When I'm asking a new question, the first thing I do is fill out the title field. But by doing so, the title of the page as shown by my web browser is changed to the title I entered instead of the generic Ask a Question - [Site Name].

Why is this a problem?

After the question is submitted, the new question will have the same exact title that was used when composing the question. This causes a name conflict when viewing my browsing history and I will see two links with the same name but go to different pages (the ask page and the actual question page).

Consider the use case:

  • I want to ask a new question so I open a tab and post it
  • After posting, I watch the question waiting for any answers
  • If no answers come up, I'll close the tab and find something else to do
  • Later on, I'll want to revisit the question again so I open up another tab and start typing the title of my question.
  • Usually I would _expect_ the question to be the first listed page by my browser's history so I open the first page that shows up.

As it turns out, the Ask a Question page will be opened since it had the same exact title as the original question. Not what I expected.

Typing the name of the question and what the browser suggests looks like this:
url bar as I type it
It is not the link to the actual question, but the ask page. But it should be.

I know that it's just a minor issue, but I think it would be helpful, not just for me but for the site in general.

  • 7
    If you want to check your question for answers, click on your name to go to your profile page, and find the question there. The rest of your question didn't ake any sense to me. Jul 15, 2011 at 20:50
  • 1
    I downvoted because you are complaining that you can't be bothered to look at the link in your browser history that corresponds to the quesiton, no the ASK page. Also because you ask about a question a day on meta and most of them seem silly at best.
    – JNK
    Jul 15, 2011 at 20:51
  • @lasse - he is complaining that the page is stored as the question name in browser history, basically
    – JNK
    Jul 15, 2011 at 20:52
  • You were probably downvoted either because your question was very hard to understand (I've suggested an edit to hopefully fix it), or they may just not agree that it's a feature request worth fulfilling.
    – adamjford
    Jul 15, 2011 at 20:52
  • @Lasse: That's it. I have to access stackoverflow.com first, after that my profile, after that I will have to find my question. Instead of 3 seconds of writing subject of my question to address bar
    – genesis
    Jul 15, 2011 at 20:55
  • 17
    The question is legitimate. A title should uniquely identify the page in question, and changing the "Ask a question"'s page to the title of the question being asked doesn't really make sense, and in fact causes trouble when using browser history. +1 for raising a valid usability concern.
    – Welbog
    Jul 15, 2011 at 20:58
  • I agree that the editing of window.document.title is unnecessarily flashy and distracting, and considering this problem, could stand to be removed.
    – adamjford
    Jul 15, 2011 at 20:58
  • 5
    @adamjford: Just because you can't imagine why someone would do it isn't a reason for it to exist. This feature does mess with browser history by colliding with the actual question's page title. That is an issue to some regardless of how you, specifically, navigate Stack Overflow.
    – Welbog
    Jul 15, 2011 at 21:00
  • Ok I think I get what you're saying (based on @adam's interpretation). You're wondering if it's necessary to change the title of the page (as shown by our browsers) when asking a new question. I guess it would be nice but I don't think it is really necessary. Jul 15, 2011 at 21:03
  • 3
    @genesis: Some people aren't good at putting themselves in other people's shoes. The results of which include war and bad UI design.
    – Welbog
    Jul 15, 2011 at 21:03
  • @Jeff: Actually, that's what's happening right now. As you type your title in while asking a new question, window.document.title is updated automagically as you type. Problem is, it's then tracked with that title in your browser's history, and if you search your history for the title with the Firefox or Chrome superbar, you may end up on the Ask form instead of your actual question!
    – adamjford
    Jul 15, 2011 at 21:08
  • 1
    Welbog has the power to turn negative questions positive! (And vice versa.)
    – Welbog
    Jul 15, 2011 at 21:09
  • 4
    @genesis: Moderators hate discussion here on Meta. You get used to the constant censorship and incompetence.
    – Welbog
    Jul 15, 2011 at 21:13
  • 4
    All these comments are only because the question wasn't clear in the first place
    – random
    Jul 15, 2011 at 21:15
  • 1
    It's for you. But as @Plain said @Cody: Just because you can't imagine why someone would do it isn't a reason for it to exist. This feature does mess with browser history by colliding with the actual question's page title. That is an issue to some regardless of how you, specifically, navigate Stack Overflow. - And I just asked: "Is it necessary ....?"
    – genesis
    Jul 16, 2011 at 10:16

2 Answers 2


This annoyed me too, but for another reason:

I started typing my question, then switched to other browser tabs to find some links and other information to put into my question. Now, how to find my question again? It happened that I did not remember the title of my question, and even by looking at all titles the editing tab did not look really different than the other ones. (Contrastingly, if I use the edit link, at least where this does not trigger the inline editor, I get a page whose title starts with Edit:, which is easily found.

(Maybe I'm just a bit unusual here with my many browser tabs.)

I think a solution could be to prepend something like Ask Question: or simply Ask: to the question title in the page title.

  • yes, I agree with you. I have this mess as you, too in my tabs
    – genesis
    Jul 15, 2011 at 23:07

If the problem is finding the latest question you asked, then you can simply look at your user profile page that shows you the questions you asked and how many answers they have. Using the browser's history to look at the questions you asked is not the best method anyway, if you visit more sites, ask more than one question, and you answer questions too. How can the browser's history tell you if the link is to a question you asked, a question you answered, or a question you looked to?


If the problem is knowing when there is a new answer for your questions, then you should get notified about new answers from the Super-Collider drop-down menu, which should show the number of recent comments, or new answers to your answers (among other things).


If the Super-Collider drop-down menu doesn't work for you for any reason, then there is still your user profile that list the questions that has been recently modified, where recently modified means also the questions with new answers; just select the "recent" tab, and you will see the questions ordered by the recent modifies.

Proposing not to alter the title of question page to be able to find the recent asked questions is, IMO, proposing a solution for a non existing problem.
Users are free to use the browser's history to find the asked questions, but this is not the best way to do it, especially considering the points I reported before; it's not the best solution even if the title of the question page would not be changed while the question is being edited. Users could have more than one browser, and use a specific one to ask questions, but I doubt that the average user asks a single question in a single site, and then waits until he gets an acceptable answer before to ask the next one. In such case, the reasoning behind asking this feature report is valid for a restricted number of users.

  • I told in previous comments that I'm accessing my questions from address bar... That's my style of browsing around
    – genesis
    Jul 15, 2011 at 23:05
  • 3
    Ironic that for a long time, inline editing was rejected because it was too much work to update. We were told to open up the pages in separate tabs if you wish to edit while seeing the rest of the post and comments together. Or otherwise, use the features of our modern web browsers. Then to navigate to these questions, we shouldn't use the features of our web browsers but instead, use the site's. Jul 16, 2011 at 10:07
  • Odd. My Safari (5.1 on OS X 10.6) does change the titlebar as soon as I navigate out of the title input field.
    – Arjan
    Aug 20, 2011 at 17:16
  • I have updated Safari to Safari 5.1, and I see the same behavior.
    – apaderno
    Aug 20, 2011 at 20:44
  • @Arjan: yes, that's exact behavior I want to "delete"
    – genesis
    Aug 21, 2011 at 10:16

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