Long Titles Smell

A long page title may describe its content but it is not likely to become part of the community's vocabulary. Take for example, YouArentGonnaNeedIt. This phrase admits enough variations that one often has trouble citing the page from memory. Its popularity and frequency of citation doesn't help either. Nor does the habit of abbreviating it YAGNI.

So here are some tips for authors inclined to make a long title ...

But long titles are sometimes required for clear expression of an intention or an idea.

No, clear page text is required for clear expression of an idea. Think of each page title as the name of a Pattern. And no, don't use PLoP as your examples because PLoP is silly.

YouArentGonnaNeedIt could be just YouWontNeedIt?, or ItsNotNeeded? but at some point the descriptiveness breaks down. The smell is from the dissonance of titles simultaneously being a set of words and a name. It gets really bad when using computer terms that come straight from common english. LongTitlesSmell isn't relevant to research papers. Throw in terms like methodology, abstraction, model, interface and protocol, and you've got a lot of confusion. If I said TheModelIsTooLarge? - but I meant it in the 3d modeling context, how do I distinguish that from a software model? The only logical solution is to say TheThreeDeeModelIsTooLarge? vs TheSoftwareModelIsTooLarge?, but then we are back to a long title.

I think that the smell is really titles that will never fit into the surrounding text. As long as the title might be the target of AccidentalLinking, it doesn't really matter how long is is. ClosuresAndObjectsAreEquivalent works, as does DateAndDarwensTypeSystem, as does, IMHO, YouArentGonnaNeedIt. Most of the examples listed below don't, because I can't imagine working CodeBrowserAsExcuseForMess into a grammatically correct sentence.

I wish we could get back to the old custom of creating pages through PromptingStatement (one of the TipsFromWardCunningham, though it's really from KentBeck). If every page was first referenced from at least one other page (and not just as a see-also or moved-to), it would get rid of OrphanPages, WalledGardens, the LongTitlesSmell, much OffTopic material, and possibly reduce ThreadMode and the BulletedThreadsSmell. -- JonathanTang

How about a TwoLinkMinimum? guideline: refrain from creating a page until you can find at least two existing pages that would be improved by linking to it. (This discussion should probably be moved to WhenToCreatePages.)
Long titles may be seen at http://downlode.org/wiki/long_names.html (updated nightly).
There has been a recent spate of LongTitle?s. Could we have a quick show of hands for/against LongTitles?:

For: (1)

Against: (3)

Examples: OnceAndOnlyOnceForRequirementsDocuments, TuringEquivalencyForDataStructures, SubTypingAndSubClassing, CodeBrowserAsExcuseForMess, HowCanSomethingBeSuperGreatWithoutProducingExternalEvidence, YouKnowYoureInaWildWestCompanyWhen, UnderscoreVersusCapitalAndLowerCaseVariableNaming (and on...)

It needs to be as long as it needs to be to get the idea across.

Too short is a smell. Too long is a smell.

If you have a joining word (e.g. 'as', 'and', 'for') then you can probably separate into at least two pages. OnceAndOnlyOnceForRequirementsDocuments is a good example: OnceAndOnlyOnce and RequirementsDocument are already pages and it would be simpler to add the references between the pages to connect them. If you want to have this page temporarily you can put a WikiTag like DeleteWhenCooked.

See WikiSmell, CodeSmell, ShTiSm


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