At least once a day, I see a question titled with something along the lines of:

dynamical systems question
Photoshop issue
publication problem

where the first part of the title is also a tag of the question. These question titles do not provide any information that cannot be found in the tags and thus are maximally useless. From another point of view, such a title would be equally (badly) fitting to every single question in said tag. I propose that such titles are blocked automatically, i.e., the asker cannot post the question and is shown a notice urging them to choose a better title.

Specific criterion

Barring punctuation and grammatical number, the title is one of:

[tag] [buzzword]
[buzzword] [preposition] [tag]


  • tag is a tag applied to the question or a synonym thereof
  • buzzword is question, issue, problem, …
  • preposition is about, on, with …


  • A much stricter version of this filter (banning question and problem from titles altogether) exists on Stack Overflow, Super User and Server Fault. This is not what I propose here. In contrast to these filters, I cannot imagine a false positive for this filter, i.e., a good title that would be blocked.

  • I am aware that some stubborn idiot will find a way around this filter – they are not my target group. My target group are askers who see the error of their ways and change their title to something more informative. Going by this post, such askers do exist.

  • Somewhat related: a similar warning for titles exists on Math. If your "dynamical systems question" example was from there, it should have triggered a warning (which apparently did not help). Linking the filter to tags makes it a dev effort; a static filter like on Math could be added by a CM. – user315433 Apr 22 '18 at 18:22
  • @bro: Thanks. Yes, I do not have the feeling that that filter on Math SE is that effective, e.g., consider this search – but then it’s hard to tell how bad things would be without it. While I agree that my suggestion would be more difficult to implement, it is sufficiently specific to warrant a red instead of a yellow warning, which at least forces people to be creative to circumvent it. – Wrzlprmft Apr 22 '18 at 18:33
  • Tying this to tags, besides increasing the investment required, also decreases the return on that investment: maybe "Dynamical systems question" matches, but "Dynamical system question" or "ODE system question" do not, despite not being any better. I think a cheaper and more general heuristic would be: title consists of <=3 words one of which is doubt|issue|problem|query|question. – user315433 Apr 22 '18 at 21:04
  • @bro: I did account for grammatical number in my proposal (and so can an algorithm). — The problem of the cheaper heuristic is that it also tends to produce false positives. – Wrzlprmft Apr 22 '18 at 21:07

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