# Can we prevent titles with an unnecessary tag in them?

So we have lots of questions that are titled like this:

c++ : Failing the template function lookup

Specifically, questions that have one of their tags in front of their title.

Thankfully, these silly users usually use a hyphen or a colon afterwards, which makes it really easy to isolate them.

Can we clear up this clutter? Perhaps with a filter that strips off the excess when posting?

EDIT:

As an added bonus, see this query for another style of question title that bugs the heck out of me.

• If you haven't noticed, I have a vendetta against bad titles – James Aug 23 '11 at 15:42
• Also I screwed up linking my data explorer account, could a friendly mod get that for me? – James Aug 23 '11 at 15:44
• – slhck Aug 23 '11 at 15:53
• +1. I hope the -1s are because this is a multidupe. Tags in the title!!! Slowly I turned... step, by step... inch, by inch... – Won't Aug 23 '11 at 16:51
• @Josh - this isn't a dupe of that one, as it shows as completed. – Dori Aug 23 '11 at 17:00
• James, I love the query. 52 results with C++. eek. – M. Tibbits Aug 23 '11 at 17:33
• @M. Tibbits It is case sensitive, upper case is >300 – James Aug 23 '11 at 17:57
• @Tim Stone That one is about bracketed tags in question titles. This is about <Tag>[:,-] at the beginning of question titles. Similar, but not same. – James Aug 23 '11 at 19:24
• Related (but not duplicate): Warn users before posting if they have a tag at the start of their title – Tim Stone Aug 23 '11 at 19:40
• GIVE ME THIS I WANT IT NOW! – Won't Sep 6 '11 at 15:05
• -1 What if the title starts with a tag like this: "Title usually has an unnecessary tag in them, can you fix?" – Tamara Wijsman Sep 12 '11 at 19:06
• the bounty goes to the first person who draws a unicorn/narwhal spearing someone who is putting tags in title. – Won't Apr 25 '12 at 14:32
• @TimStone warning and preventing is almost the same thing. In my eyes, this is a dupe – ajax333221 Aug 21 '12 at 4:01
• Is this even close to being implemented? I want it. – keyser Aug 6 '13 at 17:23
• There has been almost no change to the view counter after I put a bounty on it... – user215114 Oct 25 '13 at 17:01

## 5 Answers

CAN WE PLEASE GET THIS? It is SO COMMON that the first word of a title is a tag. All you need to do is check the first word of the title and the tags on the question, and if there is a match, block posting with the comment "Hey, moron, remove tags from your title before we punch you through the intertubes."

CAN WE HAZ???

From just this morning (9/19suck it month first yeah), after I had already edited ten or so titles:

• – Hendrik Vogt Sep 6 '11 at 15:02
• @MichaelMrozek: Done and done. – Won't Sep 6 '11 at 15:04
• @HendrikVogt: I'll see that and raise you THIS answer! – Won't Sep 6 '11 at 15:10
• @Won't: I give up, you win. (I had seen that answer before, but it's funny to see that both are Jeff's answers :-)) – Hendrik Vogt Sep 6 '11 at 15:16
• hmm... maybe I should convert my answer below to a feature request. – Lorem Ipsum Sep 19 '11 at 15:03
• @yoda: Why even bother with tags. Everybody puts 'em in the title. Wait. Hold on. I think I had a brain movement. What if... the post tags were moved DIRECTLY BELOW the title? Or, hell, DIRECTLY ABOVE? Hmmm, I'm going to feature request THAT. – Won't Sep 19 '11 at 16:20
• @Won't: I really need your help – abatishchev May 8 '13 at 4:52
• There's real arguments against the unnecessary tag. They are not captured in your exaggerated picture. – djechlin May 28 '13 at 17:55
• @djechlin On the contrary, I feel the picture is alarmingly subtle given how often tags currently precede the actual question title. – Yuck Nov 8 '13 at 4:03
• @MichaelMrozek How to show support for a feature request – Donald Duck Jul 6 '18 at 0:30

I am torn on this one.

Consider the following question titles with the tag in the title.

1. Python: How do I tell what OS I am running on?
2. Python - How do I tell what OS I am running on?
3. How do I tell what OS I am running on in Python?
4. How do I tell what OS Python is running on?
5. [Python] How do I tell what OS I am running on?

Only #5 is objectionable enough for us to automate its removal. #3 and #4 are explicitly encouraged. #1 and #2 are ... not really a problem so long as they are not happening "too often".

It is the ritual and systemic use of tags in this manner that I object to, not the mere presence of it at all.

• I despise #1 and #2 as much as #5. I don't see the difference between them. – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 21 '11 at 0:22
• "so long as they are not happening "too often".", they are now being used alotly – ajax333221 Aug 21 '12 at 4:18
• No need to be torn. 99.9999% of questions with a tag in the title does not need to have a tag in the title. But to solve it we could have a warning system instead of an all-out ban – keyser Aug 6 '13 at 17:19
• too often is now, can you please reconsider this? – Gabriele Petronella Oct 24 '13 at 16:14
• #1, #2, and #5 should be hunted down with extreme prejudice. Many of my edits are to fix the titles. I have better things to do. How hard would it be to build a filter so new users learn to use the site correctly??? – user173448 Sep 19 '14 at 0:11
• Sorry to disagree with @keyser and many others, but since the "Linked Questions" and "Related Questions" list does not show question tags at all, I generally find it helpful to include some of the tags in the question title to make it obvious what the question relates to. – Simon East Sep 23 '15 at 2:42

I agree with the OP and would like to see them removed as well.

Some additional comments/ideas:

Even though it is not possible to remove all tag-related parts in the title of questions, it is perfectly possible to remove at least a major part as the OP shows. The left-over part should be removed by the community I am afraid.

In order to prevent new questions with tags added to their title, a filter (or something) should be added when a question is posted, to automatically remove the tagged part of the title, or to warn the (new) user about his/her mistake!

Maybe the FAQ should be updated as well? (So it could be used when warning the (new) user about the made mistake)

• Instead of automatically removing them (or otherwise editing/changing the title on askers) how about just detecting such patterns and adding a comment with link to the submission form that is either just informational or requires the asker to confirm what they are doing. (E.g. something like "Python" tag name detected in title, <link>this is usually not required and not recommend</link> right near the post button or title) – Dave C Apr 10 '15 at 19:13

I propose adding the following validation rule to titles:

/(^$$X$$\s*)|(^$X$\s*)|(^X\s*[:-—|]+)|([:-—|]+\s*X$)|(\s*$X$$)|(\s*$$X$$\$)/i


...where X is any of the tags in the question.

Sometimes people use tag :: and {tag} and all sorts of other oddities, too but, well, we can't win it all.

It also won't solve anything when the OP didn't bother to even use the real tags system, but a lookup on the entire tags database is probably not tractible.

• +1. TAG :, TAG -, and friends should be filtered/blocked like other issues flagged when attempting to post a question. – user173448 Sep 19 '14 at 0:13

Till search engines like Google and Bing get the capability to parse Stackexchange tags, I think it is best to make the titles self explanatory. If the tag information is required in the title, so be it.

Today I was Googling for some How-do-I on Spring MVC and I got a ASP.NET question as a first hit

• The most popular tag already gets appended in the <title>, and the body itself already contain the data. – Braiam Oct 20 '16 at 21:25