Warn on Duplicate Note Name

Links between Bear notes can be easily disrupted if you inadvertently create a new note with the same title as an existing note. Any links to the original note will be moved to the new note without warning. For folks that maintain a lot of links between notes, this can be very frustrating and lead to data loss.

Obsidian won’t allow you to create a duplicate note (in the same folder). In Craft, you can create duplicate notes but this has no effect on links since Craft uses a Note ID and not note name for links.

Until Bear switches to a more persistent note ID linking framework, it would be great if we could have a warning message before creating a duplicate note name that might divert existing links.

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As someone who is slowly moving my Second Brain to Bear, I am glad you brought this up. I hope the Bear team will deal with that, because I sometimes use tags to mark topics in my writing that I want to cover later, and it will be a great mess if sudden merging starts happening.

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A follow up on this issue where links to a note are rerouted when a new note with the same name is created. I was reviewing my notes today and discovered that I have experienced at least a dozen cases of links being altered to different notes that didn’t involve duplicated note names. In these cases, just using the start of the existing note name caused the links to get diverted.

I was able to perform a screen capture to show how this happens. In the video, you’ll see two notes: a Reading Workflow note (left) that links to a note called Readwise (right). When I create a new note called Readwise Strategy for Reader on the right, you can see the links in the left hand note get renamed and the back-links being deleted from the Readwise note in favor of the new one.

This is pretty serious issue for me as I use internal note links extensively in my note system. I honestly can’t tell how many of my notes have been corrupted by this bug. I’ve scoured Reddit and this forum for solutions. The only feedback I saw from Bear was to use note IDs in creating one-way links instead of wiki [[ - ]] links, but that defeats the whole purpose of a linking-your-thinking note system.

I love the aesthetics of Bear, but it seems like note linking might be more of an after-thought than a reliable core feature. Has anyone experienced this issue and have feedback?

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Thank you for posting this video! I’m a new Bear user and have been diving in, but this gives me pause about how I’ll name things until this bug is fixed. The video makes it clear what’s going on.

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@Breen I just duplicated the exact behavior you recorded in your screengrab. We still need a warning about duplicate note names, but it turns out that that alone wouldn’t help in this case, because in both your and my scenarios, we weren’t done typing the name of our new note and the app had already fixated on the backlinks it was going to mistakenly relink to the new note when we hit Return on the name. Hope this is fixed soon!

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Hello, and thanks a lot for reporting this bug.

Yes, this needs to be addressed, and we have a solution we want to explore.

We want to allow notes with the same name but we also want to preserve backlinks in situations like the one you illustrated. Our idea is to change how automatic wikilinks renaming works when a new note with the same name is created by leveraging the backlinks db relations we already have. This requires some changes under the hood regarding both backlinks renaming and how wiki links follow the target note… and a lot of tests.

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