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If I started a new question with the title "Pronunciation of 'cat'" the related question helper finds bunches of questions starting with "pronunciation of". This seems to happen with many of the common question forms:

  • What is the meaning of "cat"?
  • What is the difference between "cat" and "dog"?
  • What is the origin of "raining cats and dogs"?
  • Where did the phrase "raining cats and dogs" come from?

Etc. Related questions to these are more likely to matter if the part in quotes were given extreme priority. As in, the phrase "pronunciation of" is going to be mostly insignificant. Is there a way to lower the relevance of certain words in the search algorithm?

For the record, here are the related questions found for Pronunciation of "cat" (in order returned):

  • Calling up a cat
  • Pronunciation of “of”
  • Pronunciation of “especially”
  • Pronunciation of comparable
  • Pronunciation of “hypokeimenon”
  • Pronunciation of Paraguay
  • Pronunciation of “Wiki”
  • Pronunciation of “Pizza”
  • Pronunciation of “jsfiddle”
  • Pronunciation of “applicable”
  • Pronunciation of “spring”
  • the pronunciation of 'occult'
  • Pronunciation of “r”
  • What is the pronunciation of “the?”
  • Pronunciation of “often”
  • Pronunciation of “theodicy”
  • Pronunciation of “Blessed”
  • “Lieutenant” pronunciation
  • Is there a difference between the pronunciation of a teenager, and the pronunciation of an adult?
  • Are there different types of Pronunciation Guides?
  • Expansion and pronunciation of “Mrs”
  • Pronunciation of the word “laboratory”
  • Foreigner's English pronunciation [closed]
  • Pronunciation of “Short-lived”
  • Who is in charge of determining a pronunciation?

Granted, we probably don't have many questions about "cat" in the system but the pattern seems to hold with other questions of this form. In my opinion, these results just aren't that useful. Can we do better?

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You make a good point. It might be worth trying to add something to the FAQ about this, with respect to good question titles.

There was a similar problem on SO, which still occurs from time to time, where people would have titles such as

C# LINQ datetime puzzle

Where the first three words should really be tags, and the real question should be in the title.

Pronunciation should be a tag, so it doesn't need to be in the title. Admittedly that would leave "Pronunciation of cat" and similar titles at a length disadvantage.

I'm not sure how to get around it with pronunciation questions.

As for searching through the current set of questions that have this issue, some sort of "ignore tags" function would be good, if tricky to write.

  • 2
    Just because something should be a tag doesn't mean it shouldn't also be in the title! – SamB May 5 '11 at 3:16

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