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A user has been editing questions, which is generally a good thing and they are a good contributor, but they often edit the question title to title case. This has approximately doubled the number of title case questions on Stack Exchange Signal Processing: In a random sample of 20 title case questions (with a score ≥ 1), 10 were due to an edit by that user.

  • An example sentence case question title
  • An Example Title Case Question Title

I think such edits should be discouraged, because even though there is no official policy, the preferred case for question titles on Stack Exchange is sentence case. I can give this evidence for that:

  • The main meta question Title capitalization has a strong concensus for sentence case and gives also the reasons:

    • Sentence case is more readable, especially when one is looking through a long list of questions.
    • Questions may appear in other contexts—such as a newsletter or search results—where title case looks awkward, or worse, gives the wrong impression of what content is being linked to.
    • Using sentence case encourages one to remember to write a complete, grammatically correct sentence.
  • In English Language & Usage Meta question How Should Titles Be Capitalized? all answers support using sentence case and the highest-voted and accepted answer notes that the question title "is more of a question summary than a title."

  • Physics Stack Exchange meta question How do we write good question titles? has an accepted and a highly upvoted community wiki answer which instructs: "Capitalize only the first word and proper nouns in the title. Do not capitalize other words."
  • All examples of good question titles in the accepted and most upvoted answer to this English Language Learners Stack Exchange question are in sentence case.
  • The Stack Overflow Meta question Title Case Title Edit Suggestions asks almost the same question as I do here, and the accepted and by far the most upvoted answer states: "Converting a clearly written title into title case is unnecessary, and may in fact make the question harder to read. Question titles don't need to be title case, and usually aren't on Stack Exchange sites."
  • Stack Overflow Ask a Question page has the good question title examples in sentence case.

Some perspective from outside Stack Exchange:

  • While in scientific journals title case is still perhaps more common, and its use is supported by multiple style guides, it is not strange to and the trend is towards using sentence case in scientific and news article titles and headlines, see for example articles in scientific journals of AIP Publishing and the newspapers The Times and Washington Post since 2009. Google Scholar converts article titles to sentence case for listing.
  • Titles or names of self-standing works such as books are normally in title case. But even the English language Wikipedia pages are titled with sentence case by a generally accepted standard, even though they are closer to works than Stack Exchange questions are.
  • The Wikipedia article Letter case states: "In English-language publications, various conventions are used for the capitalisation of words in publication titles and headlines, including chapter and section headings. The rules differ substantially between individual house styles."

I have been reverting some of the title-only edits, but the user edits back to title case. Examples:

That question titles are being systematically converted to title case is bugging me, because it is against a justified norm that I support. We should not edit war. How can this be resolved?

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  • $\begingroup$ Have a look on the NY Times :-). $\endgroup$ – Royi Aug 19 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Royi yes, they use title case, as do most scientific publications for article titles. $\endgroup$ – Olli Niemitalo Aug 19 at 9:24
  • $\begingroup$ Even in ArXiv some use Title Case, some doesn't. In our days many people doesn't keep the correct English. So? I edit question I contribute to. I don't touch others. Seems reasonable to me. Don't see why you make an issue out of it. I promise not to touch question I don't contribute to or those you contribute to. $\endgroup$ – Royi Aug 19 at 9:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Royi Depends on what counts as "to contribute to". :-) If most of the question text is by an editor, then I would not mind the question title being in an unconventional casing that they prefer. But tagging or copy editing would not be enough. $\endgroup$ – Olli Niemitalo Aug 19 at 10:02
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I tend to prefer sentence case, as that Meta Stackexchange post says. We should make that clear, by stating it here.

For these examples, the editor changing things to title case is a good contributor... I'll see if I can contact them on other questions / answers where they may be @ed.

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    $\begingroup$ (Not needed for this question anymore) I just learned that any editor of a question can be notified by @username anywhere in a comment to the question, even when there is no autocomplete for that. $\endgroup$ – Olli Niemitalo Aug 20 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ @OlliNiemitalo I didn't know that! $\endgroup$ – Peter K. Aug 20 at 14:44
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Do we all agree those are titles?
If we do, what's the logic of Sentence Case for a title?

I'm not a native English speaker but I try follow the language rules.
It is funny to see people not using capital letters at the beginning of the sentence, not using Title Case for titles, etc...

Moreover, I don't understand what's the issue here.
I can see Olli prefers one thing and I'm the other while the policy is not set.
Olli, I have never override your edits. I'd appreciate that you'd leave mine.

Thank You.

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  • $\begingroup$ There is no policy, but I added to the question a lot of evidence which supports that a strong consensus and the normal convention is to use sentence case. I have not been able to find evidence which supports using title case. Hopefully you will change your preference based on the evidence. $\endgroup$ – Olli Niemitalo Aug 19 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ It is a preference, not a policy. You have a preference, I have a different one. I edit mostly question I answer to, add tag or think I should make it more clear. Most questions are left untouched (Which again, It is English, it is a title, it should be Title Case, that's the whole point of Title Case). $\endgroup$ – Royi Aug 19 at 9:21

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