Tags in titles are not okay and I usually go out of my way to search for those and edit them, since this seems to be very common with iOS questions, which is where I usually live. What is interesting is that several of the questions using the form "[tag]: Why shouldn't I foo the bar?" or other similar forms aren't even tagged with [tag].

For this particular case, the fix is usually straightforward:

  1. Remove the tag term from the title
  2. Add it as an actual tag.

Would it be possible to figure out the usual patterns in which tags in titles occur and batch edit the ones that fall under those cases?

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    I don't think there is a consistent enough pattern to do this any other way except manually editing the post. Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:31
  • @psubsee2003 maybe not... but I've been editing lots of questions that fall under the "iOS: something something?", by searching for questions that don't have the [ios] tag but do have "ios:" in the title.
    – Cezar
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:34
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    Here's one: "Why shouldn't I foo the bar in iphone?" Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:42
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn From what I've read, that would be a perfectly fine title, since it falls under this meta.stackexchange.com/a/5069/193093
    – Cezar
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:48
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    @Cezar: Oh, but it does. I guess I pretty much veered off topic - what bothers me about that sort of title is the sloppy phrasing of "in iphone" :) Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:51
  • @Cezar you could do a search if you want to make it easier to find title:"iOS:" -[ios*] Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:55
  • @psubsee2003 yes, that is what I've been doing. In fact, I've done it to the point it is a pretty mechanical process which made me think it might be a candidate for automation.
    – Cezar
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:57
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    @Cezar I think in general, this kind of bulk change is avoided and they would rather the community edit these into shape. I think the effort would be better served trying to warn users before posting like in gnat's related post to stem the tide of questions coming in like this. Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


Part of the problem with users stuffing a keyword into the title is that they are too new and don't realize the potential for tags exist until after they have written the body of their question. The concept that a tag section exists should be made more prevalent to the user.

I do not advocate automating editing. Tags in the title is an issue that needs to be dealt with, but should be done so manually. Editing for removal is too arbitrary for an automated system to handle. It should not get to the point where our editing time is focused on correcting titles and tags; manually editing is fine, but inefficient.

This issue should be preferably handled at creation time through preventative measures including increasing user knowledge during question creation, or through direct remediation by being automatically flagged for review.

I propose one or more of the following options, presented in no particular order, be implemented to prevent tags from entering question titles:

  1. Monitor the text entry of the question title
    • when the user types hits the spacebar, check the word typed against tags
    • if the word matches a tag, post a note which says similar to "maybe this word should be a tag and not appear in the title".
    • possibly add a link embedded in the text to the appropriate help section which gives a rationale as to why we don't want tags in titles
    • upside: solves the issue at time of creation
    • downside: this might interfere with the "questions that may already have your answer" section.
  2. After title is fully entered, automatically parse the title for tag keywords
    • I could be wrong, but "suggested tags" does not appear to use the title, just the body; if I'm wrong, let me know in a comment and I'll remove this.
    • add the keywords to the "suggested tags" section
    • if the tag which appears in the title is chosen, post a message suggesting the removal of the unnecessary keyword from the title
    • upside: solves the issue at time of creation
    • upside: use the area which meta uses to require one of four tags (see item 5)
  3. If a new question has tag keywords in the title
    • flag it for review
    • add a note to the reviewer to inform them it is being reviewed for reasons of tag in title.
    • downside: not sure what review queue this should go to
    • downside: adds more work on the reviewer side
    • downside: false positives
  4. Move the Tags form entry section to immediately after the title entry, before the body.
    • this increases the visibility of the tag section
    • it is likely users know what tags are needed before they write their question body; they've already written the subject at this point, right?
  5. Move "Suggested Tags" between the title "Tags" and the form entry for tags.
    • While they are in the appropriate proximity, if you do not scroll down, you do not see them.
    • Maintain the position of the required tags box which replaces "Suggested Tags" in places which require said box (meta).
  • It's indeed very common for those questions to have additional problems and whenever I notice them, I address them as well. Most of my edits at least take formatting problems into account. However, I don't feel that "categorization" edits, that address retagging and improving the visibility of a question by editing its title are minor. In fact, although some users review a few of these edits as too minor, I don't think I've had a significant number of those rejected by having three votes, if any at all.
    – Cezar
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 17:29
  • Since answers do not gain the significance of questions, I'm going to reiterate my answer as a question to see if we can get some of these ideas implemented.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 17:44
  • Enhanced and done: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/190414/…
    – JoshDM
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 18:20

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