When you do a Threadwatch site search in Google most of the pages are filtered out due to having duplicate meta description tags.
If you have complete duplication of any element (page title, meta keywords, meta description) across your site then it is at best a wasted opportunity, but may also hurt your ability to get your site indexed or ranked well in some search engines. Also, if you have the exact same information in the page title, meta description, and meta keywords areas then that onpage duplication across elements through the "eyes" of a search engine at best makes you look like an ignorant webmaster, but might also be a sign of low information quality or spamming. If you have a huge dynamic site and are forced to chose between having duplication across major elements on a page or duplication from page to page or just yanking an element (like the meta description or meta keywords tag) then you are usually better off just yanking the element until you can find a formula that allows you to dynamically generate somewhat unique page level information.
I think sending duplicate information is in many ways far worse than showing nothing at all, and Matt Cutts recently stated similar in a TW comment. I will yank the meta descriptions from Threadwatch pretty soon.
Many content management systems (like MovableType - which this blog uses) make the onpage header and page title the exact same as one another. In an ideal world you could have the option to make them different to help mix up your on page optimization (by allowing you to focus the page on a broader set of keywords) and your anchor text (as people often link at things using the official name as the link).
If you have a small hand crafted website then it is probably worth taking the time to try to make your content as unique as possible from page to page and element to element within those pages. Any time you have the chance to show that your content is hand crafted and unique that is a valuable opportunity, especially as the volume of search spam increases and spamming techniques evolve.
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