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Rant: Titles should be written *after* the entry.

Chacham (981) writes | more than 10 years ago

User Journal 2

(This is related to the previous JE)

People seem to use the title as part of an article. There is an article and a title for the article. What is the purpose of the title? I can think of two purposes. One, to help the reader to decide whether the subject matter is of interest without actually reading it. Two, for later perusal as a "reminder" of what it was, i.e. for quick identification.

(This is related to the previous JE)

People seem to use the title as part of an article. There is an article and a title for the article. What is the purpose of the title? I can think of two purposes. One, to help the reader to decide whether the subject matter is of interest without actually reading it. Two, for later perusal as a "reminder" of what it was, i.e. for quick identification.

The first reason means it must be a summary. The second can be anything, except with a large amount of articles, something other than a summary can be very hard to remember and associate with the specific article.

Yet people seem to write the article as part of the subject. That is, if one reads the subject without first reading the title, the article will not be understood. Either because context was not set, or the subject was not defined.

Is there a reason some people refuse to write properly? My assumption is that they write the title *before* the article. That's ludicrous. How can one write the title before he knows what he is going to write? You think he knows what he is going to write? Why then did he use the word "it"? "It" means it is that thing that was mentioned earlier. But if that is in the title, the title is part of the story, and *not* the separate entity known as the title.

I used to write JE titles before the subject, but soon realized the title was being written as either an "eye-catcher" or a quick comment. The "eye-catcher" is silly, and tries to pull people in on false pretense. The quick comment belongs in the article, not in the title.

I even stopped reading other people's JEs (except on occasion) if the title isn't explanatory. (And even then i'm not always interested.) So, i'd figured i best do the same myself and start writing descriptive titles.

The most annoying email i received at work (besides spam) was from the CEO. He put the entire message in the title. My reader didn't show it all, so i went to the body, and found it blank. He must have done it for convenience, but sheesh, what a moron!

As for comment titles, i have long wondered their purpose. Perhaps perusal in a list? I can't really imagine it being that helpful.

I think titles should be written after the subject, and perhaps the field should be on bottom of it too. It was probably placed on top since people think that the title comes first. Perhaps it does, but not while writing.

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While the trend doesn't bother me... (1)

Trolling4Dollars (627073) | more than 10 years ago | (#8179779)

...since it doesn't impact posts or articles in any way, I think I know where it comes from.

Many mail client will provide you with a "preview" of the message for convenience. Usually the first few words of the first sentence followed by an ellipsis.

Only the most thickheaded pedants would feel that this approach impacts the transfer of data. Since there is a limit to the number of characters that most applications will allow for a subject, it is a simple mental excercise to infer the subject should it suddenly go missing.

This is one of the things I don't understand about the grammar nazis on /. It's pretty palin to understand what people write regardless of the flaws in the punctuation or grammar based on context. My theory is that the people who are bothered by this kind of thing are so rigid in their thinking that they can't bear the idea of bending a few rules here and there. Or, it's possible that they really DON'T understand things unless they are written in a very prcise way. Either way, that kind of person is a tragic figure. They apparently have poor deductive skills which probably limits their ability to cope in many other facets of life where data is missing or garbled.

Personally, I think I have "error correction" built into my thinking process because I grew up in a multi-lingual home. I credit that background as the sole reason why I can go from VMS to Unix to DOS to Windows to Macintosh to Linux to Windows 3.1 to Mac OS X and really not see a difference. It's like the difference between sitting in a Ford truck vs. a Honda Civic, a Nissan Stanza or a Porche. They might have different "themes", but they all work the same way, performance aside.

Just my $.02

Re:While the trend doesn't bother me... (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#8180271)

since it doesn't impact posts or articles in any way,

It impacts in two ways. One, i get the stories in an email. Read titles in the ASCII box is redundant and overall a waste of time. So, i go right to the story. When the title must be read first. i have to go back and read the title. This isn't much, but it definitely affects my read.

Two, the quality of the stories is less. The more one cares to do it "properly", the more effort that goes into it. As such, a better quality piece comes out. When there is great disregard for the "rules", a feeling of cheapness pervades the writer, and the quality is generally lessened.

Many mail client will provide you with a "preview" of the message for convenience. Usually the first few words of the first sentence followed by an ellipsis.

Unfortunately, the proper way to do that is with the HEAD command. Most client i have seen do not do that. The "preview" is it's own personal preview.

My theory is that the people who are bothered by this kind of thing are so rigid in their thinking that they can't bear the idea of bending a few rules here and there. Or, it's possible that they really DON'T understand things unless they are written in a very prcise way.

Actually, most likely they are Js, and prefer that people follow the rules. If they make a mistake, it is acceptable, people do that and it truly isn't that important. However, if there is blatant disregard for the rules, it makes Js feel very uncomfortable, easpecially the SJs. Given Js make up about half the US population, it is quite understandable.

They apparently have poor deductive skills which probably limits their ability to cope in many other facets of life where data is missing or garbled.

Or, more likely, they appreciate professionalism, and people who take their material with such an attitude. The quality is then much greater.

What you may not realize is the affect these things have on you. Subconciously, many are affected by the writing skills of the writer. The more poor it is, the less seriously the reader takes it. The opposite is true as well.

There is room to say that mistakes should be allowed, however, possibly only when people do care about them. Like run a spellchecker. However, if "dessert" is spelled "desert" [slashdot.org] it isn't that bad. So, while one should not be exactingly rigid, being that unrigid is just as bad.
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