Pretty popular and actual problem: infinite amount of volunteering moderators edit infinite amount of questions by removing tags from beginning of question. Day after day, years so far.

Didn't see any related answers answered on Meta, didn't see any progress solving this problem either. So just curious does anybody else care?

Update: I would prohibit say top 100 tags to appear in the beginning of a question. Random question from SO right now:

C# XML - Collapse XML properties into a list/array
Visual Studio 2010: set NDEBUG for all projects in a solution
VB Error over Microsoft Web Browser?
C# Comparing lists of data from two separate databases using LINQ to Entities
C# WPF Create StringCollection from TextBox lines
  • 3
    – hjpotter92
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 4:03
  • @hjpotter92: I'd love to see the options listed there implemented as a validation rule. Commented May 8, 2013 at 4:06
  • @hims056: As twice as more people agree with Won't and me not Jeff in that post though. Commented May 8, 2013 at 4:58
  • 2
    I'm here, bro. I'm here.
    – user1228
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 10:46

5 Answers 5


The problem would be determining which tags should be stripped, and which shouldn't. The title "Screen flickers when blah blah blah" starts with the tag , but doesn't necessarily mean it should be removed. The same would be true about other ones that could legitimately be used to start or end a title, like , , , etc.

A quick scan of some of the top tags show valid start/end words such as , , (could be ambiguous), , and several others.

  • 1
    I've updated my question to specify exactly what do I propose: ban top 100 tags from appearing in title beginning. At least OP can be just notified, not restricted: title you composed is really not well-formed. Commented May 8, 2013 at 3:57
  • 5
    What about "Python crashes when..."? Must that really be changed to "Crash in Python when..." Commented May 8, 2013 at 4:30
  • 2
    [tag]: or blah [tag] would be a good start.
    – user1228
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 10:45

Will tags in title be prohibited programmatically ever?

Based on scope and previous discussions about the topic I would suggest not.
Once you identify a reasonably consistent misuse of a tag in titles, for example [C#] - blah blah blah or Blah de blah (c#) you can tidy the current set of questions but users will continue to do it and/or come up with a new way to use the tag.

The cause of this problem is mainly new users - they don't know that it isn't necessary to seed the title with keywords that are more appropriate as tags. There is also a reasonable amount of "validation" performed on titles already, adding more will actually get more in the way of those new users who don't know any better.

So you have to still accommodate the behaviors exhibited by new users and you also have to ask: where exactly do you draw the line? How much work do you put in to title validation so that any of the 35000+ current tags is not used inappropriately in a title?


I'm not infinite, but I am a volunteering person who complains about tags in titles.

I'm not sure how an automatic rule would work. Nowadays, I don't see as many questions starting with "C# - " or "C# | " or "C#: " as I used to.

In fact, with very few exceptions, I don't see people who I warn about tags coming back and creating more questions with tags in the title. I've even seen more [so] members doing the same work as I am.

It's possible that this problem has been reduced to a reasonable level.


Finally found the reply I was looking for.

Jeff Atwood's reply on a similar question (Can we prevent titles with an unnecessary tag in them?)

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.


A tag in a title is pretty innocuous if it fits with the title, and makes it read easier.

For instance, How does Java handle [blah problem]? is a perfectly fine use of a tag in a title. However, Java: How do I do... or How do I do.... in Java? also shouldn't have the tag in the title as it doesn't do anything.

That being said, it's kind of impossible to edit or block, since there are legitimate reasons to put the tag in the title. How does it handle [blah]? really doesn't make too much sense, after all.

  • Sure, I usually myself ask a question if form of How to do bla in C#?. But questions like C# ASP.NET GridView Do bla bla I hate really. Commented May 8, 2013 at 3:48
  • 5
    How do I do.... in Java? is not an example of a bad title. May be a sign of a subpar question, but the "tag" fits into the question organically and there's no particular reason to remove it.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 3:49
  • @AnnaLear: I've updated my question to mention only title beginning as it's really what I'm talking about. >2/3 of all my edits (10k+) are about to remove such things. Commented May 8, 2013 at 3:54
  • @Anna Fair point, now that I think about it. I've removed that.
    – user206222
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 4:16

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .