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Search boxes and similarly dependant items (like the "Questions that may already have your answer" div) should return answers from all sites.

Rationale:

  1. Search box: If a casual user is searching for something, they shouldn't need to know which site to search. At the moment the process is that they go to the most likely site based on site title and search there. Not everybody knows the 90+ sites we have.

  2. Questions that may...: A user could notice that the same question they are asking belongs to another site, or has been answered elsewhere and thus not create an off-topic question on the site.

This specifically refers to the searches on the single sites and it is a different request from this.

share|improve this question
    
the simple answer is just to search the Internet first, which you should have done as a part of your research before asking a question anyway. – Jeff Atwood Dec 8 '12 at 11:48
    
@JeffAtwood: that's assuming you are bold enough to ask a question and either already have an account or are willing to go through the setup process. Many early users are lurkers and wouldn't dare ask a question, and may not know of the existence of the sister site (even many long-time users have no idea how many sister sites there are and what they are all about). – James Dec 23 '15 at 3:32

I sort-of-agree to this one. Even if it would be implemented, you'll need to make sure that the search quality is very high, and also you'll need to give weight to the relationships between sites.

I.e a question from ServerFault is more likely to popup on Stack Overflow than questions from Lego.stackexchange.

Also, the ideal is that off-topic questions are migrated to different sites.

I could 100% agree if you were to offer this on the stackexchange.com search engine, and not on any particular site.

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The need for quality is independent of it, though. Even with the current quality there's still value in not having users guess the site. – Sklivvz Dec 8 '12 at 10:20

I think a fairly simple weighted query of the term frequencies for the query words across all sites should be able to detect queries that are more appropriate for another site. For example, if you're searching for coffee on cooking.stackexchange.com, that term likely occurs far more frequently on coffee.stackexchange.com relative to other terms than on any other site, so a link to coffee.stackexchange.com could be provided at the top of the results list with a suggestion that the search might find better results there.

This would require a list of term frequencies for each site as a whole (at least for fairly unique terms), but that's not a huge amount of data, and the staleness of the term frequencies isn't crucial, so the update frequency wouldn't require a lot of computing resources.

This would let users know that the terms they're searching for are more likely related to another site and would provide users with more personalized notification of the existence of sister sites.

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No, I don't want such a feature.

When I'm searching for cookies on Stack Overflow, I'm not interested to see questions like Are there a better ways to crush biscuits/cookies than a rolling pin? appear in the results. It would be just noise.

If I want to do that, I'll just go to http://stackexchange.com/ and search all sites for cookies.

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