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A couple of us disagreed (in comments) on whether titles that are nothing more than external references, such as "Advent of Code 2019 Day 3, Part 3" and "Project Euler nº 5", are reasonable.

I believe that such titles are meaningless, and reviewers want some idea of the problem domain when deciding whether to read a question, but there seems to be a precedent for such titles.

Should these titles be edited to summarise the problem statement?

(N.B. this particular question has only a link to the problem statement, and no description in the question itself, so it's unarguably off-topic until that's fixed; I'm only asking about the question title.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Did you see codereview.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9420/… \$\endgroup\$ – Heslacher Dec 4 '19 at 10:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes @Helsacher - I'm looking for consensus on whether we should edit such titles or leave them alone. I'm not proposing to close questions when they are easy to fix. \$\endgroup\$ – Toby Speight Dec 4 '19 at 10:26
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Should these titles be edited to summarise the problem statement?

Yes. Peilonrayz has already quoted the relevant text here, but came IMO to the wrong conclusion. The relevant FAQ talks about a proper suggestion of a similar title that contains the following:

<Challenge platform> #<i> - <Name of challenge>

It's not the best way of writing a title, but it's a whole lot better than just stating the identifier without description. Good titles don't need to be fixed, but lousy titles get a lot better if they contain a description. It's quite an easy way of improving a title, often enough.

Advent of Code 2019 Day 3 "Crossed Wires" - Part 3

That would work. Or just Crossed Wires - Part 3 really, challenge names can be as easily scrapped from a title as languages can. We have tags for a reason and the challenge can be mentioned in the question's body.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Compared to "max path in triangle", "crossed wires" is rather vague. I wouldn't say it really improves much. \$\endgroup\$ – JAD Dec 5 '19 at 7:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JAD Unfortunately that's the case for many Advent of Code challenges, but that's their name. It may be vague, but it's descriptive. There are no 2 challenges with the same name and it's a lot easier to identify now than with a number. \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Dec 5 '19 at 8:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not as much concerned with properly identifying the challenge, but rather with the title representing what the code is trying to accomplish. \$\endgroup\$ – JAD Dec 5 '19 at 11:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ The title Advent of Code 2019 Day 3 "Crossed Wires" - Part 3 is much more likely to get views than the title "Crossed Wires" - Part 3 \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Dec 28 '19 at 11:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimonForsberg Probably, but both are acceptable titles IMO. And there may be even better ones out there, who knows. \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Dec 28 '19 at 17:15
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I will only address the question "Should titles reference external resources", to which I believe the answer is:

Yes. It's perfectly acceptable to reference external resources in titles.

If I see the title "Advent of Code Day 5", I might already know exactly what that question is about as I myself am doing Advent of Code. It's the same if I see "Project Euler #12", I just recognize the number and I might know directly whether or not I have done that challenge myself. So to the people who are most likely to review the question, it's very relevant to mention the external resource in the title.

The best would of course be to mention both the external resource and the problem summary, but for these specific categories of challenges. I'd say that the external resource is more relevant.

  • Acceptable title: "Advent of Code Day 5"
  • Not good title: "Crossed Wires"
  • OK title: "Advent of Code - Crossed wires"
  • Good title: "Advent of Code Day 5 - Crossed wires"
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No, they are fine as is

The comment you posted was:

The current question title isn't useful without the external resource. Please edit to summarize the requirement in your own words. Please see How to get the best value out of Code Review: Asking Questions for guidance on writing good question titles.

And that link clearly states:

Use a title that is catchy, and describes the problem your code solves. A question with the title "New programmer looking for advice" is both 'obvious' and meaningless. How does that differentiate your question from any other? Everyone is 'looking for advice', so that's useless. A title like "Project Euler #18 - Max path in a triangle" is much better.

"Advent of Code 2019 Day 3, Part 3" is very similar to "Project Euler #18 - Max path in a triangle"

What would better describe the problem it solves than the name of the problem it solves?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think those two titles are very different: "Project Euler #18 - Max path in a triangle" includes a summary, and "Advent of Code 2019 Day 3, Part 3" doesn't. The latter may be a "name", but it's a content-free name: it conveys virtually no information to the reader. \$\endgroup\$ – Toby Speight Dec 4 '19 at 10:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TobySpeight I completely agree, so I wrote an alternative answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Dec 4 '19 at 14:24

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