Check out these search results:

is:question title:" - "

A significant portion of results are questions with titles that have a tag that stands separately from the rest of the title. Having tags in question titles is only okay if they're a part of a full sentence. If you see an example of incorrect inclusion of tags in titles, please edit the title accordingly*.

*I'm not telling you exactly how, because that isn't up to me to decide. For guidance, see this FAQ post: Should questions include "tags" in their titles?

  • So your "question" is "here's a query that returns questions that probably need editing, help me fix them." Or are you suggesting that titles including " - " be automatically acted on in some way?
    – blahdiblah
    Oct 23, 2013 at 0:14
  • 2
    The horror! Look at all those people using hyphens (-) where an em-dash (—) might be more appropriate! I'll start replacing them! ;) Oct 23, 2013 at 0:17
  • @blahdiblah I'm not asking anything, except the users to take note of such misuses and make edits. Oct 23, 2013 at 0:17
  • @JoshuaTaylor I guess you're right, but then not all users have typographic keyboard layouts installed, like some advanced users, who might already know it's not cool to do that with tags. Okay, that was a joke. I honestly don't know anymore when people are not being serious on the internet. Oct 23, 2013 at 0:18
  • 2
    @user1306322 I'm just poking fun; I edit a lot of these in the tags I'm active in. People seem to think that Common Lisp and Scheme being prefix languages mean that everything should be prefixed with with "Common Lisp:" and "Scheme:". :( Oct 23, 2013 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


Out of the first page of 50 in the results you linked, there are maybe 2 or 3 question titles that could do with a tidy up, but they don't need a tidy up. This would indicate that the problem you've illustrated is not really that much of a problem. These are not the titles of people trying to seed keywords, they are the titles of people thinking about their question in a categorical way.

StackOverflow already has some parsing for obvious tags in titles, and I think your suggestion is rather tenuous and prone to false positives. In any case, it would only be a matter of time before people switched to using a colon or semi-colon instead of the hyphen.

  • 1
    Why would they do that? If there is something removing the tags from titles (automation or people), then there must be a reason for that. Not long after the poster thinks that, they'll figure out the reason and will stop trying to include the tags into titles (if for whatever reason they were convinced this was the right thing to do). Oct 23, 2013 at 0:03
  • 1
    Also I just changed the search request to show newest questions, not most relevant ones. There are many more "hits" now. Out of 50 newest, I counted 32 obvious cases of misuse. Oct 23, 2013 at 0:05
  • @user1306322 Your search results do show more questionable titles now, but I still think your suggestion would be prone to false positives and easily circumvented. This is one reason why we have a large community with edit privileges - they can see these titles and correct them (of course that doesn't mean they always get done).
    – slugster
    Oct 23, 2013 at 0:16
  • I think you misunderstood. I'm not suggesting to create an automated detection and removal script in this post, but check out my other related post here. I'm just asking users to take action if they see improper use of tags in question titles, that is all. Oct 23, 2013 at 0:21
  • 1
    @user1306322 While removing tags from titles is nice when you see it, there are so many more productive uses for your time than going out and actively searching for tags in titles to remove them. Spend some time in the review queues working on real problematic content, or find queries that find problems that allow you to turn a terrible question into an acceptable question, rather than one that has only a marginal change on the quality of a question, and finds mostly questions that are already acceptable.
    – Servy
    Oct 23, 2013 at 0:55
  • @Servy that search was just to show how often this happens, and so if you happen to come across such an example, I urge you to do something about it. Regarding review queues, I can't seem to get anything awaiting my reviews ever. I remember reviewing some questions about a year ago, but now there just aren't any. Oct 23, 2013 at 2:10
  • @user1306322 Yes, it happens a lot. All you need to look at the questions list anytime, pretty much ever, to see that it happens a lot. It gets fixed a lot too, but that still doesn't mean it's a valuable investment of your time to go around looking for tags in titles to remove them. You're even consuming a whole bunch of reviewers' time when you suggest such minor edits to fix them. Find posts with real problems and really make them a lot better. It's a much better use of your time and everyone else's as well.
    – Servy
    Oct 23, 2013 at 2:15

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