4

The question title filter prevents you from writing "Question about ..." which is a good feature in my opinion, though a controversial one. How about forbidding "doubt about" as well, which is used similarly?

  • It might be useful to do a Data.SE query against the post history table for "doubt" in the original title. – user213963 Jun 4 '15 at 18:12
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The phrase/words have to be used frequently for it to be an issue.
A handful of questions here and there with some generic phrase in the title can be resolved more efficiently with community moderating than using up precious resources via scripts.

Out of 9 million questions on Stack Overflow, there are only:

Is there is a specific site which has a more substantial problem with this?
If so it would likely be worthwhile asking on that site's Meta where users are familiar with the site activity.


You also have to be careful not to isolate genuine usage.

Consider the following question:

I have doubt about this MySQL query being secure

It's not a particularly great title, but it's not terrible either, and I don't think changing only "doubt about" would bring about any particular improvement.

Without "doubt about", people would just use "I don't think this MySQL query is secure" "is this MySQL query secure" etc.


Question about..

In contrast, this is valid to be filtered, and I don't think it is "controversial" really.
It's quite generic and can't be used legitimately in any scenario I can think of without it being entirely obsolete.
The fact a user is writing a question means it's a "question" and is "about" something.

  • It's a common mistake among people for whom English is a second language to use "doubt" where a native speaker would use "question". – Mark May 6 '15 at 1:44
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    @Mark 189 questions in every 9 million is not really "common" – James May 6 '15 at 1:52
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    I don't know about SO, but on InfoSec, the mis-usage generally gets edited out, or the question gets closed and deleted (or both) -- you can't get an idea of how common it is just by looking at the surviving instances. – Mark May 6 '15 at 1:54
  • @Mark But there being only 189 out of 9 million means there is no issue - either there are not many being posted, OR it's being managed by community moderating. Either way, there's no problem IMO. Especially as there are genuine use cases of the phrase, so community moderating means it can be decided case-by-case rather than wiping it our across the board. But if it's used particularly badly on another site then that should be noted in the question. This is MSE, the Meta for all sites. Are there any examples on InfoSec or have they all been cleaned up? – James May 6 '15 at 8:48
  • None right now. – Mark May 6 '15 at 10:12
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    @James There are 903 undeleted questions on SO where the initial title included the word 'doubt' ( data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/322573 ). data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/322579/doubts-query shows all 903 of these with link, current title, original title and score. – user213963 Jun 5 '15 at 1:59
  • @MichaelT over what time period? Also, those have been "handled", so job done. That doesn't mean it can't be improved, but depends on how often the issue happens really. – James Jun 5 '15 at 2:46
  • @James all time that still remain undeleted on the site. You'd have to poke a dev to find out the rate of 'doubt' in question titles that includes deleted posts. It would be interesting to see if SO in Portuguese influenced the rate of the doubts. That said, whatever guidance we could give to people in writing good titles (by preventing 'question' or 'problem' for example) should be extended to less frequently used dialects of English so they can get the benefit of a better title. – user213963 Jun 5 '15 at 2:49

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