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Hello, I read quite a few forums and well, some of these forums are not all that alive(topics get answered in a day or two usually) and while these questions are perfectly suitable for SO/SU/SF, the questioner does not particularly like it for one reason or another.

Some of these questions, I would really like to repost to SO/SU/SF so that they can get a good timely answer (and then accept the most popular answer if I am not sure on the subject matter).

Is it ethically wrong to ask someone else's question on an SO site?

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Id love more beginner to advanced questions that will result in generally useful answers. So if you have any, throw them on SU – Ivo Flipse Mar 7 '10 at 17:30

7 Answers 7

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I think we'd like to have the SO family be a repository of good questions. I think as long you cite the original question appropriately, it's perfectly acceptable "re-ask" a question on the SO platform. It's probably best to put it into your own words rather than simply copy paste. I'd probably also reserve this for questions of common interest, i.e., general enough that many people will be interested in the answer. If the answer to the question turns out to be "you need a semi-colon at the end of the third line", it's probably not a good candidate.

While I haven't asked a question that I've seen elsewhere I have on a couple of occasions asked a question to which I already knew the answer just so SO would have a ready question/answer for future searches. I've also asked questions that were prompted by observations about other questions.

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If the answer to the question turns out to be "you need a semi-colon at the end of the third line", it's probably not a good candidate.: actually I believe that question would be useful to many many people. Remember that there are many more beginners than experts, and beginners have many more problems. This means that trivial questions are the ones with a lot of interest. (By "people" I mean people googling for the error message (in some languages very cryptic in this case)) – Andreas Bonini Mar 7 '10 at 1:36
@Koper: the problem with that sort of question is that they're usually not terribly easy to find by searching. So regardless of how many people might have similar problems, unless they can find the question and recognize it as equivalent to their own (also difficult for beginners who don't yet understand the concepts behind the syntax...), the question becomes effectively useless. – Shog9 Mar 7 '10 at 3:10
@Shog9: ...not to mention that plenty of beginners don't bother to search in the first place. – xmm0 Mar 7 '10 at 21:29

While I would say this can go both ways there is one major flaw. You can't test out the answers. So this would just create a bunch of unanswerable questions since you would have to wait for the other person to respond on the other site.

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This is true, but a certain question I want to ask now I don't really know much about, but the asker documents it so well that I could know if the question is answered or not.. – Earlz Mar 7 '10 at 1:34

As long as you're genuinely interested in getting an answer to the question, I don't see anything wrong with this.

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One thing to at least keep in mind is the idea of licensing. Some other forum might have something like "All content submitted here is released under the XYZ Awesome Documentation License", and that license might be incompatible with CC-Wiki. Or there might be no mention of licensing at all.

This would likely be a rare problem, but you should be aware that in such a case (especially when it's a more elaborate question) you might not be legally allowed to repost the question on SO.

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I've done it a couple of times:

I don't see anything wrong with it; I should point out though that even if both questions received great answers my friends keep refusing to use the website, for some reason.

EDIT: worth nothing that in both cases I personally knew the asker, and I asked them to pick the best answer.

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When this situation has occurred in the past, I encourage the questioner to re-ask their question on SO (which also has the benefit of bringing a new user to the community).

I would not want to ask the question for them as then I become a proxy agent for the responses -- how would I fully evaluate whether the answers actually addressed their issue or not? I might also feel a bit whorish for doing so -- that question was not mine, so I really ought not to gain any "reputation" (numerical or social) from it either.

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Well, give a man a fire and he'll warm a day... light a man on fire...

Pyro humour aside, generally when someone asks a SO/SU/SF worthy question, i tend to link them here, and suggest they ask it here. In future they'll know where to ask, and can help themselves directly.

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