Page's title should always be capitalized

Vote “agree” if you think Ar­bital should en­force the first let­ter of a page ti­tle to always be cap­i­tal.

Pro:

Vi­sual consistency

Vi­sual con­sis­tency is very im­por­tant, and makes the web­site look pro­fes­sional. If some ti­tles are cap­i­tal­ized and oth­ers aren’t, this leads to in­con­sis­tent look and feel.

Meta-information

One ar­gu­ment for al­low­ing differ­ent cas­ing is that the au­thor’s choice can sig­nal to the reader how im­por­tant this page /​ con­cept is. How­ever, there is some risk that many users will not un­der­stand that this sig­nal­ing is done on pur­pose, and will in­stead think that it’s a mis­take.

Ad­di­tional complexity

Sim­plicty is a virtue. Ar­bital is already a pretty com­pli­cated plat­form, and there are a lot of ex­ist­ing Style guidelines, so adding an­other rule, un­less it’s benefi­cial, is ac­tively detri­men­tal.

Fur­ther­more, since the pages of­ten be­long to the com­mu­nity, hav­ing flex­ible cas­ing might cause in­con­sis­tency and dis­agree­ment about it. To pre­vent that, the rule gov­ern­ing which one to pick should be crisp and some­what ob­jec­tive, which seems hard to do in this case.

Con:

Con­flict with ex­ist­ing cap­i­tal­iza­tion conventions

The differ­ence be­tween low­er­case and up­per­case may carry se­man­tic in­for­ma­tion in some fields. Noth­ing is com­ing to mind off the top of my head, but Wikipe­dia has the {{low­er­case ti­tle}} tag for a rea­son.

Se­man­tic information

I have an in­stinc­tive sense of how propernouny a term is, and I in­stinc­tively try to ti­tle pages in a way that re­flects this sense. Even if this is hard to get right, it doesn’t have to be got­ten right on the first try, be­cause in Ar­bital it’s much eas­ier to edit ti­tles with­out break­ing things com­pared to Wikis.

Mo­ral caution

Other users may have their own senses of what a low­er­case ti­tle means. While the global Ar­bital names­pace prob­a­bly ought to fol­low only one main con­ven­tion, peo­ple cre­at­ing lo­cal wiki-style pages and tags around their blogs should cer­tainly be able to ti­tle things in low­er­case, so we’ll at least want the tech­nol­ogy to sup­port that much.

In gen­eral, con­ven­tions are con­straints and it’s wise to be cau­tious about how you re­strain your users. Things that cause gen­eral dam­age, yes, re­strain those. Pret­tifi­ca­tion is a much more ten­u­ous ter­ri­tory, be­cause the very act of try­ing to im­pose your con­ven­tion means that you and the user are dis­agree­ing about what’s pretty, and you’re go­ing ahead and other-op­ti­miz­ing them in the be­lief or rather hope that most peo­ple will see it your way rather than their way; and the Typ­i­cal Mind Fal­lacy is a haz­ard here.

In gen­eral, the bur­den of proof should be against adding con­straints to the user. This is true if there’s no way to ac­com­plish the same goal by be­hav­ior shap­ing or in­cen­tives—the very fact that you can’t think of a way to in­cen­tivize some­thing is it­self of­ten an in­di­ca­tor of some­thing wrong.

We can always go back and change the con­ven­tion later if that starts look­ing like a good idea.

Parents:

  • Arbital community input

    Do you have ideas about how to im­prove Ar­bital which you think the com­mu­nity should dis­cuss?