I know that this has been brought up before. I know it was previously declined. And while I agree that it certainly can be abused by the userbase ("Problem running Windows, please help!!!11!1") but on rare occasion, we will find that the word "Problem" is in the title of a tool or program and cannot be avoided when asking the question.

For example: Why is the PSR tool from Windows 7 unable to save screenshots when using RDP?

Here's a screenshot: enter image description here Note I see this in Windows 7 IE9 and Chrome. I don't have Firefox and I don't want to install it.

They got around it by using unprintable characters. However, they still show up as squares, making the question look all funky.

I realize we don't want to open the floodgates with this restriction, but at least allowing a moderator to edit the word into the title would seem like a good compromise.

  • 2
    By the way, it's me to blame for the characters, but if anyone comes up with a better title, feel free to edit.
    – slhck
    Sep 21, 2012 at 16:13
  • wierdly, I can't reproduce the issue in any browser I have tried it on
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Sep 21, 2012 at 16:20
  • Removing filters has been asked multiple times; so, perhaps allowing moderator's to do so is perhaps a good compromise. We really don't want titles like these or these; and unless an application (on SU) would be called like that, usually problem doesn't really belong in a title. Sep 21, 2012 at 16:22
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    The team seems unwilling to deal with any issues resulting from their useless filter implementation, so this is probably just a waste of effort. Just my personal opinion though.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Sep 21, 2012 at 16:24
  • @DanielBeck I know. But I figured it couldn't hurt. From what I saw though, I don't think anyone has proposed this particular compromise as the preferred solution. Honestly, I can't see why one wouldn't agree with it, as the general populace still couldn't use it at all. Sep 21, 2012 at 16:53
  • I've seen the "moderator exception" (or even "high rep privilege") suggested before. Can't link to it though...
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Sep 21, 2012 at 16:54
  • Well, then, I'll propose this with the furvor of a protest. "We won't roll over!" and all that nonsense. :P Sep 21, 2012 at 16:57
  • I agree that this filter needs to be softened, but The Powers That Be feel pretty strongly about it. We've tried to convince them.
    – nhinkle
    Sep 21, 2012 at 17:48
  • 4
    I say we replace all occurrences with ɯǝןqoɹd Sep 21, 2012 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


I asked about the efficiency of these filters and was served with this question as an answer: The Efficacy Of Stack Overflow's Question Title Filter

tl;dr - the question title check is pretty effective, contrary to what has been asserted (rather blindly) elsewhere. ~78% of all post titles that trip it are improved in at least some small way, 37% in an unambiguous way. "Hacking around" the filter is in fact very very rare.

  • Yet it still should take negligible effort to allow moderators to edit with the filter disabled, shouldn't it? That is, unless the back-end isn't well extensible (which I somehow doubt is the case). Sep 21, 2012 at 18:23
  • 1
    The statistics aren't grouped by sites. In fact, the user doesn't state what site the stats are for (it's the "meta for all sites" after all, and he mentions other sites in the introduction), or if it's all of them, the distribution of sites in the sample. The user also doesn't consider "actively harmful" edits (or even other edits) where the filter actively harms legitimate problem titles. Given that the data isn't publicly available, it's a pretty worthless one-sided writeup.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Sep 21, 2012 at 19:01
  • Plus the simple fact that by not allowing the "problem signs", you're just making it harder to actually find the "problem", because people will use other bad titles that aren't as easy to spot.
    – slhck
    Sep 21, 2012 at 20:56
  • Thanks Oliver, never saw that question pass by. Interesting read. Sep 22, 2012 at 2:58
  • @DanielBeck: How many legitimate problem titles are there, really? Not much on SU, I think. Sep 22, 2012 at 2:59
  • @slhck: Sounds like the real problem here is that we don't check all question titles posted on a day, which would not only help catch people that are messing around the quality filter instead of improving the quality (most likely a minority) but also we would no longer introduce bad question titles into the site. Because really, those questions consisting of only up to four words and those that don't describe the problem at all; aren't really helpful. Consider that to be a much bigger problem than the problem filter, are you going to care about the little problem or the big one? Sep 22, 2012 at 3:02
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    @TomWijsman I feel we've been there already. Nobody said that there isn't a quality problem with most of these titles. I don't want to argue about that, because everyone knows. But the thing is: Why would you ever block something legitimate without providing any way to get around the filter? For example, new users can't post images, okay, but they can leave the links and we'll embed them after we check that it's not spam. Plus, the new review queues have been proven super effective. Why not put those "problematic" questions in "low quality"?
    – slhck
    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:55
  • 2
    If people can't use "problem", they'll just skirt the "issue" and use that instead. Or "problems" (because they never cared to block the pluralized version, which is even more ridiculous…) — so you could put all these attempts in a queue and let others review that. P0rblem solved.
    – slhck
    Sep 22, 2012 at 6:58
  • I'd rather turn your extremely small problem into a huge one, if we're going to add the title as a "low quality indicator" then why not add it in such way that it would show all questions that have four (or perhaps even five) words or less? Actually, that would catch a lot of those problem questions as well... ;) Sep 22, 2012 at 13:45
  • And issue questions as well; heh, that's handy; catched two of them at once, and more... Sep 22, 2012 at 13:52

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