I wish to ask a question (on any Stack Exchange board) with a similar (or identical) title to a question that is closed. But I'm not able to do this.

It seems to me that this is a mistake.

If the previous question is closed for a reason that doesn't preclude it being a perfectly valid question (e.g. a moderator felt the description wasn't clear enough), then why shouldn't the same question be asked again, with a different description? After all, no answers can be provided to the first question, and yet the question merits being asked, and being answered.

  • 5
    Shouldn't the first question not being edited instead so it gets clarified instead and then re-opened? – rene Mar 22 '19 at 17:48
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    @rene To be fair, in many such cases, maybe the majority, only the other question's OP can correctly edit it to make it suitable to reopen. – Nathan Tuggy Mar 22 '19 at 17:53
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    @NathanTuggy true, I was dreaming of a perfect world. That is solved now ;) – rene Mar 22 '19 at 18:10
  • Cross-posted from Stats.SE: Question titles cannot be similar to those of a closed question – Meta Andrew T. Mar 23 '19 at 6:56
  • Answers to date have tried to provide work arounds, rather than discuss, or simply defend, the current functionality. If you believe that the current functionality is correct, then counter-argue why. The existence of workarounds doesn't imply the status quo is better than allowing questions to be opened with the same title as a closed question. – user664303 Apr 1 '19 at 21:32

You say:

why shouldn't the same question be asked again, with a different description?

To me this sounds like you wish to ask a duplicate question.

If they are not duplicates then editing the title and body of either question to make clear why not are valid actions.

If you cannot provide an edit that achieves this, then try using a downvote to nudge the question towards the Roomba. When it is gone from the site, you or someone else will be able to provide better content to ask what is effectively the same question.

Discussion forums are full of duplicate questions. One of the key differentiators that leads to the quality of our Q&A is that questions are only asked once and, when needed, that and its answers can be improved.

  • I agree that having multiple open duplicate questions makes no sense. But that isn't the situation here. A closed question cannot be answered, so having an open duplicate (title) does make sense - the question can be answered! – user664303 Apr 1 '19 at 21:26
  • @user664303 A closed question can be re-opened for answers by editing it sufficiently to convince a community or its moderators that it is ready to be. – PolyGeo Apr 1 '19 at 21:42

Given that the titles are the same, I assume the questions are duplicates

There are two scenarios here:

1. You are the author of the original question, which has been closed by moderators.

In this case, asking a duplicate question is unnecessary, as you have two good alternative solutions:

  • Delete the original question before asking the new one.
  • Edit the original question, then cast a reopen vote or flag for a moderator (smileycreations15's answer).

2. You are not the author of the original question, which has been closed by moderators.

In this case, you are unable to edit or delete the original question, so in order to receive answers, either:

  • You downvote the original question and wait for it to be deleted (as suggested by PolyGeo).
  • You change the title of your question slightly (as suggested by smileycreations15).
  • The functionality of the StackExchange site should change to allow duplicates of closed questions (as you propose).

The first solution requires time, which you may or may not have. The second solution, finding a good but different title for a question, is likely feasible and is unlikely to have detrimental impact on the question, even if the best title is already in use. The third solution would complicate the logic around handling duplicate question. What if the closed question were re-opened? Should that not be allowed, or should duplicate questions be permitted in this case? The approach solves your problem, but creates another.

It is worth noting that it should be an extremely rare occurrence that two independent people wish to ask a duplicate question around the same time, and have chosen an identical title. This, combined with the fact that finding an alternative title is feasible, and that allowing duplicate questions in this scenario complicates the logic of the site and raises other questions, suggests to me that the status quo is better than your suggestion, and that finding an alternative title is a better solution to your problem.


You can edit the question to modify the description and the title to make it suitable for reopening.
Then cast a reopen vote, or flag for a modreator if you cannot cast the reopen vote on the question. (Less reputation is needed to cast a close/reopen vote a question that you created.) If you are not the owner of the closed question, choose a better and different title.

  • You can. If you are the OP. But what if you're not? – user664303 Apr 1 '19 at 21:26
  • @user664303 If you are not, choose a better or different title. – smileycreations15 Apr 1 '19 at 21:27
  • What if the title is already the best one? Choose a worse one? – user664303 Apr 1 '19 at 21:28
  • Choose the nearest best title. Ask more questions in chat if you will ask more. – smileycreations15 Apr 1 '19 at 21:31

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