There are numerous questions on meta requesting automated removal of tags from titles (1, 2, 3), and the rule that questions should not have tags in their titles. This is obviously an issue with many.

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.

Part of the problem with users stuffing a keyword into the title is many are too new and don't realize the potential for tags exists until after they have written the body of their question and are ready to submit it. The notion the Tags section exists should be made more prevalent.

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).
  • See my question regardin this.
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 19:33
  • @ColeJohnson - your link was flagged as a duplicate of one of the pages directly referenced in the numeric links in the first sentence of this question.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 20:59
  • 1
    Some of these I might agree with, some not... you've got a "problem", thought of some ideas and then dumped them all into a question, which should I be voting on? Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 22:00

2 Answers 2


Meh, I just edit them directly. Usually my comment is:

Removed tag from title. We know it's about . Because of the tag.

The problem with 1. is that "maybe this shouldn't be here" doesn't explain WHY keyword stuffing is undesirable (nor would any description short enough to fit in a meaningful way, regardless of whether your suggestion above is explicitly what you meant or not), never mind how annoying this will be.

Also, there are many cases where a tag can appear in a title naturally and NOT be keyword stuffing, leading to a lot of false positives - I don't think it's fantastic to try to funnel all of these questions through some kind of review process when we already have plenty of lemmings more than willing to follow the process I do. It's not as preventative as you'd like, but can be as educational as we want it to be.

Code made a great point here, and it mirrors my observation that most keyword-stuffed titles would be low quality titles even without the unnecessary tags: even if you teach someone to not stuff a tag into a title, you're still not teaching them to write good titles. If you edit the title, and leave a descriptive enough comment, you're doing a variety of things:

  1. You're showing the user that tag-stuffing is not cool
  2. You're hopefully making other improvements to the title, which
    • they can learn from
    • make the site better

In the end, a little nanny-gram that says something along the lines of "maybe you shouldn't put tags into the title" isn't going to teach them WHY and isn't going to be any more persuasive than the non-effective duplicate suggestions or the take this to chat message. Education is a part of this and for that, unfortunately, they're just going to have to read, and Cody's answer (and the links within) can be a great start if you come across someone who needs a little guidance.

And I'll mention again that titles can have a natural organic reason to contain a tag - false positives are going to be very cumbersome in those scenarios and are going to be more frustrating for users trying to ask legitimate questions than the frustration caused to others who have to spend 22 seconds editing them out in true positive cases (which, personally, I don't need a review queue to spot).


From the point of preventing redundancy it could be considered writing an obfuscator/minimizer for human language, or posting gzipped versions of posts.

However, the most important factor is readability and search-ability. And considering those factors, using keywords that are also tags do make sense.

Example: it's better to write as question title:

  • Primefaces dialog doesn't show up on Opera
  • Dojo dialog doesn't show up on IE9

Than writing

  • Dialog doesn't show up

and specifying details about technology and affected browser in tags.

For indexing engines such as Google, tags may matter a bit more than the other words from question body (depending how good in SEO in SE team, and they appear to be quite good at it), but the words from title would count more and this is the title what the user sees when searching google.

  • Your answer refers to removing from the "organic flow" of the title, which the answers to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/19190/… and therefore this overall question, do not advocate.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 20:57
  • 1
    (1) SE already adds the most relevant tag to the title of the page (without adding it to the question you see on the page) (2) More natural occurrences of tags within titles (which are addressed here) are more acceptable than most uses I see (and the ones I suspect Josh is trying to eradicate), but still represent a large number of the false positives any automated identification will yield.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 21:46
  • @JoshDM but your question doesn't mention that in the text, and automating it to the extent your suggesting will make it hard and annoying to write a question with an organic flow as you mention. This is an important response.
    – AndrewC
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 21:48
  • 2
    Primefaces dialog doesn't show up on Opera seems fine to me and I'm a vocal advocate against the tags in titles thing. It's Primefaces + opera - dialog dosnt show that really annoys me. That said; I don't think the OP has the answer... Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 21:57

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