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I have been experiencing a mysterious error whenever I activate any plugin on WP 4.2.1:

Fatal error: Cannot redeclare maybe_create_table() (previously declared in /wp-admin/install-helper.php:52) in /wp-admin/includes/upgrade.php on line 1616

The plugin is activated though when I navigate away from the error screen.

To my surprise, there is a lot of entries about this error when searching google, but not a single solution is posted, or a cause of this error. I have looked through every single search result.

There is this 7 year old trac ticket discussing maybe_create_table() being declared in two instances but that is marked as solved.

What in the world is this? What is the cause of it?

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    Do you have this problem with a pristine install-- no plugins, no extra themes? Browsing the source, I can see why this would happen but it is hard to see how this particular issue would slip into a major release. – s_ha_dum May 5 '15 at 18:47
  • @s_ha_dum Can you please explain in which instances this could happen? How can I debug this and find the cause? This is a sandbox install. I deactivated all plugins and used one of the Twenty* themes. The error is still present whenever I activate a plugin. There are of course deactivated plugins there and one custom theme which is not active. Not that this would be a problem but thought I would mention. – Christine Cooper May 5 '15 at 18:55
  • Try comparing the newest upgrade.php with yours? It shouldn't actually redeclare it. – Frederik Spang May 5 '15 at 20:16
  • @FrederikSpang Are you asking me to compare my local upgrade.php with a fresh install version? It is identical, I just checked. – Christine Cooper May 5 '15 at 20:20
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    I just had this problem, so I started searching for it. When I found this comment section, I went back to the site (about 5 minutes after the 1st time the problem presented itself) and just a refresh did the trick. The bug resolved itself. We need more bugs like this. – Marco Aurélio Deleu May 25 '16 at 15:39

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