As of now, the user has to enter a title, question, and then the tags. When the user enters the title and tabs out, we see a list of similar questions. However, I could be asking a question related to C# and all the entries might show up for Ruby on Rails.

What if the form is changed in such a way that the user would enter the tag of the question before the title? I think this will make the search for similar questions more relevant. What do you guys think? I often find that the similar questions list is not helpful because it is not related to my language in question. I feel that I have stopped looking at the similar questions list.

Here's a mockup of how it might look:

tags before title, G

  • Not sure why this was flagged, but I think it may be a duplicate.
    – Jon Seigel
    Jun 7, 2010 at 1:32
  • It is a semi-duplicate, IIRC. @jon
    – waiwai933
    Jun 7, 2010 at 1:33
  • Here's one. It doesn't suggest moving the tags box, but everything else was suggested: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/27566/…
    – Jon Seigel
    Jun 7, 2010 at 1:34
  • Thanks. I wasn't sure. I wanted to ask this for a long time and I always wondered. Jun 7, 2010 at 1:45
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    FWIW, for suggesting search results based on title and tags, I think it would make more sense for the input order to go: Title, Tags, (suggestions), Body (i.e., move the Tags field below Title), and refresh the suggestions when either the title or tags field changes.
    – Jon Seigel
    Jun 7, 2010 at 1:56
  • I like this, and it may stop people writing tags in titles too. Jul 18, 2011 at 6:15
  • 2
    "As of now the user has to enter a title, question, and then the tags." No, they don't. You can fill out the fields in whatever order you want. Jul 18, 2011 at 7:21
  • 1
    @CodyGray Yes you can, but they are not ordered in a logical way. I always enter tags before title and question when I create one. At least, it seems more logical to me.
    – Marcelo
    Sep 19, 2011 at 17:26
  • "This will be helpful for stack exchange but I don't know if it makes sense for the other sites." Did you mean Stack Overflow? Stack Exchange encompasses all sites on the network. Nov 21, 2011 at 20:48
  • 2
    Another reason this is useful is because there's simply so MUCH activity on SO. When I enter a new question, for instance, I already know it's a C++ question. It would be really handy to state that upfront, rather than wade through endless non-C++ answers. Nov 21, 2011 at 22:15
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/101935/… Nov 26, 2011 at 18:30
  • @TomWijsman I think the question you linked is unrelated. It's asking to add more words to the page, which I agree will just get ignored. This request is to add tags to the top of the page and to use those tags when searching for relevant questions, which I think is a great idea.
    – Rachel
    Dec 2, 2011 at 17:12
  • @Rachel: Extra words are necessary to get this idea working, hence the relevance. Dec 6, 2011 at 22:58

5 Answers 5


From my closed-as-dupe question where I expound about how awesome this would be:

A large majority of users seem to believe that tags are really important; so important they like to decorate the titles of their questions with tags (I'm not talking about the organic ones; I'm not that anal). So, why not light rather than fight?

We move the tag editor right smack up top. Blam. It has a few benefits that I can think of:

  • Editing now travels from the general to the specific in a natural flow
    • Most general task is first: the subjects the question covers
    • Middle general is second: the question, without detail
    • Most specific task is third: the details about the question
  • Tags are given a much more prominent position rather than be left as an afterthought
  • You'd have to be a moron to add a tag and then immediately begin your title with it

Some of the downsides of this:

  • Idiots who can't get past the fact that the title isn't first anymore
  • Idiots who still put tags at the start or end of their title, with or without delimiters
  • Idiots who start Meta discussions about how much this UI change sucks
  • Idiots in general who peeve me right off

So, what are the chances this will happen?

  • 4
    I will put myself in a new category: "idiots who think this will look extremely fugly" Sep 19, 2011 at 17:35
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    @NullUserException_: Idiots who start Meta discussions about how much this UI change sucks covered and smothered that one.
    – user1228
    Sep 19, 2011 at 19:06
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    In addition, it could help bring up more relevant results in the "questions with similar titles" search. I actually have frequently used the "Ask Question" title box as a search box when the regular search isn't giving me specific enough answers.
    – Rachel
    Nov 21, 2011 at 20:29
  • 1
    +1 for how hostile this sounds. Apr 8, 2014 at 17:53

I like this, and it may stop people writing tags in titles too.

