Recently an operating system's error message included the word "help" in it. I added the error message to the title (always helpful for those perusing questions and most certainly for SERP placement) and of course got stiffarmed by ServerFault's word blacklist for titles.
"Please do not use these words in titles: help" Now I cannot include the exact error message in the title (Google search results are now buzzkilled so future searchers are less likely to find it).
- Are we certain that this is the best way to handle the word
- Error messages that have the word
helpin them occur often enough, and including the error message in a question's title really... sunglasses ...helps.
Bonus question: Is there a canonical list of blacklisted words somewhere?
EDIT: Here's the question that spurred this post: The "Offer Remote Assistance" option is not working. Error: Your offer could not be sent
I see horrible things with
help in the title. However, the horror appears to largely be unrelated to the word help. It's more because the titles are just... horrible. Focusing on removing the word
help from question titles, at least in the current way it's done without an explicit encouragement to make a better title, is like seeing people getting sick from eating paste and only barring them from specifically eating Elmer's brand.
EDIT 2: I totally acknowledge that this little problem of mine is pretty irrelevant to the larger issues at play on the sites. I am of the opinion that blacklisted words don't help increase the quality of question titles but rather simply change the available words that the same quantity of bad question titles will have.
What would be the ultimate solution to bad question titles? An act of God. We cannot change human behavior and our tendency to the path of least immediate resistance. Only those who are repeat "customers" of ServerFault can have their behavior changed through exposure to the culture here. One or two-time posters won't be deterred from bad titles unless they have to jump through flaming hoops backwards to post. ("Make sure your title ends in a
? and has at least four English lexical categories. Proper usage of full syntactic categories as well as contractions will place your question higher. Bonus point for active voice.")
Really, I was mostly interested in people's perception of the value of blacklisted words. Seems pretty worthless to me. shrug