 posts, read 8,158,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
A lot can hinge on thread titles, such as infractions for being off-topic. It is not adequate merely to post about the thread topic, but one must apparently also limit oneself to the aspect of the thread topic as defined by the original poster in the text of the original post. Therefore, for this additional reason, I am very much in favor of being specific in thread titles, as per what Bo is so sensibly talking about.
I agree. Though I will also say when the OP veers off his own original post, I tend to think it's OK to follow his lead. Because in real life, in real conversation, one thing does lead to another. It's part of the fascination of conversing with one another.
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:45 PM
Bo Bo started this thread Bo won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Tenth Edition (Apr-May 2014). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Ohio
17,102 posts, read 35,557,418 times
Reputation: 14372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macrina View Post
I will also say when the OP veers off his own original post, I tend to think it's OK to follow his lead. Because in real life, in real conversation, one thing does lead to another.
As long as the OP's tangent doesn't veer into territory that's off-topic for the forum, I think you'll find that the mod team will agree.

If the poster in my hypothetical example above posted in a reply that illegal immigrants, "religious fanatics" or "those idiots in Congress" were responsible for the closure of C.D. Forum Elementary, that would not be a good tangent to follow.
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:10 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
39,016 posts, read 21,647,046 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo View Post
As long as the OP's tangent doesn't veer into territory that's off-topic for the forum, I think you'll find that the mod team will agree.

If the poster in my hypothetical example above posted in a reply that illegal immigrants, "religious fanatics" or "those idiots in Congress" were responsible for the closure of C.D. Forum Elementary, that would not be a good tangent to follow.
What! Why not! We all know that those idiots in Congress is responsible for every ill in this country! LOL! Just kidding!
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, but looking for my niche in ME, or OR
326 posts, read 401,859 times
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A noun and a verb... Thanks Bo!
I never thought about that in such grammatically correct terms. I will follow this from now on...
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:10 AM
 
Location: Tricity
48,189 posts, read 69,157,005 times
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Great post, Bo. I come across a lot of confusing titles that say nothing. It would be really helpful for everyone who is searching for a particular thread.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:53 AM
 
23,635 posts, read 43,692,601 times
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One of my rules of thumb for thread titles is to make sure it's specific, and I try to write mine in such a way that they sound like a Google or C-D search inquiry where I list several keywords. As a mod, I often change the titles of threads began by other members.

Search engines, especially Google, Amazon, el al, are looking for nouns and for a relationship between those nouns, while omitting words that are just noise. If you put a search into Google, stated as: How much crime is there in Chicago, google will search on two words, crime and Chicago and bring back the postings (probably millions) with those two key words in them. But if your search inquiry, or your thread title is stated as: Is Chicago safe, then any search tool will bring back a lot less data and info.

In the Amazon world, if you are looking for a Calphalon omelette pan, then say so in your Amazon search, and it will zero in on that for you. If you say non-stick cookware, you're going to get a thousand or more items to look at.

I've been told that Amazon has at least a hundred people working for them whose job is to find these relationships among nouns and make sure their search engine understands them, a field which is somewhat analogous to the field of taxonomy, aka the categorization of data.

An example would be an Amazon employee looking at any product, like bedsheets, and makes sure that it goes into Amazon's product catalog with all of it's key characteristics listed so that the search engine can find it no matter how a customer describes what they're seeking, i.e., sheet, queen, cotton, fitted, 500 thread count, pink, Croscill, etc.

So, all that being said, I try to make my titles something that I'm sure that the internet search engines will find quickly and bring readers to C-D. Take this one for example, where I use a very well known current phrase "Torpedo of Truth" and add a few words that tells you what the thread is about.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 04-11-2011 at 10:19 AM..
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