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Old 11-07-2009, 04:31 PM   #1
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Default Please use specific, explicit subject lines

I'm not a moderator or anything, and this isn't a rule, but I'd like to ask people who are starting new threads to take a few moments to think of a subject line that is explicit and specific about the subject of the thread. Not because it is a rule, and certainly not because I say so, but because it is a courtesy and a convenience to other users, and because it actually helps your thread to do what you want it to do.

Newspapers and magazines exist to make sales and to sell advertising, so it serves their purpose to have headlines that are intriguing, puzzling, ambiguous, and even mystifying. Attracting the attention even of people who aren't interested in the content of an article is good for a business that sells papers and advertising. And so the perplexing or even misleading headline is almost the rule in journalism.

A post on the forums is in a different boat. It's in your interest as original poster (1) in the first place to attract specifically the people who are interested in your specific subject, and (2) in the second place to label your thread in such a way that people who got interested in it one day to find it again a couple of days later and see how the discussion has got on. Attracting the attention of people who aren't interested doesn't help. A vague and ambiguous subject line such as "A few rules questions" or "How do I model this power" actually loses you readers as people looking for a specific discussion can't recognise it by subject line.

So please, as a courtesy and convenience to your readers and other forum users, try to give your threads explicit subject lines that are specific to thread content.
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:38 PM   #2
Lord Carnifex
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Default Re: Please use specific, explicit subject lines

I am not a moderator either, but I fully endorse and support this idea.
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Old 11-15-2009, 12:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Please use specific, explicit subject lines

I support this idea too, even though I'll admit in the early days I was a prime violator of its doctrine.

If you've got a problem you're looking to get solved, a clear title immediately shows the forum readers what it is and makes it easier for the experts to get help to you.

If you've got a cool idea you want to share, a clear title means those who are idly flipping through the forums can find it immediately and start to jump on board and contribute.

The main exception that I can see (and which gave rise to my threads which didn't follow this idea) is when somebody's coming in with a fairly nebulous task at hand, like building a campaign setting. In such a case it might be the only solution to have one single thread titled after the campaign setting, where you gather all the relevant suggestions and input. Even so, to actually gather the suggestions and input, you're likely to need to start smaller threads specifying the separate problems.
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Old 11-15-2009, 03:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Please use specific, explicit subject lines

Agreed, agreed, agreed! Whenever I see a subject title that says "This may be a stupid question, but ..." and nothing further, I'm a little tempted to skip over without reading. I have no idea from the heading whether I can help, or have the same question, or would be wasting my time to read it.

A subject title that says "WTF happened to Passive Defense?" may be a little crass, but at least I know where it's going.

(Submitted by a journalist who tries to write intriguing, but non-perplexing headlines in his professional life. *wink* )
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:13 AM   #5
The Fox
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Default Re: Please use specific, explicit subject lines

I think we can all agree that clear thread titles are a good idea. As I can't imagine someone coming in here and posting 'no, I really enjoy discussing things in a vague and nebulous manner,' I think this thread has served its purpose.
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