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First, this is about beta sites that might not even exist later, but imagine they will for the sake of this question.

Taking the latest 10 questions on the Unix Stack Exchange, I see 3 questions related to Mac OS X:

Software developer switching from Linux to OS X, what are the gotchas?
How can I (and should I) use my Linux file server as a Time Machine backup server for my Macs?
How can I tell what version of OS X I’m on from the command line?

From my point of view, all 3 could also fit on the Apple Stack Exchange, the 1st one could also be on SO, the 2nd and 3rd could also be on SU.

How we will deal with this type of situation? When should we close a question as "Belongs on [...]"?

I already see identical questions asked on 2 or 3 different sites (by the same or different users). Is there anything planned to link these questions or something like that? I mean something else than the already existing "Linked" feature. Something to include answers from site X in site Y or something like this.

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Tobias Kienzler, Martijn Pieters, hims056, Aziz Shaikh Jul 16 '13 at 10:48

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
think this should be regarded as not a duplicate and explore possibilities of feature-request to address the issue –  vzn Oct 10 at 18:17

5 Answers 5

Closing is done not because a question is "potentially better addressed on another site", but because "the question does not belong on this site". It doesn't make any sense to me for migration to occur if the question does belong on the current site.

If the question belongs on two or more sites, then whichever on-topic site got the question first should probably get priority and keep it. That's where the author is probably more comfortable, or decided was the place to ask.

People won't want to have to navigate back and forth between multiple sites asking questions for the same subject matter if they can avoid it. So it stands to reason that if it is a valid inquiry which they can get their answer on one site, then that site should be able to house the question.

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I agree, there there is a serious problem here that needs to be addressed.

And the best answer I have here is we don't know yet.

For example: we have almost 3000 Ubuntu questions on Super User, almost all of them belong on both the Ubuntu and Linux site. I am also seeing that at least half the questions on the ubuntu site belong on both super user and linux.

The end result of this is that users have no idea where the right place is to get answers and I have started seeing some cases where people are cross posting. Additionally searching for an answer is a PITA.

The situation is not totally dire, the effect of these smaller more targeted communities can be good, for example: Mark Shuttleworth is comfortable answering questions on the Linux site, similarly Miguel is significantly more active on the Linux site then he ever was on Super User.

Some possible ways I see out of this mess:

  1. An über search on the Stack Exchange site that allows you to easily find stuff cross network.

  2. Site consolidation, for example we could theoretically shut down the Ubuntu site and migrate all the Super User Ubuntu questions to the Linux site.

  3. Very hard and unlikely, we could allow a question to live on 2 sites at the same time and accept updates from both places.

  4. We need to do the best to avoid huge overlap between new SE sites and other existing sites and make the hard decisions about shutting down sites or for the greater good. For example: english, cooking and stats are great examples of sites that have tons of potential and no overlap.

  5. For the time being I would simply pick a winning site for my questions and avoid cross posting as its a mess to clean up. I choose the community I feel most comfortable on and post there.

  6. We could build a cross-site linked question feature (that works across SE sites) to help out users who stumble across a question that lives on 2 SE sites.

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I fully agree with you –  radius Aug 19 '10 at 12:18
    
I vote for 1. in connection with that über search working also for the automatic "Related Questions" search when asking a new question. Maybe if the tag field was put before the search the tags might be used as an indication where the question might be asked best. That would possibly imply a central "I have a question, but I don't know where to ask" button, too. –  Tobias Kienzler Aug 19 '10 at 12:26
    
In connection with 6, allow to "vote to clone this question to another site" (kind of the opposite of the vote-to-migrate) might be useful, although this could cause a lot of clutter when overly used –  Tobias Kienzler Aug 19 '10 at 12:26

This is how I deal with it (when I post a question on mwusers.com forum and on Stack Overflow using MediaWiki tag):

  1. Post question in both places.
  2. When acceptable answer appears in one place, copy it to the other so that everyone benefits.
  3. Add links between both posts.

There - everyone's happy, right? Questioner gets info asap and everyone can share info.

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I think this is quite similar to yesterday's questions:

I think the general consensus is to let the community decide. Those people that have the authority / ability to move posts between sites know what they are doing, which is why they require a large level reputation to do it.

The responsibility of where the post rests initially is with the poster and where it finally resides with the mods. If the community still isn't happy, the down-votes will reflect this and the poster may be more careful with future posts.

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  1. Questions would only be closed as off-topic, not as on-topic in both places.

  2. Linking is a good idea, but seems unlikely. People will post wherever they think they'll get the best answer. Though the questions might be the same, different user-bases and user-biases may result in vastly different answers. So it's up to the user to decide where their question would be answered best, and to post it in both places manually if it will provide the benefit. Don't expect an auto-post on multiple sites feature any time soon, because that would up the potential for massively-distributed idiocy.

  3. In honor of your question, I've proposed a feature-request to allow all stackexchange sites to be simultaneously searched from either stackexchange.com or using a "ninja search function" on an individual site.

  4. I don think there should be the ability to copy a post rather than to migrate it, so that it remained in both places. This would obviously be a moderator function only, and it would also require the OP have or get an account on the copied-to site, so it might be complicated. But it's not a bad idea.

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