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After this question, I became interested in looking for various relationships in post popularity. While reading through the HNQ list, I noticed that some questions are capitalized in title case, and others written like sentences. So, I used a SEDE query to get a table of question data, and started analyzing.

From a list of 11066 questions, 10937 started with a letter (once '"`([{ are filtered out). These were divided into six groups, based on the case of the first letters of the words.

Average Post:

  • Mean Votes: 18.741
  • Mean Views: 2444.953

One Word: Lowercase:

There are only 8 of these. Statistically, they tend to do worse than average. Note that my program only counted spaces as word boundaries.

  • Posts: 0.073%
  • Mean Votes: 15.5
  • Mean Views: 1767.375

One Word: Uppercase:

These tend to do better, although there are only 34 of them.

  • Posts: 0.311%
  • Mean Votes: 25.971
  • Mean Views: 2509.735

All Lowercase:

All-lowercase titles tend to score lower, potentially because they tend to be lower-effort questions.

  • Posts: 0.91%
  • Mean Votes: 7.697
  • Mean Views: 1465.273

Title Case:

Title case is slightly uglier to me, although the votes seem to indicate that title case questions do better than average.

  • Posts: 19.32%
  • Mean Votes: 19.359
  • Mean Views: 2056.176

First Word Lowercase:

There are but 30 questions which don't begin with a capitalized word, but have one later on. They tend to do worse than average.

  • Posts: 0.274%
  • Mean Votes: 15.567
  • Mean Views: 1974.667

First Word Uppercase:

This category is all non-title-case posts which begin with a capitalized word (and are more than one word in length). This category gets more average views than title case, but less average votes. Odd.

  • Posts: 79.025%
  • Mean Votes: 18.708
  • Mean Views: 2553.225

These results are probably 99% caused by outliers, but still interesting. We can take away some important points from them:

  • If you want a post to be popular, capitalizing the first word increases the average number of views by 64%
  • Over 98% of question titles are either title case or sentence case
  • Only 42 questions are one word in length
  • This was not a productive use of my time
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  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ I think you have correlation backwards - questions becoming popular magically changes their titles' capitalization. \$\endgroup\$ – Esolanging Fruit Dec 9 '19 at 8:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @EsolangingFruit That's also a possibility, although I'd say a question is more likely to be taken seriously if the title is formatted well (and all-lowercase titles tend to be lower quality with more misspellings) \$\endgroup\$ – Redwolf Programs Dec 9 '19 at 13:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now to think of a good challenge where it's appropriate to use all caps in the title so I can be the first! \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Dean Dec 9 '19 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamDean Nope! \$\endgroup\$ – pppery Dec 11 '19 at 4:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @pppery DAMMIT! But that looks like a really interesting challenge, thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Dean Dec 11 '19 at 9:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably another interesting one is about ending punctuation e.g. ! or ?. \$\endgroup\$ – Bubbler Dec 12 '19 at 10:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bubbler I think I'll do question punctuation and formatting next, then one on answer formatting. Good idea! \$\endgroup\$ – Redwolf Programs Dec 12 '19 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not knowledgeable about SEDE, but as a suggestion it might be interesting to plot challenge popularity (votes or views) as a function of challenge length (number of characters) \$\endgroup\$ – Luis Mendo Dec 18 '19 at 10:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LuisMendo codegolf.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/18262/… \$\endgroup\$ – Redwolf Programs Dec 18 '19 at 14:24

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