OK, so we have this HNQ, which gathered quite a lot of attention, snarky comments, and a small edit war between me and another user about the title of the question. I've edited the answer to match the body of the question. The issue is that it can be viewed from different points of view: is OP asking about the error message? About one command vs another? Are they asking about both? Are the title and question even clear enough?

Does the community think the edit captures the question well enough, and if not - what should be done about it?

PS: For the record, I think the snarky comments to that question were kinda uncalled for :) Aren't we supposed to follow "be nice" rule?

  • "Nice rule": I wonder the same on so many occasions! Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 6:56
  • At the moment, the title is grammatically wrong (its subject-verb agreement is off). Also, colons themselves are not searchable. It needs the word "colon"
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 6:57
  • @Zanna Good point. I've replaced the symbol with the word. Not quite sure about the S-V agreement, though. I don't grammar well :) Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 7:02

1 Answer 1


I think the best version of this post is revision 4, because its title is the most specific

Why does the error message for two colons as a command (::) in bash have three colons, but a single colon give no output?

This expresses what was asked, but more importantly it leads to the answers, which explain why Bash behaves in the way described.

  • we need the word 'colon' because words are searchable
  • it's good to show the actual command :: (or non-command) entered - that makes it clearer
  • it's important to show that the 'command' is being entered in a Bash shell
  • 'output' is a more precise term than 'response' or 'result'.

Vague titles make for poor quality search results (not finding what you actually want - we all hate that, right?). Make the title lead to the information given as unambiguously as possible.


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