# Blacklist “syntax error” in title

Could this be done so that we get fewer off-topic questions? I recommend pointing them to Stack Overflow.

• why only "syntax error", I could imagine even blacklisting "Issue" or "error" in general – Vogel612 Oct 30 '14 at 16:31
• @Vogel612 We still want error handling code reviewable, though I agree with 'syntax error' of course. – konijn Oct 31 '14 at 13:27
• @konijn error could be blacklisted leaving Exception Handling allowed. – Malachi Oct 31 '14 at 19:48

It is often said that you should use the right tool for the job. What is the right tool to determine if a question is on-topic or off-topic?

I certainly believe that it is not blacklisting titles. I already had some minor problems when "Review" was blacklisted so I changed the title of one of my questions to use "CR" instead. Though I still can live with blacklisting "Review" because there are so many "Please review my code".

However, what if someone wants to post an "Automatic Syntax Error Detector" that they wrote?

We will always get off-topic questions, I believe the best way to handle them is for humans to respond to them. We are the best tool for the job.

• I seems I should write better meta questions (spend more time on them) and that I can't just post them like this. My thoughts behind it were "How could there ever be a question with "syntax error" in it and still be a legitimate question?" and yet there can be such a thing, apparently. – Pimgd Oct 30 '14 at 23:40

The following posts contain 'syntax' in the title:

there are 19 of them. None of them are concerned about syntax errors.

"Error handling" is the most common pair when searching for 'error' in the title:

I can't see where 'syntax' is currently a problem, or how blacklisting 'error' will help either. The combined 'syntax error' blacklist will catch very little.

Problem would be better solved with downvotes and close (and eventual deletes).

• And comments!!! – Simon Forsberg Oct 30 '14 at 16:49

I also agree that this may not be effective, though I understand your concern. No matter what, someone is going to try to "bend the rules" to ask their off-topic question. At least without the title filtering, it'll be pretty easy to tell that the question is off-topic (no need to read the post body carefully).

Now you may be wondering: what's the use of the other current title filters? The other filters are effective for helping educate users on writing better titles (if they care to listen, of course). They may already know that they're in the right place, so they may take the advice and write a better title. But if someone comes with an off-topic question, they may ask the question anyway, especially if they haven't yet seen the Help Center and don't know where else it belongs. The title isn't really the best place to educate users on topicality, but on more descriptive titles for on-topic questions.

Blacklisting doesn't really work, for example for some of my questions I needed to contain phrase code review, mentioning that it is about this site, In the end I had to use a stripped down URL and some other methods to achieve it. See my profile you can see them. Note that I'm completely against blacklisting phrases in title, unless it's NSFW. And I think there are enough 1k users who can edit them anyway.