I'm experimenting with doing "microblogging" with WordPress and I'm doubtful about how to handle "titles" when one uses different post "formats" (the "formats" may or may not be related with the core WP functionality). Many microblogging services don't feature any kind of title field, yet when a title is needed for technical reasons, like HTML page title, the permalink or the RSS post title, it is auto-generated from meta data (like the post date) or from a short excerpt of the text in the post. There are cases when the user puts no text at all like with images or videos (which is not a good practice, but that's another issue); in those cases, in Tumblr at least, the HTML page title is absent, the permalink is only the post 'id' and the RSS title is merely the name of the "format" of the post.
I'm in a dilemma about which could be the best practice for handling empty titles, in cases where is optional to have them:
- Auto-generating the title from the first characters in the content of the post. The theme has to have a function to not show the title when it coincides with the first characters of the "content". That's how the P2 theme works, yet besides of the auto-generating title function itself, I don't know if the option of conditionally not showing the title in the loop can be used in a generic plugin. Also, there may be cases when is not clear if the title is auto-generated (and can be auto-replaced) or actually a custom input.
- Don't auto-generate the post title at all and leaving them empty, but still generate an automatic title for HTML page titles, post slugs and RSS feeds. This may solve some issues with the previous method, yet I don't know how to generate HTML page titles and RSS feed titles without creating whole custom templates instead of a simple function. Although I feel having posts in the dashboard with no title may be awkward to manage.