  • 1
    Yeah, but it will start people writing titles in tags! And coming to Meta when it doesn't work. :) (Still, I support this proposal)
    – Pekka
    Sep 19, 2011 at 16:47
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    Please edit to include more details about how awesome this proposal is, kthx.
    – user1228
    Sep 21, 2011 at 2:22
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    @Won't: I don't understand. This answer was changed to a comment, and now it's back? With +500?! Sep 21, 2011 at 8:59
  • 1
    @TomalakGeret'kal: My bounty was going to go to Popular, who disagrees with me on this, so...
    – user1228
    Sep 21, 2011 at 10:14
  • @Won'tಠ_ಠ: That's a bit of a problem with the bounty system, really. Not that I know how to fix it. Sep 21, 2011 at 11:33
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    @TomalakGeret'kal: Well, if someone else answered, it would have gone to them. With you gone, only two answers remained. I didn't want to award it to an answer I disagreed with, and it would be an abuse to remove the bounty. So I voted to undelete.
    – user1228
    Sep 21, 2011 at 11:47

I like this idea. In addition to some of the other benefits already mentioned, it could potentially reduce dupes.

I just did a quick test on SO to see what suggestions would turn up for the title “how do i save a file on the server?”. (No, I didn't post it. I just wanted to see the Questions with similar titles list). At the very bottom of the list I found how do i save a rtf file using php?. Assuming I want to know how to save a CSV file using PHP, that list seems to suggest that no such question has been asked. Now, if I change my title to “how do I save a csv file in php?” I see that question has been asked quite a bit.

Using appropriate tags in conjunction with my original title reduces the chance of dupes, removes tag names from the title, and shortens the title drastically.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to test what advantages or disadvantages such a change could produce without actually trying it. A trial run would produce more useable results.

  • +1 because I didn't even think about how this would affect the similar titles list. Brilliant. Apr 30, 2013 at 3:27

This is a move in the wrong direction. If anything, the title and tags fields should come after the post body.

I find that many users, myself included, occasionally write tags and titles that don't fit their questions well. There are many possible reasons for this, including

  • OP focused on a minor or irrelevant aspect of the situation due to naivete/ignorance,
  • OP rubberducked part of the problem out while writing,
  • and the classic OP just doesn't know what the icosahedrons he's talking about.

Back in school, I was taught to write titles for essays last. That way, they would match what I actually wrote, rather than what I initially thought about writing. For similar reasons, newspaper headlines are generally written by editors towards the middle or end of "layout time," not by reporters at "write time."

I've already stopped following the layout of the ask page when I ask questions. I write the body first, then enter tags, and save the title for last. Doing this has improved the quality of what I post and the responses I get (in my opinion, of course).

The obvious flaw here is that people could waste time writing duplicates that would have been found by the similar title search. However, the title search does no good if it's searching on a bad title. I would like to see numbers on how often that feature actually works, although I have no idea how to collect such data.

  • I agree that it would be a bad move. What I usually do is to write a title, then the body, then press “Post your question”. At this point, I realize I'm missing tags, and often take the opportunity to improve the title. Sep 20, 2011 at 1:15
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    -1 off the bat, this is not the wrong direction - it's a logical direction.
    – JonH
    Nov 21, 2011 at 21:19
  • What does "rubberduck" mean as a verb? Nov 21, 2011 at 22:16
  • @StephenGross - It's the act of solving your problem simply by describing it in detail to an inanimate object (eg. a rubber duck, or in this case, the SO question field). See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_duck_debugging
    – Alconja
    Nov 22, 2011 at 0:01
  • I agree that it is frequently best to write titles (of questions, essays, novels, or anything else) last. I do not agree that the UI is therefore to blame when people write titles that don't match their question. Moreover, the UI, as already pointed out, doesn't dictate the order in which the fields are filled out, and it shouldn't be used as a tool to try to force people to do things your way. The UI should be logical and easy to understand. Putting the tags first is logical and easy to understand. Apr 30, 2013 at 3:23

I'm not saying we are not going to do this ever, but conditions would have to change pretty substantially for us to consider it..

The main reason is that our tag suggester has been very successful, and placing the tags before the question would mean that we would have to remove the tag suggester completely.

  • Is this answer mostly for SO and similar sites? The situation on Arqade for example is rather different, and the suggested duplicates are often useless because they are for different games (because you only set the tags later). Apr 8, 2014 at 20:09
  • @MadScientist Mostly, yes, but we are very hesitant to change behavior in a site-specific way. Further, I'm worried that tags are relatively difficult to understand for new users, and placing them toward the top would increase the perceived difficulty of asking a question.
    – Jeremy T
    Apr 8, 2014 at 20:16
  • On Arqade it would be easy to understand if we renamed tags to games. But I can understand that SE doesn't want to customize the engine to that extent. Apr 8, 2014 at 20:17
  • Agreed, but having different vocabulary per site is a fairly big change that I don't think we are ready for
    – Jeremy T
    Apr 8, 2014 at 20:18
  • How about tags at bottom with tag-suggested for low-rep users (less than 10?) and tags at top for higher rep users? After users get the hang of it, tag-suggestions become more and more useless. Now, I never use it so the on-top layout would be better, but n00bs need it so having it on the bottom would make sense for them.
    – bjb568
    Apr 8, 2014 at 22:11

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