I was editing a question titled "newton's law of restitution" and I edited the title to "Newton's law of restitution" (There were latex issues in the body of the question and I was not editing the question just because of obsessing over the title as it might seem from my recent behavior :P). When I finished the edits and tried to post them, the system gave me an error that a question with an identical title already exists. The only difference between the old and the new title was capitalization of "N" in "Newton". I think this is a serious issue if someone can smuggle a question with an existing title via tweaking trivial capitalizations. Also, in such a situation, should one simply notify the OP that while the system is not registering an error, they should change the title or should one change the title themselves so as to suit the question? I did the latter--I am not particularly sure I should've done it. This might be a network-wide issue--if so, can this question be migrated or should I ask on the central meta separately?

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    $\begingroup$ People do lame stuff like putting exclamation marks after titles too. And anyways, "Newton's law of restitution" is an equally bad title since it isn't descriptive. $\endgroup$
    – user191954
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 5:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Chair Yes, but I didn't want to change it in content myself--I would've just commented and suggested OP to change it themselves. $\endgroup$
    – user87745
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 5:58

1 Answer 1

  1. If two questions are not duplicates of each other and yet their titles only differ in capitalization, then the title is bad and should be changed (preferably on both questions) to a title that is more specific to the individual questions. See How do we write good question titles? for, well, how to write good question titles.

    Everyone is free to edit other people's posts on Stack Exchange. While you should be trying to preserve authorial intent, if you genuinely believe you've got a better title, just go ahead and edit it in. Do not hesitate to improve other people's posts! (but be sure that it's actually an improvement before doing so)

  2. If the questions are duplicates of each other, then it's unavoidable that their titles might be similar. Don't sweat improving the title of a question that's closed as duplicate since e.g. users that are not logged in are automatically redirected to a duplicate's target anyway.

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    $\begingroup$ This does sound like network-wide system behaviour that shouldn't happen, though. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty You mean that differences in capitalization affect whether or not titles are detected as equal? I'm not sure the alternative - trying to compare unicode titles case-insensitively - would not produce even more confusing behaviour in some edge cases. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 14:13
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    $\begingroup$ I agree it's likely to be complicated - and it's also likely to be in an ancient part of the codebase that's not been touched for years and is unlikely to get attention now. I had a brief look on the mother meta, and the top layer of results is from 2011, which... figures, I guess. I'd be surprised if there's anything new to be said about that feature, tbh - I reckon it's Dvij's job to hunt for the state of the issue on MSE. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 14:20

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