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As we know from 'ce' prepended to equations in url slug?, any mhchem that gets edited into question titles affects the URL slug, e.g., http://chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/5938/how-many-molecules-of-ceo-2-are-needed-to-oxidise-25-mathrmg-of-ce

I have been letting edits slide that make changes to the titles (originally we were going to try to use Unicode subscripts and superscripts -- see my "about me" section -- but that hasn't caught on).

Should we be more judicious about editing mhchem into titles, or does the fact that the questions look better on the page trump having a searchable url slug?

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  • $\begingroup$ Should one edit question titles that contain '\ce' or only be mindful about its use in future questions? $\endgroup$ – Philipp Aug 21 '13 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Philipp I would say that we should be mindful. Feel free to slowly un-ce old questions (fix other things too!) if no one else objects. Basically, the main page shouldn't get disturbed too much. $\endgroup$ – ManishEarth Aug 21 '13 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @ManishEarth: Do you think unicode characters should be used for subscripts/superscripts and such, e.g. H₂O? $\endgroup$ – Philipp Aug 21 '13 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Philipp Not sure, I suspect they bork Google and the slug just as much. We could edit them into a trial question and wait a few days for Google to catch up to see what it does to the Unicode. $\endgroup$ – ManishEarth Aug 21 '13 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @ManishEarth Sounds good, I will do so with the question that is referenced by jonsca. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Aug 21 '13 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ @ManishEarth Ah, sorry, maybe this question is a better target since more subscripts are involved: chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/5742/… $\endgroup$ – Philipp Aug 21 '13 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Philipp Edit approved. The slug now says "mncho" (not bad), we can wait a few days for Google Cache to pick it up. $\endgroup$ – ManishEarth Aug 21 '13 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ @ManishEarth I thought the unicode was okay. We'll have to check (unless you did already and I'm incorrect). $\endgroup$ – jonsca Aug 21 '13 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ @jonsca Hmm, right. It should turn up as Unicode on Google Search, however I'm unsure if H₂O turns up when you search for H2O $\endgroup$ – ManishEarth Aug 21 '13 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ When I search for "Mn(C2H3O2)2" on Google Search the "\ce"-containing version of the question I edited turns up on the first page. The unicode versions seem to be less successfull (at least searches for "H₂O" and "H2O" give quite different results). Maybe the titles containing "\ce" are not that bad. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Aug 22 '13 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ ah sorry that was my fault! I'll fix it $\endgroup$ – Tomcat Aug 29 '13 at 2:02
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I don't think we should use any MathJax in titles unless it is absolutely necessary. Mathjax breaks the title in search engines, in feeds, on twitter, in the hot questions list on other sites and probably some other places I forgot. It also introduces a noticeable delay until it is rendered (strongly dependent on browser and computer) which we should not introduce without reason.

I think in titles it is perfectly acceptable to just write H2O instead of $\ce{H2O}$, most chemical formulas look reasonable if you write them that way.

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  • $\begingroup$ The unicode subscripts actually look pretty authentic, and I don't think they break any of the above. $\endgroup$ – jonsca Aug 21 '13 at 0:17
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    $\begingroup$ +1, I strongly agree with avoiding MathJax in titles. In addition to the impact on search engines, aggregators, etc. it also mangles the tiles in any JS-disabled browsers and alters the right-click context menus in some browsers when the MathJax encoded text is clicked. $\endgroup$ – Greg E. Aug 23 '13 at 5:41

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