So in attempting to answer:

Warn about identical question titles

I wondered how often this happens. OH MY WORD!! Here's a data query which returns 10881 question pairs with duplicate titles.

Many of these titles are poor & require editing. Note, I didn't include a post date, but I have a suspicion that many are old, like these two:

And I'd bet that a few could be closed as duplicates and merged:

seven suspiciously identical titles

However, many of the pairs are quite different:

but have an identical title due to similar error messages. Consider this a call to action. After looking through the results, editing/flagging a few, please head over to --> Should duplicate titles be disallowed? And add your thoughts? The suggestion might limit the plz send the codez questions.

For Reference: How do I write a good title?

  • Note: It appears that merged questions are showing up in these results. I'm not savvy enough to improve the SEDE query to avoid these -- if someone else knows how, please update the post. – M. Tibbits Aug 31 '11 at 15:41
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    I made a variant which shows the dates, instead of showing the same title four times. – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 31 '11 at 15:43
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    This one excludes closed questions, I think. 9546 pairs of duplicates (but often there are series of posts with identical titles). – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 31 '11 at 15:52
  • Wow. Still 9,546. I thought it would drop by much more than that. Thanks!! – M. Tibbits Aug 31 '11 at 15:58
  • This still includes some which were merged without closing first. I'm not sure how to filter those out. – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 31 '11 at 16:03
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    I added similar posts (even with same titles) on the metas for mathematics, superuser and serverfault. Programmers and TeX had only two or three real duplicates (and some non-duplicates with identical titles for TeX), there I simply flagged the duplicates for the moderators. – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 31 '11 at 18:01
  • well, we do prevent this at least for future questions now: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/104914/… – Jeff Atwood Sep 27 '11 at 8:20

I'll collect the queries I made today in an answer. All of those list the titles together with the posting date. These exclude closed questions (apart from the first one), but seem to include questions that were merged without closing first.

All but the last one work with all SE sites (just click one of the other site icons). For the last, on most of the SE 2.0 sites use the SE 2.0 version instead (it has different encoding of the tag names).

If you want to help cleaning these up, I recommend selecting a tag you like, and starting there. For example, has now (at the last data dump time) 653 such pairs of identical questions.


To add to this call-to-arms, I just ran across a couple specific cases needing some (at least title) cleanup:

I haven't the time to look through all of them right now, but they're here if anyone's looking to advance their Copy Editor badge.

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