I was entering this question on Russian.SE and attempted to put two question marks in the title after the hyphen (I first tried to use title Смеяться - рассмешить, улыбаться - ??)

When I submitted the question, the title was changed to Смеяться - рассмешить, улыбаться -?

I can understand (although not necessarily agree with) replacing two consecutive question marks in the title with one, but I believe removing the space before the question mark is a bug. While in most cases it would be a valid scenario (i.e. question at the end of the sentence), if the question mark follows a space after another punctuation sign, then the space should not be removed.

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    Should that hyphen be there in the first place? Does it make sense in Russian? – yannis Oct 31 '12 at 11:23
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    @Yannis, no, not really. – SingerOfTheFall Oct 31 '12 at 11:25
  • @YannisRizos in this case, yes. The question is about word relations. The meaning of the question is "word1 - word2, word3 - ?", asking to come up with a word that has similar relation to word3 as word2 to word1. An (oversimplified) example English question could be "heavy - light, long - ?" – Aleks G Oct 31 '12 at 11:26
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    @AleksG, in that case you have a bad title. I understood it as "Does Смеяться mean рассмешить or улыбаться?". – SingerOfTheFall Oct 31 '12 at 11:27
  • @SingerOfTheFall hm... I haven't thought about that interpretation... I can definitely change the question title, however my question remains: should the space be automatically removed in all cases? – Aleks G Oct 31 '12 at 11:30
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    btw you should have posted this on Meta Russian Language and Usage. – yannis Oct 31 '12 at 11:30
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    @AleksG Spaces before question marks don't make sense in all languages I know (all three of them ;). – yannis Oct 31 '12 at 11:31
  • @AleksG, it probably gets removed because most of the languages do not have any spaces in front of punctuation marks. At least I don't know about a language that does. Not to mention that "-?" is not something you would usually see as the end of a sentence. – SingerOfTheFall Oct 31 '12 at 11:33
  • @YannisRizos agree - in normal speach, however they may make sense when trying to present structured relations (with an unknown, represented by that question mark). – Aleks G Oct 31 '12 at 11:34
  • @AleksG Not in any of the three languages I know. But, I don't know Russian. – yannis Oct 31 '12 at 11:35
  • @YannisRizos (Structurally, Russian isn't very different from English) – Aleks G Oct 31 '12 at 11:36
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    @YannisRizos: French uses a space before question marks (and possibly other punctuations as well). – Joachim Sauer Oct 31 '12 at 11:38
  • The answer would be "вызвать улыбку", which means "to evoke a smile", by the way, as in "Его замечание вызвало у меня улыбку" which roughly translates to "His remark made me smile". – SingerOfTheFall Oct 31 '12 at 11:47

Why do you want to be able to enter your title in this particular format?

The Google translation of the Russian comes out as:

Laugh - laugh, smile -?

Ignoring the fact that the translation is incorrect, this isn't a very good question title. I would suggest that you need to rework your title so it makes more sense.

As you can see on this wikipedia page about the space, no spaces are put before punctuation marks in Russian.

  • That translation is definitely incorrect; and I now rewrote the question title, however my initial question remains: do we need to always remove that space? And the fact that Google does it is irrelevant here. – Aleks G Oct 31 '12 at 11:32
  • @AleksG - yes you're right, what Google does is irrelevant. But to answer your question about the space. Yes we do need to remove it. – ChrisF Oct 31 '12 at 11:33
  • That's roughly "laugh - set laughing, smile -?" – SingerOfTheFall Oct 31 '12 at 11:46

If I understand you correctly, it is another of those situations where you need to cheat the system to ask a question on pr0blems:

Bug with question mark in a title - (space goes here)?

or maybe this works better

Bug with question mark in a title - __?

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    "Why are spaces in front of question marks removed from the title?" – Bart Oct 31 '12 at 11:58
  • @Bart another one of those who don't get it – prusswan Oct 31 '12 at 11:59
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    Then you might want to express yourself more clearly. Judging from the downvote there's at least one other user who doesn't get it. – Bart Oct 31 '12 at 12:01

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