I proposed an edit to the following question: Shortest game with 18 queens? that changed the title from:

Shortest game with 18 queens?


Shortest possible game with 18 queens?

And this edit was approved and then reverted with the comment: Title was fine. Reverted to original.

My reasoning for this edit was that in the initial title the question did not make it particularly clear if the question was asking for a theoretical shortest game (which the question itself makes clear), or if it is looking for a game that was actually played. The number 18 makes it relatively easy to assume that this is a theoretical question, but an analogous situation with the number 5 instead illustrates a scenario where the edit would help by removing any doubt without making the title complicated or long.

I am not proposing that all questions should mention which category they belong to in the title, however when the title could plausibly be from either then it makes sense to provide this information without having to read the question, and in my opinion only improves the title.

Thoughts? Shouldn't we be aiming to make titles as clear as possible in ways like this?

  • 2
    I agree with the OP, the title is unclear. Users should specify if they seek real games only, or if theoretical ones are allowed too. Nov 14, 2014 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


Yes. Questions looking for a game that was actually played require an entirely different method of research than questions asking for theoretical games that maximize, minimize, or otherwise satisfy a certain condition.

It's likely to be a different user answering a question looking for a game than doing thinking/math/programming to answer a theoretical question. If the question author only wants one or the other, inspecificity wastes the time of one of these types of answerers.

I would also suggest dedicated tags for "theoretical" (maybe something that is better distinguished from section of game theory) or "find a game", which is different from "historical game" in that a question on a historical game would refer to and discuss a specific, known game.

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