Please add question titles to AskMe front page June 16, 2006 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Please add the question title to the front page in AskMe.
posted by smackfu to Feature Requests at 6:19 AM (26 comments total)

So far today: Example 1, Example 2

Previewing doesn't seem to help in this case, since it shows the post with the title included.
posted by smackfu at 6:22 AM on June 16, 2006

nooooo! question titles are just usually cutesy little things, it only needs to be made clear on the posting page that the title doesn't show up on the main page.
posted by soma lkzx at 6:28 AM on June 16, 2006

Everyone who reads via the RSS feed sees the titles, and they seem to manage.
posted by smackfu at 6:30 AM on June 16, 2006

I was just about to post a comment about needing to redesign the posting page, and then I went and looked at it. How the hell do people screw this up?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 6:31 AM on June 16, 2006

Agreed. Having the titles on the page would also result in less questions (on the front page) being read all the way through. Plus, I think it would clutter up the page too much.
posted by Witty at 6:32 AM on June 16, 2006

Perhaps they should just be labeled more clearly in the askme post page. (Title and askme front page line?) I've always assumed this happens because people don't know that the first title is just the HTML page title and not the line that gets posted to the front page of askme.

I realize this solution is wishful thinking. No one would read the labels anyway.
posted by 517 at 6:38 AM on June 16, 2006

We talked about this last month (not a callout, just thought it would be useful).

I can only think that people are going back and editing their questions after filling in the title field at the bottom, probably thinking something along the lines of "Geez, why did they put that all the way down here?".

My suggestion: the posting page should call it a one-line summary instead of a title. It doesn't really make sense to call it a title and then not have it appear above the text of the question in all cases, and I agree with Witty that the page would be too cluttered with all the titles on it.
posted by teleskiving at 6:41 AM on June 16, 2006

They screw it up because people don't read instructions, and there are a whole lot of instructions on that page now.

Plus even if they do read it, it says "This will show up on the front page" -- to contrast it from the more inside. What it should say is "This is the only thing that will show up on the front page". Assuming people even know what "front page" means in this context.

And yeah, it's been discussed before, but nothing was fixed and it's still happening.
posted by smackfu at 6:42 AM on June 16, 2006

Rename it to "one line summary" or the like and this problem will go away. The use of title-as-topic-sentence is really annoying.
posted by Plutor at 6:59 AM on June 16, 2006

"One line summary, primarily for RSS feeds"?
posted by Witty at 7:03 AM on June 16, 2006

They screw it up because not everyone equates the word Title with the html Title. All that needs to be done is to explain on the page that it won't appear on the green but is for the rss feed and title bar.
posted by dobbs at 7:05 AM on June 16, 2006

"one line summary" makes it sound like it's the thing that shows up on the front page, methinks.
posted by soma lkzx at 7:07 AM on June 16, 2006

Another thing: when you preview the question, you get the "This is how your question will look" message. This should be "This is how your question will look on its own page" and another bit that says "This is how your question will look on the AskMe front page" (maybe the front-page preview before the own-page one).

i.e. what smackfu said.
posted by hangashore at 7:17 AM on June 16, 2006

I fixed the two examples from today, by the way.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:19 AM on June 16, 2006

How about a link to a (worked) example of a good question? Have a page mocked up with the form fields filled in, with a bit of explanatory text that tells what the questioner has done right. Maybe even an example or two of questions done wrong so you can set up a "posted by Goofus/posted by Gallant" comparison.

Yeah, I checked if Goofus and Gallant were valid posters.
posted by hangashore at 7:29 AM on June 16, 2006

Good idea hangashore.
posted by Witty at 7:57 AM on June 16, 2006

also result in less questions

Less mashed potatos, fewer french fries.
posted by ChasFile at 10:22 AM on June 16, 2006

I said this last time:

What you need it two previews on the preview page - one showing excatly what it will look like on the front page, and one showing how it looks within the thread. The current page only shows the latter.

Or simpler, than that, don't show the title on the preview page.
posted by cillit bang at 11:47 AM on June 16, 2006

Or simpler, than that, don't show the title on the preview page.

posted by cortex at 12:18 PM on June 16, 2006


Next in line, please.
posted by antifreez_ at 12:43 PM on June 16, 2006

Perhaps, under the "Headline/Title:" box, it should read "This will not show up on the front page!
posted by MrZero at 12:51 PM on June 16, 2006

Maybe the title and the main "question" field should be condensed into one field? If not, the title should definitely show up on the front page.

The problem is that the question writer often divides their question into two component questions, one in each field. The reader only fully comprehends if he/she reads both.

It happens very often that I read a question on the front page, start to answer it and then realize that the meaning of the question has been changed entirely by the title.

An example (that I can't seem to find) is the question:

How can I eat well on the cheap?

The title said "Where to find pre-packaged foods in bulk?" or something like that. Obviously, the meaning of the question is valid with or without the title, but has a completely separate meaning depending on whether you noticed it. Once you've seen the question on the front page and start formulating a response, you're unlikely to notice the title.
posted by helios at 1:02 PM on June 16, 2006

I would vote to just kill the title thing altogether (it's always annoying to come up with one). If we really need a title for RSS/browser titlebars, base it on the tags, like this (based on the top question now): "Ask MetaFilter: a question about futures, tradesports, betting, gambling, prediction and markets". Could turn out a bit funny, but I think it's better than what we've got now. Questions don't need titles, and having them just causes problems.
posted by reklaw at 1:41 PM on June 16, 2006

That would rely on the questioner having very descriptive tags - I'm sure there are lots of people who delve into AskMe solely through RSS, for whom the virtue of the title is that it expresses the question pithily and lets them know whether they want to read or answer it. A bit of relabelling on the "post question" page seems like the best way to avoid problems like this, to me. It's not that annoying to try to boil down your problem to a single sentence (the pressure of finding a witty title for the blue is much more annoying, in my experience).
posted by greycap at 1:46 PM on June 16, 2006

How the hell do people screw this up?

It is kind of weird. The title is at the bottom of the posting page, and yet a few folks still think it'll show up as the first part of their question. Matt's tried a number of things to make it idiot-proof over the last year, but while there'll probably always be a few folks who miss the point, he may want to look again. Changing "Your question" to "Your question as it will appear on the AskMe front page" might work a little better than what's there now.

Or simpler, than that, don't show the title on the preview page.

I like that; it's quick and easy, especially combined with the change above. There'll probably still be a handful of people in such a rush to post their question that they don't bother reading the preview at all, but at least we'll be continuing the downward trend. Anyway, smackfu's resurrected suggestion is still a bad one; a lot of folks use a variant of the first line of their question as the title, which would add way too much redundancy to the front page if both appeared one after the other.
posted by mediareport at 6:07 PM on June 16, 2006

I agree with Plutor, calling it a summary should help. People must be reading the label or they wouldn't get to the bottom and think 'this must be where I introduce my question'.
posted by jacalata at 9:53 PM on June 16, 2006

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