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Suggestion: ban "help", "confusion", maybe "question" in titles. When a user uses these words, show the message (better ideas are appreciated):

Please avoid using word "help" in title. Instead, describe a problem you need a help with. Please check [link to how-to-ask or Why is "Can someone help me?" not an actual question?.

I don't see how "confusion" can be of any use. "Help" is trickier, since can potentially have collisions with help menu item. In this case I'd suggest checking if there is "menu" in a title. I don't think it'll happen often (the last such question I've found was 5 years ago). I can miss something, in this case please point it out.

In any case, in my experience they are completely useless words, which make titles totally uninformative, "can you help me"-level. Of course, it's easy to bypass this limitation (e.g. "he1p"); but:

  • It may be good to leave a workaround for legitimate uses.
  • If the uses are not legitimate, people will just downvote and go their own way.

If you have other word candidates, please suggest. I primarily suggest this for Stack Overflow (since it's the one I'm familiar with), but I expect that other sites can win from this as well.

This link suggests that the idea may work: The Efficacy Of Stack Overflow's Question Title Filter

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    If those words were actually banned in question titles, you wouldn't have been able to post your question as you did. I assume that any word enclosed in quotation marks would still be acceptable in a question title? – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Aug 25 at 6:17
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    You want to add another pr0blam? – rene Aug 25 at 6:24
  • @JasonBassford, Well, my question wouldn't be needed in this case, would it?) Moreover, I suggest this rule only for SO. I think that quotation marks is not the great idea overall: it's a non-trivial rule; how should I guess that it exists? – user472291 Aug 25 at 6:28
  • @rene, I didn't read thoroughly, but 1) meta.stackexchange.com/a/114553/472291 posts a link to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/113151/… 2) It actually may be a good to leave such a workaround, in case if I missed legitimate uses. 3) If use is not legitimate, such question will likely be downvoted (I downvote it for sure), so it'll soon be hidden from most users. – user472291 Aug 25 at 6:34
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    @rene FWIW, I do imagine it will help a lot at least on science sites. – M.A.R. Aug 25 at 7:56
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    @M.A.R. to forbid you to use a word? How on earth will that halp? You really think the question will get any better without certain words in the title? – rene Aug 25 at 7:59
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    @rene there is a lot of unsuspecting folks thinking "moles question"/"gas laws confusion"/"chemistry exam problem" are acceptable question titles, because this idea is fairly new to them and they don't really know what to put there. There's always so many around that I can be fairly certain if they're nudged in the right direction, a healthy number would at least think of something more descriptive. Of course it won't stop anyone if they really insisted on doing that, but that's not the point. – M.A.R. Aug 25 at 8:06
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    @M.A.R. sounds more like they need a link to How do I write a good title ... – rene Aug 25 at 8:09
  • (And if anything, an eye-jarring "p0rblem" is much more tempting to edit, a good thing, for perhaps any site but SO, obviously. Lots of this call to action would be unnecessary) – M.A.R. Aug 25 at 8:09
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    @M.A.R. Then also correct the wrong tool tip for the title since “What’s your chemistry question? Be specific.” doesn’t belong in the Title box; it belongs in the Body box. The Title box needs something like “What’s the topic of your question? The title shall be as concise as possible. It shall indicate, without ambiguity, the subject matter of the question in such a way as to distinguish it from that of other questions, without going into unnecessary detail.” – user271002 Aug 25 at 8:36
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    Can some1 halp me with a confuzon? I have a kuestion about a porblem i am having. – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Aug 25 at 10:54
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    I N33D H37P WITH PR0B73M – Luuklag Aug 25 at 12:30
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"Forbid" seems too strict, and the comments above show some tongue-in-cheek methods that the users could avoid the ban. So I suggest to change this:

Forbid words “help”, “confusion” (, etc?) in titles

to this:

Discourage using words “help”, “confusion” (, etc?) in titles

How can this be done?

  • The message you suggested is the obvious first step. Simple and direct.

  • When the user fills out the title, an autocomplete functionality is triggered for the titles with "discouraged" words. The autocomplete shows underneath the user's title multiple alternative suggestions. This is similar to the Google search box. The suggestions are based on the current title and/or body of the question. The body of the question can sometimes be summarized down to a single title automatically.

  • Another window (different from the autocomplete under the title) shows related, but different popular/answered questions from the past. They serve as examples of good titles.

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