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This question related to writing titles and editing posts. It is well-understood that titles should be expressive and tell about the content of the post, i.e., about the specific question being asked. Along these lines, should we encourage having latex in the title, or ASCII (or, wording) approximation?

For example, in this question, should the title be:

  • Show that the language of non-squares is context-free

  • Show that $L = {xy \mid |x| = |y|, x\neq y}$ is context-free

I'd like to know what is cs.SE policy on that?

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The problem I see here is that LaTeX will not be parsed by most (all?) feed readers nor in the mobile apps.

I have been annoyed regularly by LaTeX-heavy titles that are incomprehensible when not translated. Therefore, I propose that we strive to restrict use of LaTeX in titles to the absolute minimum. In this case, that means none.

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    $\begingroup$ Seconded, for another argument: titles factor heavily in search result relevance, and TeX can't be searched for under most circumstances. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Mar 13 '12 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ Also, many formulae in titles might scare newcomers with little formal CS eduction. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 13 '12 at 17:37
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The only problem is writing $\LaTeX$ commands in title without anything else, I mean a title which is only a $\LaTeX$ command and a title starting with a $\LaTeX$ command. This usage was rejected in Mathematics.

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  • $\begingroup$ And a title using the same amount of LaTeX plus additional text is yet longer, which I don't like. That said, small stuff like $a$ or even $n_i$ should not be a problem as it can be read easily. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 13 '12 at 16:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael: It doesn't matter that it's long but it does matter a user can see what's being asked before clicking on it which is how titles should work on SE sites. $\endgroup$ – Gigili Mar 13 '12 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know about you, but I like shorter titles when skimming dozens of items in my feed reader. Maybe we should have a long version for the site and a short version for feeds? $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 13 '12 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael: It's not about me and you, the OP is asking about "SE policy" on this which is how older SE sites with LaTeX support work. $\endgroup$ – Gigili Mar 13 '12 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ You might not like many things but it doesn't prove that there's something wrong with them. =) $\endgroup$ – Gigili Mar 13 '12 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Any discussion about policy will in the end mean that few extrapolate what the needs to others might be. There was a thread on cstheory.SE were people complained that LaTeX was not parsed in Google Reader; this suggests to me that I am not alone. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 13 '12 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ And don't forget that we can make our own policy: we do not have to repeat others make. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 13 '12 at 17:37

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