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Note on Revisions: This appears to be a bit more widespread than I thought. I had originally asked about the . Then added the . Then I saw ...


Discussion Question: Is it useful to preserve tags on Stack Overflow with the name of another Stack Exchange site?


Related Feature Request: Short of migrating / closing a bajillion questions could tags which are directly related to a newly spawned Stack Exchange site show up with a small lock icon next to their name -- or just a moderator-only tag or something -- and then update the tag excerpt to note the new site?


Background: It appears that questions are still coming in for several tags where a site exists with that exact name. I realize that the standard practice is to not migrate old questions. However, almost all of these tags have new questions. See the 'sort by newest' links below. For example:

It's my opinion that the ability for users to create questions with these tags is just creating more work for the moderators, question-flaggers, etc to eventually migrate these recent questions when it could be fairly straightforward to make these moderator-only (I realize that none of the main sites currently have moderator-only tags).


One last note:

I'd prefer not to bring tag synonym / merging questions into the fray here. For example, the , , , etc. tags could be of questionable use on Stack Overflow, but I'd prefer to stick only to tags which, by name, denote another Stack Exchange site.

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Locking tends to mean preventing further user(s) input via technical functionality. There are already a lot of ways, preferred by the establishment, to accomplish that. –  Evan Carroll Aug 14 '11 at 7:39
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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Just because there's a tag on Stack Overflow and a Stack Exchange site by the same name doesn't mean they're related! You need to consider each tag on a case-by-case basis.

  • vs. Programming Puzzles & Code Golf: Code golf questions, and more generally programming puzzles, have been debated on Stack Overflow in the past, and now have a site dedicated to them. However, as long as PPCG is in beta, it's too early to do anything drastic like institute a migration policy. Note that PPCG has its own rules, and many questions posted at SO in this tag do not follow these rules, so often the asker would need to re-ask the question anyway.
  • vs. Code Review: Same situation as code golf: beta site, specific rules.
  • , (and more!) vs. Tex: Stack Overflow has traditionally accepted questions on (La)TeX formatting, but this is now deprecated with the existence of a dedicated site. However, as far as I know, LaTeX formatting hasn't officially been declared off-topic on Stack Overflow. Some (La)TeX questions about writing macros (e.g. for parsing) or about formatting code are unambiguously on-topic on Stack Overflow anyway.
  • vs. Ask Ubuntu: Although programming on Ubuntu is on-topic on AU, AU is primarily a user community. Programming questions are better off on SO, and in any case are unambiguously on-topic on SO.
  • vs. CrossValidated: Programming questions that are related to statistics belong on Stack Overflow. Statistics questions that aren't programming belong on CV. There is a small overlap; from the CV FAQ:

    If your question is about programming, ask on Stack Overflow. If the language is statistically oriented (such as R or Stata), then decide based on the nature of your question: if it needs statistical expertise to understand or answer, ask it here; if it's about an algorithm or details of the language, ask elsewhere.

  • vs. Gaming: Gaming is for game players, nothing to do with programming. The isn't use much and should probably be a synonym of (see below).
  • vs. Game Development: Here there is some overlap. Nonetheless there is room for questions on SO as well. From the GD FAQ: A note on programming-related questions: general programming questions more likely belong on StackOverflow instead of here. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself "Would a professional game developer give me a better/different/more specific answer to this question than other programmers?". If yes, then feel free to ask it here. For more discussion on that topic, see this question on our meta site.
  • , vs. Unix & Linux: Programming questions are off-topic on U&L. Unix programming questions belong on SO, like all other programming questions.
  • vs. Homebrew: Er what? Homebrew (the site) is about brewing at home. As in, making alcoholic beverages in your bathtub. The tag on SO, which could use some disambiguation, is mainly about the OSX package manager, with a bit of game distribution use on the side.
  • vs. Quantitative Finance: QF is for quantitative finance professionals. Again, not related to programming.

You missed more site names, but there would be no value in listing them all. Just because the same word is both a site name and a tag doesn't mean the meaning of the tag has anything to do with the topic on the site.

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Thank you for putting so much time into your answer. I guess I missed the programming vs not-programming distinction as a key point. (btw, As I completely missed the semantic difference of homebrew I had to edit that out of the question -- too egregious an error!) –  M. Tibbits Aug 14 '11 at 13:12
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Hmm, I completely agree with this answer for the tags that @M. Tibbits used as examples in the question. But, I upvoted the feature request because I think it could still be useful for certain other tags, like [career-development], which claims a lot of questions that have been "grandfathered-in" meaning that the tag can't be completely burninated, but also where it's very unlikely that new questions with that tag will be on topic. (TLDR: You chose bad examples for the question; still a good idea.) –  Cody Gray Aug 14 '11 at 13:56
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I don't think it's necessarily worth migrating old questions, but new ones are still being asked (newest at the time of this writing is from yesterday). I think those should definitely be migrated.

The question is - where should they be migrated to? I'm not sure what the line is between Code Review and Code Golf, but I think at least some of the questions (such as this one) tagged should actually land on Code Review instead.

That said, there's no easy way for the community to do these migrations since there are no direct migration paths to either Code Golf or Code Review. The only thing we can do is flag the post and wait for a moderator to do the migration (assuming the question does fit the target site's profile).

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Anna, I greatly increased the scope of the question as I looked at more tags. Thanks for noting [code-review] and sending me down this path! You may want to update your response. –  M. Tibbits Aug 14 '11 at 6:08
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Taking as example , which is for questions about Drupal for which there is a dedicated SE site, I would say that not allowing to use on Stack Overflow doesn't make sense, as Drupal questions are on-topic on both the sites.

Generally speaking, I don't think that using a tag that you would associate to an existing SE site means to ask a question that is off-topic on Stack Overflow. It's not clear how you would associate a tag to an SE site, and to which SE site you would associate it. Supposing that you associate a tag to an SE site that is using the same tag, then the tags could have different meanings. For example, the "views" tag is used on Stack Overflow, but it is used also on Drupal Answers, where it means "questions about the Views module"; they have different meanings, and saying that the "views" tag should not be used on Stack Overflow would be quite wrong. You could argue that the equivalent tag on Stack Overflow is ; at that I could just say what I have already said: Drupal questions about the Views module are on-topic on both Stack Overflow and Drupal Answers.

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Do not forbid these tags - this will only give the result that the corresponding posts will be wrongly-tagged, and make it harder to find such posts for migration.

Instead, display some suggestion in the "ask question" page, like this:

Questions about TeX, LaTeX and related topics, while maybe on-topic here, tend to get better and faster answers at TeX Stack Exchange. Consider asking there instead.

Provide a link/button that takes the whole question as typed to the "ask question" page of the recommended site (so no retyping necessary).

This could also be triggered by some heuristics based on the words used in question title and text.

But make it not impossible to post here - there will always be limit cases where a post is on-topic here (or even better here than at our sibling site), which the heuristics can't catch.

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