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It is possible to migrate a question from one Stack Exchange site to another by closing, but if I have a question that I think is on-topic for multiple Stack Exchange sites, is it OK to post it on both (multipost)?

For example, I have a question that's earned me the tumbleweed badge on SO and I'm not sure what the best thing to do with it is. It's about a web server so it might be answerable on Server Fault but it's really more of a programming thing, hence the posting the question on Stack Overflow.

Is there any way to make the question visible on multiple sites (crosspost) and then accept the answer wherever it came from?

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Conversely many users don't wait for their questions to be migrated and duplicate them. This should be detected. – Tobu Sep 11 '11 at 8:25
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Crossposting is not possible on stackexchange, because it is not Usenet. You don't get a "Newsgroups:"-like header where you can mention multiple sites. Usenet tolerates some uses of crossposting (which is why the feature exists) but multiposting (submitting identical articles to different newsgroups) is frowned upon. – Kaz May 27 '13 at 20:59
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Someone recently suggested a "crossover questions" feature in order to allow one question to be included in multiple sites. – Anderson Green Jan 18 '14 at 6:08
    
See also "The Pee-Wee Herman Rule", a blog post by Jeff Atwood from November 2010. – hippietrail Jan 13 '15 at 17:53
    
See also, a community mod controlled, tag feed based, option: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/243299/… – atomh33ls Jan 20 at 15:22
up vote 139 down vote accepted

NO

Ask the question on the site you think is most applicable. If, like in this case, it does not get any answer, ask a moderator to migrate the question, or alternatively, delete it and re-ask it.

Each site is focused on a specific topic area. If you have a question you feel is too ambiguous, either re-think the question carefully, or do as suggested above.

Many questions people have labeled as being applicable cross-site have been proven to be valid on a single site if written properly and thought through. SE is not a wild west for questions; a question needs to be worked on to be worthy, and if worthy, it will target a specific audience.

Bounty

Also, if you don't get a response, you can always set a bounty on your question, which will give it much better exposure. This will also mean you have a better chance at getting a good answer.

Specific Answer

Looking at the question you're referring to specifically, you're asking the wrong question and not providing enough detail. I have commented on your question and would suggest you update your question with more specific detail — it's not very clear what is going wrong, and without specific information, it is hard to try and answer your question.

The only valid answer I can come up with at this point is that it works perfectly for me based on what you described. The question — as is — is a SF question. However, if you provide specific information, it would be valid on SO since it is referring to the configuration of a development tool.

Note: I do not consider any sites valid migration targets until they are out of public beta. There are no guarantees that a current SE site will live past beta.

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I must confess I was kind of aware my question wasn't particularly great but I've been wondering if there is a silver tumbleweed badge? Perhaps the rewards are motivating me to do the wrong thing ;) Anyway, I'll do some work on it. Thanks for the prod. – Colin Newell Sep 10 '10 at 8:57
    
@Colin Well you didn't do too badly, you even got Jeff to set a bounty on the question, which admittedly, I forgot to mention. – BinaryMisfit Sep 10 '10 at 9:05
    
