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My suggested edit to a question got rejected. The edit changed the title from

What Game is shown in this newspaper snippet?

to

What game (isometric perspective, showing buildings and trees) is shown in this newspaper snippet?

(In addition, the edit added alt content for the image, replacing the useless default content.)

I asked one of the users that rejected the edit for a reason, and got an answer:

if anyone wants to view the image, they can view it themselves by opening the post. We don't describe image contents in titles.

(ignoring the alt issue here, because the user said they would accept the edit if it were not for the title)

As I don’t want to discuss this in the question’s comments, and as this wasn’t the only case I experienced here (see below), and as the game identification FAQ doesn’t say something about titles, I’m bringing this to Meta.

What kind of titles do we (and don’t we) want for game identification questions?

Other cases

Two more game ID title edits that got rejected:

  • With this rejected suggested edit (which already got discussed on Meta) I tried to change the title from

    What game is this from?

    to

    What game is this from? (probably an old Japanese arcade platformer)

  • With this rejected suggested edit I tried to change the title from

    Identifying an old game?

    to

    Old game with character in white cloth, spikes that cause instant death, and a level with a mirror that creates a replica of your character

Of course not all my game ID title edits got rejected:

  • This approved suggested edit changed the title from

    Can you identify this Android game?

    to

    Android game showing a roboter on a windmill (which is built with Minecraft-like blocks)

  • This approved suggested edit changed the title from

    What game is this picture from?

    to

    What game is this picture showing a teenage girl wearing a shirt with three yellow birds from?

My point of a view

A title like "What Game is shown in this newspaper snippet?" is bad (and titles like "What game is this from?" and "Identifying an old game?" are even worse):

  • It doesn’t give any kind of game-related information.
  • The fact that it comes from a newspaper is meaningless if the newspaper isn’t mentioned (and even then it could still be irrelevant).
  • It doesn’t convey anything more than what the tag already conveys. The equivalent to a non-identification question would be "I have a question".
  • Every user interested in game identification has to open the question to even be able to decide whether it’s interesting for them. This is pure clickbait (which is probably why these sometimes become hot), and bad usability.
  • Users that want to ask for a game ID of the same game (maybe even with the identical media object) have no chance to check if it would be a duplicate other than opening all those questions with meaningless titles.

Instead, the title should contain what can be assumed about the game (from interpreting the media object):

  • What kind of game does it appear to be? (shooter, puzzle, …)
  • What’s the perspective? (ego, isometric, …)
  • What is shown? (a tower, underwater world, horses, …)
  • On what kind of device is it played? (smartphone, PC, console, …)
  • etc.

Or in other words: Give details in the title so that a user, given the media object and all game ID question titles, would be able to find the correct question (without opening them all!).

It doesn’t really matter if the details happen to be wrong (e.g., it could be a 2D puzzle game, but the screenshot shows a 3D cutscene). What matters is that users get an idea what kind of game the ID question might be about.

  • 2
    I wholeheartedly agree - this is similar to formats used by SciFi SE and Movies SE with great success. I suppose the vagueness of titles might be a side-effect of the "screenshot-/footage-only" rule, since it discourages identification of games one is familiar with and encourages games one knows nothing about. I mean, what are the chances for a person to have screenshots of a game they played without them being somehow labelled after the game's title? – Dragomok Jun 16 '17 at 17:33
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    I also agree. I'll write up a full response a bit later, but suffice to say I have re-approved your edit. The only constructive criticism I have is that the alt text was a bit long so I shortened it afterward. – Robotnik Jun 17 '17 at 1:41
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    Some of those example rejected title edits feel a little too verbose and clumsy... I can understand trying to make the titles less vague/generic, but I think on a few of these occasions the title got away from you a bit... – Trent Hawkins Jun 17 '17 at 8:06
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    I'd also maybe suggest shying away from the remembered details the asker provides. Due to our game identification rules, we are focused more on the identification of the artifact. The title falls a bit flat if the remembered details turn out to not match the source or the artifact. – Trent Hawkins Jun 17 '17 at 8:14
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    Please keep fighting the good fight. Every day the Hot Network Questions list seems to slide a little further into the Outbrain clickbait gutter. – Josh Caswell Jun 17 '17 at 14:37
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    Also, alternate title here for maximizing your Meta iron dose: "What should the title of this be?" – Josh Caswell Jun 17 '17 at 14:39
  • I realize I'm late to the party, but this is still being listed as a hot meta question. While I appreciate the additional detail in the question title, it is harder to read, so I completely understand why the edit went 0-2 in the edit queue. I probably would have declined it as well. A natural sentence would have been much, much, much, much better. – Ellesedil Jun 29 '17 at 17:41
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I agree that your latest edit helped make the title more unique, and I have re-approved it because of this. The only constructive criticism I have is in future, try to keep the title and any image alt-text short - for the latter, around 50 characters is fairly ideal.

As for titles, the better ones are:

  • Descriptive - drawn from what can be seen in the picture (or heard in the audio etc), as well as the source (Advertisement, Game Mod, Newspaper, TV Show etc).
  • Aren't too long - Focus on the most unique identifying factor, no need to list every descriptive element of the image/video/other source (that's what the question body is for).
  • Form a sentence - A question title should be a single statement. Avoid 'tacking on' extra bits in the middle of or after the question title.
  • (Generally) phrased as a question (but doesn't necessarily have to be)

As for your other rejected edits:

  • The Japanese Arcade Platformer suggestion used the OP's speculation on what the game might be, rather than something concrete from the image provided.
  • The Mirror-Replica one used too much detail, a later edit used a shortened version of the same title that focused on the most unique identifying factor - that's the edit that got approved.
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    and sorry for the lateness in reply, my weekend turned out busier than expected. – Robotnik Jun 18 '17 at 7:10
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    Do you think such guidelines should be mentioned e.g. in the FAQ What are the requirements for asking a game identification question? – unor Jun 18 '17 at 14:47
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    @unor - I think if anyone disputes an edit to a title that follows these guidelines, linking them here would be OK. I don't think it needs to be called out explicitly in that FAQ - they aren't 'requirements' of game identification questions, just guides for editors like yourself to follow. – Robotnik Jun 19 '17 at 10:24

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