I have chosen to begin a new node with this write-up because it is, in a way,
a metanode. It takes advice from many different node title nodes and attempts to
combine the best of the suggestions. Links to all the nodes I took information
from are included in the body of this write-up
In Everything2 there is a huge amount of advice available to newbies and
oldbies alike as to how node titles should be chosen. I feel that a title is
as significant a part as any other of any prose, and needs as much thought and
care to choose. Here are my suggestions, followed by a number of links to write-ups
by people who have considered this problem in the past.
1. Choose the first draft of your title.
What is your piece? If it can be expressed in one word, wonderful.
Use the one word. If it cannot, write what the thing is in a way which pleases
2. Remove unnecessary capitalisation and punctuation
There is stylistic advice in Capitalization in Nodes, although the write-ups
contradict one another quite dramatically in places. It is my belief that the
rule is use maximal capitalisation in a book, song or newspaper title, and
minimal capitalisation in an article or essay title. Since E2 seems to be
mainly a collection of articles and essays, I'd suggest sticking with minimal
capitalisation, no matter how it grates.
All unnecessary punctuation is also a no-no. Necessary punctuation is:
full stops to end actual sentences (as a very basic guide, every sentence
has a verb happening to a noun), appropriate apostrophes, and
question marks ending questions (and all questions should be
3. Remove unnecessary words.
Good places to look are adjectives (words which modify nouns) and
adverbs (words which modify verbs)
4. Remove unnecessary information.
This is different from the point above. It's not taking out individual words,
but entire phrases which are not necessary to the meaning of your write-up.
This will be the longest part of the paring down process - or it is for me,
5. Apply aesthetics to what is left. The remainder of your once
perfect node title is likely to be looking pretty lopsided and yucky at the
moment. Apply a little decorative grammar as first-aid till it looks better.
Here are two examples I have been using to help me work this out:
Trina's Exhaustive Guide to Choosing the E2 Node Title which Best Suits
your Write-up, with Lots of Information from Various E2 Users.
That's how I would have liked to title this node, if I weren't trying hard
to follow my own advice. It says everything the node is about, uses language
which pleases my own sense of aesthetics, and uses maximal capitalisation. Which
The Powers That Be don't like. And rightly so.
So. Fixing the capitalisation and punctuation.
It's not actually a full sentence so I have to lose the full stop, but it
starts with my name so I am allowed to keep the initial capital, and
"E2" is a proper noun, so I can keep that one, too.
Trina's exhaustive guide to choosing the E2 node title which best suits
your write-up, with lots of information from various E2 users
Now. There's a heap of information in that title. We can loose the adjectives
first. There's no real need for them.
Trina's guide to choosing the E2 node title which suits your write-up,
with information from E2 users.
Now I'm having a think. Is it really going to matter to anyone where
this information comes from, when they are looking for it? Not really. OK
guide to choosing the E2 node title which suits your write-up
It's getting there, but there's still a way to go.
We all know this is E2 and I am talking about choosing a node title,
so "E2" is redundant.
guide to choosing the node title which suits your write-up
And if the person reading the write-up is the one doing the choosing, they
probably know whose write-up it has to suit.
guide to choosing the node title
This is beginning to look like a node title of the sort favoured by The
Powers That Be. But it's still not right. Does it really matter that
this is a guide? I guess not.
choosing the node title
It's looking good. I'm going to make an aesthetic judgement here, and
change the "the" to an "a" though, just cos I would feel
horribly uncomfortable leaving it like that.
choosing a node title
Here we have the essence of the original title, stripped to its bare bones.
I think The Powers That Be will like it.
But it doesn't always work so well.
It takes me a very long time to ejaculate. Is there something wrong
with me or with my partner?
This node title is in the form of a statement and a question ("Well,
DUH!!" I hear you cry) and most of the parts of it are necessary to the
sense of the title. Both the statement and the question are proper sentences,
and there is no extra capitalisation present.
Losing the adjectives... "Long time" is the noun phrase in this sentence,
so "very" must be the adjective, as it modifies "long time"
It takes me a long time to ejaculate. Is there something wrong with me
or with my partner?
OK, what extra information is in this title? The person making the statement
has stated the problem, then clarified the problem with a question. Let's try
dropping the clarification.
It takes me a long time to ejaculate.
Hmm... Now it's a simple statement, and without the clarifying question,
the fact that this is a problem (and that the node will have comments on
this fact as a problem) is no longer clear. How about leaving half of
the clarifying question?
It takes me a long time to ejaculate. Is there something wrong with me?
OK, so we've managed to shorten the title quite significantly without badly
changing its meaning. This is a Good Thing. But is there anything more we can
I take a long time to ejaculate. Do I have a problem?
We've dropped from a nineteen word title to a twelve word title while
retaining the sense of that title. Excuse me while I go drop a message
to a very friendly, helpful and overworked god
These are my thoughts and recommendations on this subject, but E2 has so many
noders with so many ideas that it would be a shame to leave you with the
impression that my recommendations are the best or the only. For more Node Tile information
you could check out any or all of these:
There is choose short titles in which Sylvar argues that a short
title is elegant, easily searched for, and easy to link to, ariels agrees and
adds some capitalisation and metanode points, sabre23t points out some of the
limitations of E2's search engine and why they make longer titles more easy to
find, and mblase notices that longer titles get more attention and are therefore
more likely to be found in Cool User Picks and the like.
There is Choose Long Titles where vladkornea mirrors Sylvar's short title
write up almost word for word, but illustrating the reasons longer node titles
can be elegant and easily searched for.
There is Choose Long Titles Where Appropriate in which jesdynf tells us that
s/he feels a lot of E2's character can be found in its longer node titles.
There is pick titles carefully, and of course we should all do this, where
dem bones tells us to "put stuff where it goes" and explains how to
achieve this. This write-up is probably the most informative of any of the node
titling nodes. ukyoCE, sabre23t, ariels, Gorgonzola and WWWWolf also
have interesting and useful points to make in this node.
There's Singular-Plural Node Title Mismatch where sl0throp explains when to
link to zebra and when to link to zebras, and how to go about it, and tim
three says noding plurals is a good idea when writing about collections.
There are illustrations of how departing from the norm in titling can lead to
problems in One example of why you should pick titles carefully, in confusing node title,
in italicized node titles and in on the dangers of putting node titles in quotation marks.
There is advice about what not to do in Don't namespace your lyrics and in
Please stick to the title of the node.
I hope this is of use to you.
I know writing it has been of use to me.