Yes, I must admit that's scary. I'm doing some work on the question to make sure I clear it up. Honestly I expected someone to either say, a) you're full of carp that's supported or b) you need this new key in the new section or c) use WCF because it's no longer supported. I seem to have found precisely the wrong way to ask the question. – Colin Newell Sep 10 '10 at 9:08
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The "each site is focused on a specific topic area" is clearly no longer true. How does this change the answer on cross posting? – bmike Aug 16 '11 at 21:24
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No offense, but this answer is nonsense. "99.99% of questions people have claimed as being cross site has been proven to be valid on a single site if written properly and thought through." Would you care to supply any justification for this? Proven by who? You have a link to a research study? I could make wide-ranging unsupported assertions too, but that doesn't make them true. I think it entirely reasonable to have a question that resides on one site be visible on multiple sites. That way questions of interest benefit from cross-pollination from other related sites. – Faheem Mitha Dec 12 '11 at 22:51
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I found this Q&A searching for an answer. Here's my case in point: I've got a question about SFTP and permissions on Ubuntu. Where do I ask? ServerFault? Unix & Linux? Ask Ubuntu? Any and all of these are perfect places to ask, but because the network has become diluted, it's now become a big question as to WHERE to ask. How about cross-posting, but the Q&A's are linked to the other sites so answers for one appear on others; plus, only one source of rep. Moderators could set what sites are related and therefore permissible. The Q could suggest where to cross-post based on content. – Charles Roper Oct 5 '12 at 8:01
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@CharlesRoper I disagree. Any question can be specifically focusses at a site, and if you can't, the question is too board. I.e. Just because the question involves a developer tool it doesn't means it fits SO. ServerFault is for network admins, so is your question network admin related? Is your question specific to Ubuntu or do you need it to work on any version of Linux? Honestly, it is too much work for too little reward in my humble opinion. I had this question come up often when I was a mod, and every time was able to prove a question fitted on one specific site. – BinaryMisfit Oct 5 '12 at 9:00
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@Diago, Hey no worries, I don't mind you disagreeing, that's cool. The problem is that I just don't know whether my question is a general server or Apache question (i.e. ServerFault), a general Linux question, or specific to Ubunutu. How am I supposed to know? I believe I have researched well enough and been as clear as possible. On reflection, this kind of cross-site anxiety seems only applicable to ServerFault/Linux/AskUbuntu in my (limited) experience. So probably not such a problem really. – Charles Roper Oct 7 '12 at 9:47
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Your statements are very strong. Can you prove them? Saying that each thing belongs to only one category is pure nonsense. You have multiple tags/labels for your posts exactly because there is rarely only one category. Writing properly cannot change the fact that thing properly falls under multiple categories. Offering a bounty does not make your question exposed to the visitors of alternative sites. – Val Jun 9 '13 at 11:17
    
I think I will delete and post again on unix one, my post is not being migrated after I flagged it yesterday, ppl dont seem to have a clue/tips there stackoverflow.com/questions/24904349/…, thx! – Aquarius Power Jul 23 '14 at 21:36
    
If a question has an answer which may or may not be satisfactory, can it be deleted or migrated? – user262241 Oct 30 '14 at 21:38
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I will make yet another complaint about the "99% of questions are valid on a single site". This is impossible, because many SE sites have significant overlap. For example, Linux vs. Superuser, Mathematica vs. StackOverflow, Electronics vs. Physics (for basic questions like Ohm's law). Because of this overlap, there is a large number of questions that will always belong to multiple sites regardless of how well they written or posed. – Superbest Dec 17 '14 at 6:09
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I also disagree. The lines between U&L and AskUbuntu are an already-given example, but other lines between sites are similarily wrong. Not even taking into account activity levels. SO/SE/SF should have a way to show a question on a select multiple sites in these cases, but still treat it as only one question, especially if it was designed with the “unified tool” in mind. – mirabilos May 8 '15 at 13:51
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The "flag post" / "is duplicate" function only supports duplicates on the same site. What is the recommended way to report duplicates on different sites? Also: can't this be automatically detected? When the question is 99% the same? Example: question on superuser / same question on stackoverflow – David Balažic May 11 '15 at 10:42
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Well, physics is just applied math, chemistry is just applied physics, biology is just applied chemistry, and humans are just applied biology, so if you aren't posting on Math.SE for all of your questions, you're doing it wrong. I agree that a well-thought-out question is really only on-topic for one site, and that site is Math. There. Cross-posting solved. – Parthian Shot Aug 4 '15 at 0:13

Allowing cross-posting is a slippery slope.

If you might have slightly better odds of getting an answer by posting it on two sites, well, by gum, why not maximize your odds by posting it on twenty sites!

There are some questions which fall into grey areas between sites, and I think it's OK to ask and delete, then re-ask if you feel you have asked on the wrong site.

But as a general rule, do not cross-post questions, please. Pick a site and go with it.

