I just entered a question titled: "What’s the best way to serialize / deserialize a Dictionary<String,String> in .Net 2.0?"

And the system told me: "The question you're asking appears subjective and is likely to be closed."

How is that working currently?
What are you looking for in the title to flag something as "potentially subjective"?
Is it because I asked for "the best way" to do something?

  • 1
    @Glorfindel wouldnt reversing the duplicate be more usefull, as this post contains an authorative answer?
    – Luuklag
    Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 9:08
  • That idea has some merit; however, I can't reopen this question anymore...
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 9:09

3 Answers 3



return Regex.IsMatch(s, 
  • Thank you Jeff! That explains it. Should I take from this that these words are frowned upon in question titles? Or is this just a warning? Commented Jul 11, 2009 at 15:12
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    I got those words by scanning about a hundred closed subjective questions that were not good fits on Stack Overflow. Those words aren't wrong per se but they do not bode well for a question. Commented Jul 11, 2009 at 15:52
  • Thanks! Curiosity Satisfied :-) Commented Jul 12, 2009 at 17:42
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    One minor issue is that it will trigger on "how do you do x?", which is a common construct for non-subjective questions. Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 1:52
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    The regex might be better written as "\b(?:best|worst|hardest|your?|favou?rite)\b" so you don't have so many \b escapes, and they're not immediately followed by text. Commented Jan 5, 2010 at 18:42
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    "How does best-fit memory allocation work?" matches that regex. "What's better, Java or C#?" doesn't.
    – Perpetual Motion Goat
    Commented Feb 15, 2010 at 15:03
  • 4
    "What is a Half-Carry and how do you calculate it?" matches this and is not subjective, but "What is a Half-Carry and how does _one_ calculate it?" looks too formal. Commented Sep 13, 2010 at 15:09
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    Using (a part of) The question you're asking appears subjective and is likely to be closed in the title of this question would've made it easier to search.
    – Lri
    Commented Oct 26, 2011 at 1:17
  • It's been 6 years since the last comment here, but I think the problem with "you" still needs to be addressed. "you" by itself is not an indicator of subjectiveness. Simply removing the "?" in "your?" would excise the vast majority of the subjectiveness filter's false positives. Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 21:11

My guess is it looks for words like "best", "favorite", "your". I'd be interested in knowing just what words trigger it, and how that list was determined. Not that it matters much, I'm just as curious as you.

  • 3
    Nice guess. You were almost right on. :)
    – Ricket
    Commented Aug 6, 2009 at 20:27

It's done by a simple regex as posted by Jeff. The regex matches the following words:

  • Best
  • Worst
  • Hardest
  • You
  • Your
  • Favorite
  • Favourite

It is important to note that avoiding the above words does not make your question any less subjective - "Best management tool" is inherently subjective - the warning is not there to tell you to avoid certain words, but to avoid the question altogether, or to re-word it so it can be evaluated objectively and measurably so that the answer is the same for everyone in your situation.


  • 1
    And as others have commented (ages ago), using those words doesn't necessarily make your question subjective. That's the trouble with all heuristics. Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 18:16

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