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I edited this question's title (Death Note spoiler) to avoid spoilers. Later on, it was rolled back. Should I not have edited it then?

I'm not quite sure that the title is needed to contain such spoiler. The fact that it is tagged as Death Note seems sufficient to suggest who is meant by 'shinigami' and 'character'. Besides you can always type the real question in the post. This can still be searchable in google afaik.

So if the question is

Why did John kill Jane?

, then why not have the title be something that censors (at least 1 of) the names like

Why did X kill Y?

and then just say the real question in the post.

If this title isn't informative enough, then perhaps we can say the episode title/chapter or the season or volume. Eg

Why did X kill Y in S02E04 ?

or (in case that would be a spoiler)

Why did X kill Y in this season 2 episode ?

I happen to know in other sites like reddit or myanimelist, it is extremely forbidden to put a spoiler in the title. This isn't just for anime but other for other fiction subreddits/forums and even for, like, sports or gaming subreddits/forums.

'A good title is always more important then avoiding spoilers' would be completely nonsensical there. They even go a step further to say you should say what kind of spoiler you're hiding eg season X spoiler, manga spoiler, spoiler for another show, etc

Or maybe this is a stackexchange thing...What do movies se or scifi se do? Do they spoil people too?

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2 Answers 2

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I don't really agree with the other answer.

I strongly advocate for avoiding spoilers in titles except when they are really, genuinely, 100% necessary for the post to make any sense. Keep in mind that when you google for an answer to some anime-related question, google indexes both the title and the body of the post, so stuff is still findable even if you're somewhat roundabout in the title. While I imagine the title is granted more weight, avoiding spoilers in the title still likely does little harm. I think that the benefit of avoiding spoiling users' experience with various shows outweighs the cost of losing some descriptiveness in the titles.

I also want to point out that while the claim "the ignore tag feature will allow users to ignore any tags in a series they wish to avoid spoilers about", is technically correct, it does not propose a practically useful course of action. Here's why:

Suppose that I'm Joe Blow, some dude who's only seen Naruto. One day, I come to Anime.SE and ask some questions about a Ninetales Uchiha Hokage Rasengan. While I'm here, I see some questions on the front page about this thing called "Death Note". That sounds like a pretty metal sort of thing, so I figure I'm going to go and watch that when I get a chance. But! As I'm browsing the front page, I see another question title that reads "Why did Rem kill L?" that's tagged with [death-note]. And then I watch the first few episodes of Death Note, and suddenly the context of that question becomes clear - I know who Rem is, I know who L is, and now I've been spoiled on the fact that Rem is going to kill L at some point!

There's the problem - users cannot, practically speaking, ignore tags for all shows they may want to watch in the future. If you know in advance that you want to avoid spoilers for X, sure, ignore [X]. But if you don't, what can you do to avoid spoilers? If the spoilers are right there in the titles, there's effectively nothing you can do. And that's the problem with putting big spoilers in titles.

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  • Brilliant. Hadn't considered that. Thanks senshin! To the downvoter, care to explain? I don't believe downvoting should be used to indicate disagreement
    – BCLC
    Oct 16, 2015 at 19:09
  • Any recommendations for alternative title for that Rem/L question?
    – BCLC
    Oct 16, 2015 at 19:10
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    Honestly, I would be happy with "Why did Rem kill this character?". It should come as no surprise that Rem kills people, and anybody who has seen the show will easily guess that this is an oblique reference to Rem killing L, since he's the most important character Rem kills.
    – senshin
    Oct 17, 2015 at 19:48
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    @BCLC: Downvotes are used to indicate disagreement, at least in Meta sites on SE network. The topic of voting on meta just comes up on Meta.SO.
    – nhahtdh
    Oct 26, 2015 at 10:21
  • senshin how about 'why did this shinigami kill this human?' ?
    – BCLC
    Jul 23 at 13:52
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The general consensus for questions is that you do not have to avoid spoilers.

As for the title, it just as stated in the post you linked.

The rule I've always followed is to include spoilers in your title only if it's required for the title to be searchable, and clearly indicate what the question is about. In other words, if you can make a good title without spoilers, do so; otherwise include spoilers. A good title is more important than spoilers. After all, the ignore tag feature will allow users to ignore any tags in a series they wish to avoid spoilers about.

I am not to sure how you see your replacement with Shinigami And Character as:

  • Why did the Shinigami Kill the character? would not make for a very good title
  • Why did Shinigami Kill L Which shinigami are we talking about?
  • Why did Rem Kill him? killed whom?

All with all, in this case including the spoiler makes for the best title, and also would most likely be the one most searched for when looking for a answer to such a question

A good title is always more important then avoiding spoilers

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  • How about just putting the real question in the post instead of the title? Can it still be searchable maybe?
    – BCLC
    Oct 15, 2015 at 20:48
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    @BCLC Then what would you make your title. Keep in mind, the title still needs to describe your question. And the current one does a pretty good job at that. If I were you, I would just leave it as is.
    – Dimitri mx Mod
    Oct 15, 2015 at 21:00
  • Toshino Kyouko, 'Question about Rem and L' ? Based on experience, it doesn't seem that that's how stackexchange works, but... Questions about nationalities and languages in Death Note
    – BCLC
    Oct 15, 2015 at 21:29
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    @BCLC Could be possible, but would be less fitting to the question. As for the one you linked. This question asks about a multitude, which makes the current tittle a better option then summing it all up. But if you want to discuss this in more detail, I think it would be a better option to continue in the chat
    – Dimitri mx Mod
    Oct 15, 2015 at 21:38
  • um okay, thanks, Toshino Kyouko
    – BCLC
    Oct 15, 2015 at 21:58
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    Let me just say that I'm neutral here but one argument that comes to my head is: let's go out on a limb and say I hide every tag that I don't want to be spoiled for... Does this also work in chat? Will the question titles not pop up if I have the tags hidden on Stack Exchange? As far as I can tell all questions that get posted are echo'd into chat regardless of your settings.
    – giraffesyo
    Oct 20, 2015 at 2:22
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    @MichaelMcQuade No, your tag-hiding settings on the main site do not carry over into chat.
    – senshin
    Oct 20, 2015 at 18:12
  • Oh I forgot all about this. Haven't been so into anime se much past few years. 'The rule I've always followed is to include spoilers in your title only if it's required for the title to be searchable' - Seriously why? Virtually no subreddit will ever tolerate this. Why is stackexchange different? What's wrong with senshin's answer?
    – BCLC
    Mar 25 at 13:18
  • 'general consensus' --> says who? Can we do a poll? I happen to know on other sites like say reddit or myanimelist this is extremely forbidden. They even go a step further to say you should say what kind of spoiler you're hiding eg season X spoiler, manga spoiler, spoiler for another show, etc
    – BCLC
    Apr 26 at 4:29
  • @BCLC Refer to the Faq post But if you feel that it should be re-addressed, you can always start a new meta post regarding it.
    – Dimitri mx Mod
    Apr 26 at 8:25
  • Dimitrimx What do you mean? This is the post. senshin explains why we should not have spoilers in the title.
    – BCLC
    Jul 23 at 13:53

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