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+1 Murphy's Law. Just because you gave the same answer I did, in shorter sentences, your going to get all the darn upvotes! :) – BinaryMisfit Sep 10 '10 at 8:47
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While I can imagine the same question to be on-topic on the math site and the physics site, I don't think the same question could then be on-topic also e.g. on the bicycles site, the cooking site and the photography site. So I consider the slippery-slope argument invalid. – celtschk Sep 23 '12 at 14:23
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It's a slippery slope if not managed by the community well, but the same goes for the Q&A's themselves. It's no reason to rule it out. If it's implemented and managed well, cross-posting could make a great feature for the network and increase cross-site collaboration. See my comment above: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/64068/… – Charles Roper Oct 5 '12 at 8:06
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Slippery slope is a manipulation method. It is slippery slope to allow users to specify 5 labels (tags) in their posts. Why not 25? Think about it. Manipulation is what you use here. There is nothing slippery for a thing to belong to 25 categories at once. What you do here is trying to justify your magic numbers not as arbitrary rule but as something deeply grounded and suitable for all cases. No, it is not a best fit for all cases. The more categories you create, the less probable that particular case will belong to only one of them. – Val Jun 9 '13 at 12:02
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@val if we allowed 25 tags, there would be 2 decent tags on a question and 23 noise tags. The net result would be a polluted and useless tag system. Without constraints, people make bad choices. See: George Lucas and Star Wars Episodes 5+. – Jeff Atwood Jun 10 '13 at 17:32
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@JeffAtwood Nevertheless, you slippery slope when allow multiple labels per post. I can agree that you can order categories in terms of their appropriateness and get a decaying curve. If decay is fast, a couple of first categories cover most of the area under the curve. But, if distrubution is almost uniform, as it happens when you do not know where to relate the subject, you'll need to pick much more best candidates to cover the field with good probability. The point is that when you have many categories to choose from, making a good coverage will need including more categories. – Val Jun 10 '13 at 18:51
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-1 because you made a slippery slope argument and you even used the phrase "slippery slope". – Parthian Shot Aug 4 '15 at 0:06

Very occasionally you may want to ask substantially identical questions on two sites, to reach different communities. (For example, if you're looking for a computer application to perform a certain task, and you don't mind whether it's a local application or a web application, you might ask on both Super User and Web Applications).

This is the exception rather than the rule. The question you ask has to be on-topic on both sites.

Again, if it's your question and you want it moved on second thoughts, flag a moderator and request a migration.

If you really think your question belongs on both sites, it probably doesn't.

If you really really think your question belongs on both sites, link the questions to each other. (If it's not your own question on one site, you might just leave a comment.) This way, people won't waste their time duplicating an answer already written on the other site, and people who find the question later can read both sets of answers.

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this can be OK, so long as the question is tailored to each audience on the different sites and is materially different in each case. Just to be 100% clear, copy-pasting a question across sites with no changes is considered abusive behavor. – Jeff Atwood Jan 15 '11 at 3:51
    
User uses Unix community to ask why he should not type passwords into the command line, unix.stackexchange.com/questions/78734/…. I wonder why not in the security and what need to be tailored for the security? It is a purely security question and security aspect of the Unix. It is a specific aspect of the specific system. Why should one tailor anything? What needs to be tailored when you ask about complexity theory in signal processing? Should I ask about z-transform in comp.sci, control theory, dsp or math, which covers them all? – Val Jun 9 '13 at 11:46
    
@Val: The user wishes to know how the information will leak; all of the answers are highly specific to how Unix leaks the information. If the user had asked on security, the answer might have been, "because the information might leak." However, the user already knows that; they wanted to know how it would leak. In this case, security is an inferior place to ask that question; only Unix experts know the answer, but security experts often don't. – Brian Dec 27 '13 at 13:59
    
@Brain You have just convinced us that one label/tag is enough for a question. It is not. I am not convinced. Ok? Even if I provided a wrong example (which I think I was not because command line and strong passwords in user files is not something specific to specific OS, ok?), you should argue the general case. – Val Dec 27 '13 at 14:12
    
