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The word problem isn't allowed in the titles of questions on SO, except when it's misspelled. I don't want to substantially change the meaning of someone's question, but I would like to correct spelling so that people and search engines can make sense of what they find.

What's the right course of action here?

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P.S. – what's the best tag to use to describe those words that are not allowed in titles? –  kojiro Apr 8 '12 at 14:00
    
What do you mean by "...best tag to use to describe those words..."? –  Lix Apr 8 '12 at 14:11
    
@Lix I would've liked to tag this question with a word that describes those words, like problem, that are not allowed in question titles. –  kojiro Apr 8 '12 at 14:18
    
Those would be really really bad tags then. A post tagged with "problem" would not be very descriptive. –  Lix Apr 8 '12 at 14:28
    
@Lix I don't think you understand me. I mean a tag that describes the characteristic of the word problem that makes it a disallowed word. I do not mean to use the word problem as a tag. –  kojiro Apr 8 '12 at 14:35
    
"a tag that describes the characteristic of the word problem" - You are right - I do not understand what you mean. –  Lix Apr 8 '12 at 14:43
    
That would be title. –  minitech Apr 8 '12 at 16:07
    
[word-blacklist] or [blacklisted-words] or [blocked-title-words]? /cc @Lix –  Josh Caswell Apr 8 '12 at 20:12
    
but what is the point of having those tags in the first place? Its like having those "don't answer" numbers in your cellphone contacts :P –  Lix Apr 8 '12 at 20:57
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@Lix the tags would be for meta.so, not for so.com. As in this very question. –  kojiro Apr 8 '12 at 22:40
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@Lix: The point is that this and other Meta questions address the topic of the SO title word blacklist. Since we use tags to indicate the topics or areas of questions, having a tag for this topic would be useful for future categorization and searching. I really don't understand what you don't understand. –  Josh Caswell Apr 9 '12 at 22:16
    
@iul - Yes I understand now. kojiro pointed that out for me... thank you :) –  Lix Apr 10 '12 at 6:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

For that specific example you could have changed the title to simply be :

Understanding Python indentation

There is a reason that those words are not allowed in titles - they are ambiguous and are in essence why the post exists in the first place. If there was no "problem" or "question" then there would be no post.

I'm also not sure how the system would react to you adding/fixing/correcting one of those "banned" words in the title... It might not let you submit your edit...

In any case don't correct those mistakes unless you can see an opportunity to fix more problems with the post. Check for other spelling issues, mis-tagging, formatting, user signatures, etc...

Such minor edits just junk up the edit history.

Your heart and head are in the right place - you want to make the site better. You want it to be easy to understand other user's questions and allow people searching on Google to find the correct material they are looking for. However many many minor edits are just not worth it.


As was pointed out to me, quality filters and blacklisted words may vary across the SE network.
On physics.se for example, the word "problem" is not blacklisted.

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Though note that 'problem' on physics.SE has lefitimate uses. Other sites as well I guess. Though I think we have the evil blacklist turned off.. I think. Blah blah, +1 –  Manishearth Apr 8 '12 at 17:48
    
Well a little bird told me that the quality filter is tuned down or off completely here... But you are right - I'll add that this is relevant to SO only. –  Lix Apr 8 '12 at 18:12
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There are legitimate uses in programming questions, too: Halting porblem, Knapsack pr0blem, Traveling Salesman problam, and so on. –  Josh Caswell Apr 8 '12 at 20:17

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