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I think there's an unintended motivation for users to post questions to higher-traffic Stack Exchange sites rather than their more specific or appropriate lower-traffic ones. I think I have a solution.

What motivated this suggestion for me was that I am confident that if users were to post Android design questions to Graphic Design beta and/or User Experience, that they would likely not be noticed by the appropriate audience compared to the vast army of Android experts here on Stack Overflow.

There are plenty of Android questions on SO that really should be on one or both of the aforementioned sites. Presently there is little motivation for users to start questions like this on the appropriate site.

Is there something we could do to cross-pollinate related sites? For instance, what if we let certain tags span certain sites? Obviously the selection would be controlled by high-reputation users.

There could also be a feature to show (or explicitly hide) certain questions from other sites regardless of the tags. This could be controlled by lower-reputation users than the global tag since it wouldn't have much statistical impact. For instance, the android-layout tag could by default span sites, but OPs and other users could eliminate from the Graphic Design site questions that are of a purely technical nature.

Users interested in Android tagged questions would see related questions on design and UE sites--whether they are searching, posting, or viewing a question through the related items. This would help eliminate cross-site duplicates, and encourage people to post on the correct site in the first place.

For related question lists and search results, there could even be a specific cross-site icon next to an off-site question to show that it's from UX, for example.

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1  
@prusswan why do you say that? –  glenviewjeff Sep 21 '12 at 21:15
    
possible duplicate of Provide a standard way to link tags on disparate sites –  impinball Jun 19 at 22:53
    
Yes @impinball, but it should be flagged on the other, newer question. –  glenviewjeff Jun 19 at 22:57
    
My bad...I realized this right after I looked at the times. I flagged the other shortly thereafter this one. –  impinball Jun 19 at 22:59
    
For this one specifically, there is a potential problem with unifying the tags themselves: several sites on the network use similar or identical tags for entirely different purposes. Example: GraphicDesign.SE uses vector in a completely different sense than SO, which uses vector-graphics for that purpose. There's the pitfall for unifying the tags themselves. –  impinball Jun 23 at 2:47

4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted
+50

This sounds like a more broad approach to soft migrations, a half way measure to just merging sites that have scope overlap.

The concept of merging is viable but the result would be a very different vision with a different feel, different strengths and weaknesses etc.

Unfortunately I think this half way measure brings about as many problems as a full merge without some off the possible benefits.

Personally I thinks it's better to keep independent communities and maybe promote people signing up for tag notifications to get them involved in places they have expertise.

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Could you elaborate on any problems you think it would bring? –  glenviewjeff Sep 28 '12 at 13:53

While I wouldn't want to see questions from other sites in my question list, I would like some sort of "related sites" or "sites you might like" feature. This could also be an extension of the StackExchange dropdown in the top left. And hey, we only have 4 menu links in there - isn't 5 the magic number?

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I suspect that the reason you haven't gotten much feedback is that you're suggesting a very big change with only a lightly sketched out specification and a comprehensive response would necessarily have to be quite long. The votes to this point suggest that there isn't yet widespread support for the change you're suggesting, so it's hard to muster enthusiasm for a long answer saying, in essence, "this isn't a good idea."

To take but one problem, as stated your proposal seems to worsen the problem it's seeking to solve. If the android_layout tag spans both Graphic Design and SO, then why shouldn't I just post my layout question on SO? Everyone on both GD and SO see it, and I never have to leave the comfort of the main site.

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If this feature were implemented, you shouldn't post design questions SO for the same reason you shouldn't today--that it will be downvoted and/or closed for being posted on the wrong site. I suppose it could add an new incentive for people who are too lazy to switch sites--that they know it will be seen on the UX or GD site. The reality of the situation is that the site delineations are fuzzy, and I think we should support that to increase traffic rather than compartmentalizing the information. –  glenviewjeff Sep 28 '12 at 14:03

Copied my original post from a duplicate question.


I thought I would go a little proactive and propose a potential more front-end format for linking and referencing tags to questions on other Stack Exchange sites. I would have included some links, but I am stuck at 1 rep here on Meta... :(


  1. Referencing tags in posts

    1. Tag on the same site as the post:

      [tag:tag-name]
      
    2. Tag on a different site as the post:

      [tag:site-name/tag-name]
      
  2. Linking tags to questions:

    1. Tag on same site as the question:

      tag-name
      
    2. Tag on different site as question:

      site-name/tag-name
      

Example usage (using standard hyperlinks to each tag):

  1. Referencing the tag "javascript" on SO to a post on SO:

    [tag:javascript]
    
  2. Referencing the tag "unity" on Ask Ubuntu on a post on Programmers.SE:

    [tag:askubuntu/unity]
    
  3. Linking the tag "linear-algebra" on Mathematics.SE to a question on CSTheory.SE:

    math.se/linear-algebra
    
  4. Linking the tag "bash" on Stack Overflow to a question on Stack Overflow:

    bash
    
  5. Linking the tag "batch" on Server Fault to a question on Super User:

    sf/batch
    

I would suggest using the domain name (excluding www., .com, etc.) to identify each site, but still using the commonly accepted abbreviations. Also, if it is a meta-specific tag, prepend meta. to the tag name. Examples for identifying sites:

so             - Stack Overflow (www.stackoverflow.com)
su             - Super User (www.superuser.com)
sf             - Server Fault (www.serverfault.com)
meta.so        - Meta Stack Overflow (meta.stackoverflow.com)
math.se        - Mathematics (math.stackexchange.com)
programmers.se - Programmers.SE (programmers.stackexchange.com)
askubuntu      - Ask Ubuntu (www.askubuntu.con)
area51.se      - Area 51 (area51.stackexchange.com)
meta.se        - Meta Stack Exchange (meta.stackexchange.com)

I feel that the naming pattern should be clear enough with these examples

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+1 for the cross site linking idea, but I was thinking that the tags themselves could be unified across sites, not references to other sites' tags. –  glenviewjeff Jun 22 at 12:41
    
@glenviewjeff Problem with that is several sites use similar tags differently. Example: GraphicDesign.SE uses vector in a completely different sense than SO, which uses vector-graphics for that purpose. There's the pitfall for unifying the tags themselves. –  impinball Jun 23 at 2:45

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