I think I managed to make this advice work for me, though the original wasn't my question, and the transition was a little rough for other reasons, to say the least...Thanks for helping to make it possible! Good answers from distinct perspectives on each version. – Nick Stauner Feb 7 '14 at 19:13
    
Note about the example: If you are looking for an application, then the question is probably only on-topic at Software Recommendations. – Nicolas Raoul May 10 at 1:45
    
@NicolasRaoul No, this is not true. Stack Overflow and Super User are allergic to software recommendations, but many other sites aren't. – Gilles May 10 at 11:11

One problem is the wide disparity in attention levels at different sites. Is 39 moves the longest a chess game can go moving only pawns? was posted to Math. I think it is a much better fit for Puzzling, but the activity level at Puzzling is so much lower. Cross-posting would help in cases like this.

The proliferation of sites (particularly betas) makes this disparity a frequently recurrent issue and puts the growing Stack Exchange network somewhat at odds with a strict policy against cross-posting, especially in the long run as topic overlap increases.

Some wiggle room could help release a lot of this tension. Consider supporting related feature requests (see the comments for many more) and encouraging conscientious cross-posting practices (see @Gilles' answer here and Shog9's here) rather than simple discouragement. If done right, it could help build nascent communities and collaboration among them. To connote more positivity to the productive practice with an alternate buzzword, one could think of it as cross-pollination.

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See also Robert Cartaino's answer on "What to do with cross-site duplicates?": In the edge case where the question is appropriate on more than one site, leave it on both sites and let the users of each community benefit from the information. These were edge cases five years ago, but are they still rare now? – Nick Stauner Jul 30 '14 at 20:56
    
No one seemed to mention this very important point of comparisons in site traffic, +1. – bmende Apr 30 at 23:45

This should help those of you who, like me, couldn't understand why cross-posting is discouraged, when one's intentions are good (an interest in getting the expert opinion of two diverse communities regarding a question that is on topic for both).


I've discussed the no-cross-post debates over the months and I never could understand what was wrong with posting an identical question on two sites when it was perfect for both sites as-is. A question that I thought was fair to cross-post was:

  • Valuable to both communities
  • Worded perfectly for both communities without any change or "tailoring" needed
  • with the intent of getting two diverse kinds of answers on the question
  • not just to get an answer faster

This belief was confirmed by answers like this:

In the edge case where the question is appropriate on more than one site, leave it on both sites and let the users of each community benefit from the information.

However

Here's the real underlying problem: The SE Network was not designed for duplicate questions across sites. That's the issue to which there's really only one simple solution: don't post identical questions.

Because the SE Network is designed to work as a unified tool, combining questions from all sites, identical posts are oddballs.

With the way the Stack Exchange network features questions from different sites, if we didn't discourage cross posting (even when the question is very much on topic in both places), we would see duplicate questions featured on the front page, which would look a bit weird.

The whole "It's ok if you tailor your question to fit each site" idea, which is now quoted/referenced in all related meta discussions, originally came from Jeff Atwood himself (scroll up to his answer to see for yourself), and that solves the duplicate issue. Other than that, there's really no issue with duplicate questions, as long as they're good questions totally on topic for both sites.

Some questions can be perfectly on topic for two sites with identical wording, but the network was simply not designed to handle duplicate posts. Change the wording and tailor the title, even if it's already good for both sites - just make it different (This argument assumes that the question is truly good for both sites) and it's ok.


To anyone who says duplicate questions a bad in all cases, that's simply wrong! When questions are cross-posted with the right reasons in mind, in the right situations, there's nothing wrong with them, except the issue that I mentioned (the SE network's unified functionality).

So when you discourage users from cross-posting when the question fits well on two sites, explain this to them. It's not that the "tailoring to each site" is always necessary, it's just that duplicates don't work well in a network where questions from all sites are featured on the same page.

