While reviewing questions (request-close queue), I came across this question: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/5914852/can-someone-help-me-solve-this-problem-in-c-language

I didn't think the question should be closed, yet, before clicking "do not close" I went to edit this question to remove the deprecated tag homework. I removed this tag, put a description of the edit and clicked "Save". At this point I got the message about "Please do not use word 'problem' in the question title". Fair enough, I removed that word. However... How did this word end up in the title in the first place? The question is by a new user (rep of 1); if I can't post a question with word 'problem' in the title with my 12K+ rep, then a new user definitely shouldn't be able to.

Was this some sort of a bug?


The title filter for "problem" is a relatively recent development. You just found a question that was posted before it was enabled.

To be specific, the question was posted in May 2011, and the filter was implemented around September 2011. I don't know the exact date, that's just an estimate based on when "why can't we use the word 'problem' in titles" posts started showing up on Meta.

The slightly less ridiculous metric of searching SO for questions with "problem" in the title supports the Sep. 2011 guess. There are a few dozen such questions on SO with later "asked on" dates, but they're all either

  • migrations that started on sites without the title filter; or
  • formatting hacks of varying cleverness (zero-width spaces, anyone?)

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