Inspired by this question: Can't edit question - title already exists

Synopsis: When editing a question that has a duplicate title, the system prompts the user (editor) to change the title, and won't allow any edits to be submitted without also editing the title.

It's very possible the original attempted edit to the question was to fix things unrelated to dupe (title or question), so the user will quite possibly just change the title to something suitable as they've been prompted to do, then make the edits they originally came to do, and be on their way.

However, if a question with a dupe title is also a dupe question (not just a dupe title, as is possible), then community moderating should handle it, and the edits unrelated to a "dupe-fix" the user makes will be pointless (or, not ideal, as it should be closed).

There is a simple missed opportunity here to get the problem fixed correctly, rather than just, as currently, "Edit this title or you cannot continue".


When trying to edit a question with a dupe title, it would perhaps be useful to inform the editor of the circumstances, so they can investigate.

Such as:

This is a dupe title. If the question is a dupe, and you are not editing the question and title to fix the dupe, please flag the question instead of editing it. Otherwise, in addition to your edits, please also edit the title to remove the dupenicity

  • FYI - I rejected the edit proposal (while I see the logic) as we don't know where this message will go. If it replaces the current message, then it will be next to the title, and so "this is a dupe title" is fine. Even if implemented, Stack won't likely use this message anyway. It's just an example :)
    – James
    Mar 14 '15 at 15:29

Also, don't "force" the title edits

In addition to the proposal, a suggestion/discussion point rather than proposal.

A dupe title is not necessarily a dupe question, so by forcing users to change a dupe title, we are assuming it is a dupe question.

And we all know assumption is the mother of all f...ups (If you disagree, Ryback is behind you..)

They then have to rake the question for new title data, and consider politics and avoiding potentially changing the meaning of the "subject".

This is not great, especially given that the question may not even be a dupe, and there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the title - other than it's identical to another one.

I'm sure we want dupe titles to be resolved, even if not a dupe question. But forcing this requirement when a user is otherwise improving a question may stop them improving the question altogether because:

  • They are not familiar enough with the question topic (code language, technology , etc) to comfortably change the title
  • They do not want to change the title, just improve the question grammar, and/or put code in code tags etc
  • There is no straight forward, or even possible, change in the title
  • If any of the above are true, and user gives up, we potentially lose a good/useful edit on a non-dupe question, just because the title is a dupe, which to be fair, was allowed at the time of creating the question

Is it really so essential to fix dupe titles to force this on users editing for other reasons?
If it's this important, I suggest the question askers with dupe titles are contacted with haste...

Editing a dupe title is not a simple "logical fix" (like removing "Please Help" etc), and so this is really something the OP should do as it is their question.

If we edit a title badly, or without good reason (i.e. just the system forcing us due to dupe title), the OP gets cranky and antsy, and we end up with a post on Meta "Should this title have been changed".

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