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I just asked Why are off-topic migration options so limited? Should more specific SE tech sites be more visible?, and it made me wonder if we should have an ability to search across multiple, related Stack Exchange sites.

The very presence of a migration feature indicates that sites will have closely related, and sometimes, overlapping content. For a real example, compare the results of the queries for "IIS Basic Authentication" on Server Fault and on Stack Overflow.

Users might not know they need to search across multiple sites to find what they are looking for, and honestly, they shouldn't really have to. I think a consequence is that users will end up conducting their searches on Google or Bing instead of on Stack Overflow. After all, if you know a little bit about Googling, it's pretty easy to query multiple StackExchange sites exclusively from there. (see an example for googling "IIS Basic Authentication" exclusively on both StackOverflow and ServerFault).

Is there a reason that we don't have stronger integration between related Stack Exchange sites with respect to search?

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related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/62719/… –  Bart Oct 1 '12 at 16:34
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"I think a consequence is that users will end up conducting their searches on Google or Bing instead of on StackOverflow." That's what they're supposed to do. –  Bill the Lizard Oct 1 '12 at 16:34
    
I agree with Bill the Lizard. Plus, maybe it should come down to having the question moved to the appropriate site. –  Robert Oct 1 '12 at 17:15
    
@BilltheLizard , There's a reason for the search feature. I don't think it should always be necessary to go to a different site and enumerate the list of relevant sites in in: clauses if I want to know what the SE community has asked contributed on a specific topic. –  smartcaveman Oct 1 '12 at 18:02
    
@Robert, It should, but its not always clear which site is appropriate. Look at the IIS authentication example. In some cases, the answer may be ASP.NET-specific and should be on StackOveflow and in some cases, it maybe IIS-specific and should be on ServerFault. Sometimes, even knowing which site it should be posted on would actually answer the question. –  smartcaveman Oct 1 '12 at 18:04
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1 Answer

Overlapping questions on different Stack Exchange sites are not discouraged.
Users are free to ask the question on the site they prefer, as long as the question they are asking is on-topic on the site. If a user asks a question about a Mac Mini on Super User, because s/he normally asks questions about other platforms, s/he s/he is not probably interested on knowing that a similar question has been asked on Ask Different. There is also to consider that similar questions asked on different sites can lead to different answers, and the user who asks a question could be more interested in the answer given from the community around the site where s/he asks the question.

The reason there isn't such integration about searching is that overlapping questions are not discouraged, and users who search for a question on a site are generally not interested in similar questions asked on related sites. If users are interested on questions on different Stack Exchange sites, they create a filter on http://stackexchange.com that aggregates questions from different Stack Exchange sites, using specific tags (or every tag used in that site).

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Is that an official position? –  smartcaveman Oct 3 '12 at 18:18
    
It's what I have observed: If two users ask a similar question on two different sites (where the questions are on-topic), nobody will close one of the questions. Clearly, the question asked from a user must not be a copy-and-paste of the question asked by the other user. If you are asking if I am giving an official position, then no; I am not a Community Coordinator. –  kiamlaluno Oct 3 '12 at 18:26
    
I think you're wrong, but I asked a question about it to be sure: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/149257/… –  smartcaveman Oct 3 '12 at 18:36
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