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Throughout the Skyrim promotion, there have been a few instances of people not "getting" how tagging works in Stack Exchange, and have been adding the Skyrim tag to their question in a shoehorned manner. Things like:

  • How do I do X? (Skyrim)
  • Skyrim - How do I do X?
  • [Skyrim] How do I so X?

I've been manually removing these as they come up, as tags in titles are just noise unless added conversationally (i.e. something like "How do I do X in Skyrim?").

However, the removal of it on one question kept getting rolled back. I left a comment explaining why it's not necessary or wanted, and got the following response:

It may show up in the page title after you load it, but from the question title alone (which is more attention grabbing than the tags) it's not always obvious what the question is pertaining too. So, in order to make sifting through a list of questions easier, I'm appending the main "tag" to the question.

Given the dispute, I flagged it for moderator attention, and it was declined with the reason that flags should only be used on things that require moderator intervention.

So I initially took that to mean I'm supposed to keep editing them out and deal with the dispute on my own, so I went through and edited them all out of the user's questions.

But I realized afterwards that it could also mean "no, we want tags in titles, like the user's been doing."

So which is it? Are moderators not willing to resolve edit disputes, or are shoehorned tags in titles considered to be acceptable, despite network-wide consensus (cf. 1, 2, 3) indicating the contrary?

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    I rolled back to your version and placed a temporary lock - standard issue edit warring resolution. – badp Nov 17 '11 at 12:52
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As far as I understand it, the game title is what tags are used for. Having "Skyrim" appended in the titles of all of these questions seems vastly redundant when you can clearly see the game title in the tag.

Personally, having the game title appended in the question is something I find confusing on first glance, as I then start to wonder "Why is this needed when we have the tag for this?"

With the hopefully soon coming changes to making game title tags "important" so that they're in the title for SEO, I see even less reason to shoehorn the game title into the question title (if it's not posed naturally, like you pointed out).

The only thing I wonder is this a bigger issue of the tags somehow not being clear enough on the frontpage on the questions? That's the only thing I could suspect that would cause such a dispute. It seeems pretty clear to me that they are there appended to the questions, but is this perhaps a case of the user not noticing them or misunderstanding their function? If so, we should talk to them and let them know what the proper functionality is.

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    Part of the ideal changes to the game tags include making the tag itself more visually prominent, to discuss your last paragraph. – Grace Note Nov 17 '11 at 11:50
  • They are clear enough in my opinion... they are just under the question title. I don't think we should be adding "tags" to titles. – juan Nov 17 '11 at 12:37
  • They're not shown at all in "Related", or in the StackExchange pulldown at the top of the screen - which is the sort of thing that reinforces people's sense that tags aren't "part of" the question. Making them "more important" where they're shown isn't the solution, the solution is to never show the question title without the tag. But, then, question titles like How do I keep monsters out of my nether regions wouldn't be half as hilarious. – Random832 Nov 21 '11 at 17:30
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I've been editing out "Skyrim: ..." or similar at the beginning of questions, though my edits didn't meet any resistance and were not rolled back.

I only put the game name in the title when the question is reasonably short and I can fit it in organically, e.g. "How do I get Power Armor training in Fallout New Vegas?". But that is also more of a safeguard if someone adds a tag like "game-mechanics" and the game tag suddenly dissapears from the HTML title, making the question far harder to find via search engines.

The SE tagging system is not a perfect fit for Gaming, necessitating some workaround at some times. But I still don't think that putting "Skyrim -" in front of the title is helping anything, if you absolutely want to have the game name in the title it should be worked into the question, not added like a tag at the beginning. The better way would be to fix the problems with the tagging system here on Gaming, and as we heard from David Fullerton they are thinking about that problem and might fix some stuff in the future.

So, I think those should tags should be removed from the title, or at least worked into the title organically. If the original author rolls back, I wouldn't edit further. This will only lead to an edit war.