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FINALLY! An answer that makes sense. (Okay, I'm a bit slow to find this.) SE should be thought of as a "team" of distributed sites where a submission to one is really, eventually, a submission to all. As a former DBA, I get it now. Wish this answer got more love. I think it would greatly reduce the amount of cross-posting by folks (like me) that don't understand why it is both unnecessary and disruptive to maintaining a high quality database of information. Thank You @CuriousProgrammer ! – DocSalvager Feb 20 at 5:27
    
What a nonsense. Internet is not designed to handle duplicates. Neverless, you make them because it is designed in a way that one community is isolated from another. When you say that you would see the duplicate questions, you basically mean that all communities see questions from all other communities. Who are you trying to cheat? The cross posting is desirable just because your statement is not true. People have to cross post in order to address the question to another community, which is isolated from first. The problem would be solved if we had only one site with community-specific tags. – Valentin Tihomirov Mar 13 at 13:57
    
@ValentinTihomirov now that was some nonsense. – Viziionary Mar 17 at 3:42

Absolutely. Different sites have different audiences, who will have their own bias and expertise. For example:

What are the arguments against or for putting application logic in the database layer? on DBA.SE gets different answers to What are the arguments against or for putting application logic in the database layer? on Programmers.SE

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The questions should have been more tailored for the audiences as evidenced by the Programmers one being closed. – ChrisF Aug 19 '15 at 15:25
    
@ChrisF I do find it interesting, however, that the question had 45 up votes on Programmers. Obviously lots of folks thought it was a good fit for Programmers. – Luke Taylor Mar 27 at 19:55

Migration is the answer if the question is obviously in the wrong category. However there are many questions that fit in multiple areas.

E.g. I currently have a question running on ME looking for software for math tutoring. It could legitimately go on Software Recommendation, Science education, etc.

Further: If a question gains comments or votes on one, then it shows an interest even if there were no good answers.

I would suggest the following etiquette:

  • Post the question. If there are neither answers, comments or upvotes in a suitable period of time. (Two weeks? One month?) then delete it and re-enter on another SE site.

  • If there is interest shown, then post on another SE site, and edit the original question to link to new post, and mark the question as closed -- moved.

  • If you are in a hurry, and have the points, you can post a bounty. This shortens the waiting period by some factor.

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There is a question which baffles me. For example, suppose that I meet Bob, and ask him: "what is the meaning of life?" Bob gives me his answer. Afterwards, I meet Alice and want to ask her about the meaning of life. Then suddenly, an official shows up, stops me from asking and says to me: "cross-asking is not allowed." Then should I shut up and not ask the same question to different people please? Do you understand my point please?

(A bit of imagination) Before a president makes a decision, he or she must ask the same question to many experts from different fields. If cross-asking is not allowed, how could the president make a wise decision to the country please? Learning and comparing answers from different people is a crucial step to understand subject and consistent with the spirit of research.

By the way, cross-posting is not identical to spam message. Spam may include the act which posts message in a totally irrelevant forum.

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You compare SE to totally not relevant things. – Shadow Wizard Apr 19 at 6:45
    
Why is it not relevant comparison please? Any reason? Is there any fundamental difference between asking question to real people and posting question in cyberspace please? This still baffles me. Thank you very much for your comment! – pig Apr 19 at 8:10
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Common sense. Anyway, using your own metaphor, Bob is a barman, and got no real clue about such questions. Alice on the other hand, happens to learn Philosophy and can give you much better answer. You should ask only Alice to begin with, otherwise you'll just get a bad answer or "Hey, don't ask me, no idea" – Shadow Wizard Apr 19 at 8:17
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@pig: the problem is the assumption that SE sites solicit opinions. The SE model suggests that questions should have a single, canonical answer. – Paul Apr 19 at 18:15
    
@Shadow Wizard: Barman, bartender and bar services are jobs which deserve respect and fair-treat. Their jobs are not easy. Everyday they have to interact with lots of customers from different places and different culture backgrounds. Through the interactions, I am sure that their interpretations of the meaning of life are rich and meaningful. People can attack me or insult me, but I don't know how bartender feels if you generally say that bartender does not know the meaning of life. – pig Apr 23 at 6:51

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