If you try to ask a question and a question with the same title exists you get this message:

Your question couldn't be submitted. Please see the error above.

To pass that people do things like putting tags in the title (language/technology, etc.), which on the other hand should be avoided. There could be so many titles you just can't rephrase and keep them simple and concise.

My question is why duplicate titles are not allowed?

  • 3
    Can you show an example of two questions where the very same sentence is the ideal, natural title, while they are not duplicates of each other? – Pekka Mar 16 '14 at 1:01
  • I don't have an example to show, but a conceivable example would be the same question in two very different languages. – Matthew Lundberg Mar 16 '14 at 1:14
  • 1
    @MatthewLundberg it would seem that there would be language-specific words that would reduce the likeliness – codeMagic Mar 16 '14 at 1:15
  • @MatthewLundberg Then the title of both questions should be changed to something like “Frobnicate a green widget in Erlang”. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Mar 16 '14 at 1:21
  • @Gilles The tag should be enough to say that it's in Erlang instead of another language. – Matthew Lundberg Mar 16 '14 at 1:29
  • @MatthewLundberg In many views, the tag is a lot less visible than the title. Essential information, such as the programming language for many SO questions, should be in the title. Understanding the title should not depend on having read the tags, since in most cases readers will see only the title and not the tag. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Mar 16 '14 at 1:31
  • @Gilles It must be that I use SO differently than others, in that I search specific tags for questions, and only look for questions by tag. Also note that in the R tag (where I spend my time), it is very common for an editor to remove "in R" from question titles as being redundant. – Matthew Lundberg Mar 16 '14 at 1:35
  • Here are two questions from the latest 6 (by activity) in the R tag, which could be used for questions in a number of languages, and the answers would be completely different: stackoverflow.com/questions/22430365/… stackoverflow.com/questions/22430585/… – Matthew Lundberg Mar 16 '14 at 1:42
  • @MatthewLundberg Most people use Google, which displays the page title in the HTML sense, which is the question title with the most popular tag (usually the language name) prepended (e.g. “R - Frobnicate a greet widget”). In other views, such as on the front page, this isn't done. “… in R” isn't redundant; people who remove it generally do so from a mistaken reading of Should questions include “tags” in their titles?, which says to remove artificial insertions of tags in titles like in “R frobnicate green widget” and make the title read nicely instead. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Mar 16 '14 at 2:22

I personally haven't come across this problem but it seems like it should be easy to avoid...

My question is why duplicate titles are not allowed?

This is probably to cut down on repeat questions. If you have the exact title of another question then your post and/or title is probably:

  1. A duplicate of another post or
  2. Way too general

In either case, your post is probably going to be closed and for good reason. If you have any examples then it may help to give a more clear and precise answer.

If you really can't come up with an original title then you probably need to do a little more searching on SO because, most likely, the answer is already posted.

  • 1
    I was trying to edit the title of a question the other day "remove spaces from string, C#". I removed the C# part and put in in a tag, only do find that the title was taken by a similar question about how to do that in Java for Android. So the point is the same topic can apply to different technologies and of course there would be different answers. – Marius Bancila Mar 16 '14 at 21:03
  • @MariusBancila right and my point is there are probably a couple answers on SO that address that question – codeMagic Mar 16 '14 at 21:07

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