  • Yeah, I've done the same as you in regards to adding the title in my questions if it has a tag that will overrule the game title tag. I plan on removing them when we get our super-duper-game-title-specialification. – FAE Nov 17 '11 at 12:58
  • I can definitely see working the tag into the title conversationally on small game tags, but Skyrim is on its way to being the largest tag on the site. Currently, the only time that's necessary is when it's also tagged pc. – user3389 Nov 17 '11 at 13:45
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It's my question that he's referencing, so I'd like to voice my opinion on this. When you view a list of questions, the question title, number of views, upvotes, and answers are the most noticeable information.

When you're scanning the list, the tags do not stand out, and unless you focus on each tag, the context of the question isn't always readily known. This is why, I've taken to adding the main "tag" to the title, so that instead of seeing "How do I un-knock an arrow" and wondering what game are they asking about, until I see the skyrim tag, a title of "Skyrim - How do I un-knock an arrow" would be much clearer at first glance from the question list and you can either hone in, or skip right on by as you see fit.

I understand that the tag appears in the browser title, and that if you favorite a tag they posts are highlighted. But the former only affects after you open it, and the latter becomes less useful the more tags you track.

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    If you want to check up on all games you're interested in, favoriting works pretty well. If you only want to see one game, you can just click on the tag skyrim and see only questions for that game. I see no need to add the game name in front. – Mad Scientist Nov 17 '11 at 15:19
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    I don't think this is without merit, Pithlit, but I suggest you use technical measures such as a client side userscript or your proposing this change as something that happens automatically server side, rather than doing it through hand editing every single question on the site. Edits bump questions on the homepage, and littering it with many small contentless edits make any kind of skimming of the question list (the use case you're optimizing for) basically useless. – badp Nov 17 '11 at 15:19
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    My preferred solution to this is to make the game tag always show first and be styled differently (e.g. BRIGHT RED) so that it's obvious in the question list. Unfortunately, we've run into some resistance to the idea for now... – David Fullerton Nov 17 '11 at 15:22
  • Hi Pithlit! The problem is that you're talking about a global change. We already have a policy for not putting tags in titles in place, so for consistency we can't allow one question to break this. – juan Nov 17 '11 at 15:23
  • David, that solution would be perfect, provided you can convince your "resistance" it's a good idea. – Pithlit Nov 17 '11 at 15:24
  • badp, I agree that having edits litter the home page is a bad thing, but wouldn't it also be the case for the mods to leave the titles alone until a better consensus is reached, and therefore not having any edits at all? =) – Pithlit Nov 17 '11 at 15:25
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    Consensus for the general case is in place. Also, mods hadn't participated in the first edits (just two regular users). – juan Nov 17 '11 at 15:26
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    For now, I don't think there's a problem with working it into the title organically (e.g. "How do I un-knock an arrow in Skyrim"), but I wouldn't want to see all questions littered with "(Skyrim)" or "Skyrim -" – David Fullerton Nov 17 '11 at 15:29
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    @Pithlit When scanning the titles for a question, it takes merely a fraction of a second to glance at the relevant tag beneath the question. The tags are located very closely to the title in terms of pixel-width. It seems to me that it shouldn't take an inordinate amount of a user's time to scan the list and notice whether or not a question is tagged "skyrim" by simply reading. (also, props to you for what I assume is a name taken from Otherland) – FAE Nov 17 '11 at 15:35
  • I would propose to allow putting the primary tag into the title to make questions clearer at first glance, but to set forth a preferred and acceptable method for it. Clearly, I prefer "Skyrim - " =) However, David's proposal of "working it in organically" seems to be an acceptable compromise. (and yes, it is from Otherland) – Pithlit Nov 17 '11 at 15:39
  • Btw, as a courtesy, I won't go back and edit all my questions to include "in Skyrim" on the end of them =) – Pithlit Nov 17 '11 at 16:10

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