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The ability to link cross site duplicates

With the growth of the Stack Exchange 2.0 site, there are multiple users that are actively participating in multiple sites. With this in mind, I would like to suggest an option for "Vote to Close" to be able to facilitate a "Vote to Close as a Duplicate of ANOTHER SE site". For example:

Found on Super User is this question:

I am looking for an online task / to do list.

Which is off-topic, and would be better suited on Web Apps. However, there is already an answer to that question there:

Online To Do list apps?

Note: This question was actually closed as off-topic, however I'm just using this as a readily available example.

Here's another example:

Fire protection for networks on SU:

But on SF:

What's the best fire suppression for a server room?

What would be nice and in the end less work for mods and other SE sites is the ability to Vote to Close as a Duplicate of another site.

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marked as duplicate by random May 9 '12 at 20:41

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.

    
I smell a [status-declined] coming up... –  Ivo Flipse Feb 10 '11 at 18:12
    
Probably if you already know where the existing question lives, it's easy enough to just close as OT and post a link. The only reason to have built-in support for this would be to enable merging of answers... but that's a moderator-only thing anyway. –  Shog9 Feb 10 '11 at 18:17
    
@Shog9 Then perhaps an option to automatically paste the link of the dupe question when it's migrated so that mods can decide whether to merge. Similar to what's already done within each of the SE sites. –  KronoS Feb 10 '11 at 18:18
    
Your title is a bit misleading. There's no such thing as a post on one site being a duplicate of a post on another site. That's not how duplicates work. Although it is inadvisable, someone can post a question to as many sites as he wants. The question then lives or dies on each site based on its relative merit to the charter of each individual site. In other words, we don't, as a matter of general practice, look at other sites to find duplicates to close a question with. –  Robert Harvey Feb 10 '11 at 18:34
    
@RobertHarvey What do you mean? (I'm willing to change or feel free to change the title to better represent the issue) When I say duplicate I mean a question on one site that is off-topic and belongs on another site. However on the other site there's already a question similar in all/most ways and has the answer. –  KronoS Feb 10 '11 at 18:38
    
@RobertHarvey Agreed that the practice shouldn't be to search other sites for duplicates of this specific one... especially if it's on-topic for that site. I'm talking about off-topic duplicate questions. –  KronoS Feb 10 '11 at 18:39
    
I'm saying that you can't call the new feature "Close as duplicate on another site." That implies a relationship that doesn't exist. –  Robert Harvey Feb 10 '11 at 18:41
    
@RobertHarvey changed title to better reflect issue. Sorry for confusion. –  KronoS Feb 10 '11 at 18:46
2  
The question may be on topic but answered on another SE site, too. An example of this is "How to change the font size in emacs?", which was on topic in Ask Ubuntu, but had a good answer on Stack Overflow. I feel the suggestion makes sense for this case. –  Sebastian Paaske Tørholm Feb 10 '11 at 18:56
    
There's nothing stopping you from editing in the standard "possible duplicate" link and formatted header by hand. Does closing as duplicate do anything else behind the scenes? –  yhw42 Feb 10 '11 at 20:46
    
@yhw42 not that I know of, but it would be nice to have this done automatically and not by hand. –  KronoS Feb 10 '11 at 20:52
    
I just ran into this same situation with this question. Given that marking as off-topic with a specific site helps get the question moved to the site, I think that this suggestion makes perfect sense. It would migrate the question to the other site, but migrate it in a 'closed-as-duplicate' status, saving the community on the other site the hassle of identifying it as a dup and closing it once it arrives. –  Phrogz Apr 8 '11 at 17:42

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I don't think this is entirely necessary. Currently, we have two ways to handle the scenario of a migration-worthy question that is duplicated.

  1. Migrate to the destination site anyway for it to be properly closed there as a duplicate. To hasten the close on the target site, don't forget to link the question in comments. This is when it would be helpful to have the second copy there (for search range increasing, as an example). If it doesn't have any reason to be properly migrated, though...

  2. Close as off-topic, and leave a comment directing to the other question. The retention of duplicates is to improve search results, and keeping duplicates from other sites will retain the wrong search results for the original site. The fact that it happens to be duplicated is superceded by the fact that it is off-topic for the current site.

Cross-site duplication doesn't only apply to off-topic, though, as it can apply to on-topic questions. If you close something for being a duplicate on another site, it could be argued against as not being a duplicate without addressing the fact that it may be off-topic. So, for the site which the question is originating from, the fact that it is duplicated is not really helpful as far as keeping it closed on that site.

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1  
Won't this however create clutter and other unnecessary "noise" on the site? I though the point of the SE sites was to keep things clear and clean cut? –  KronoS Feb 10 '11 at 18:34
    
@KronoS I'm not sure how "This is off-topic" would be any different in terms of noise and clutter on the original site compared to "This is duplicated on a different site". –  Grace Note Feb 10 '11 at 18:42
    
True... point taken. –  KronoS Feb 10 '11 at 18:44
    
now that "closing as off-topic" would automatically give a -1 penalty, maybe option (2) should be discouraged? –  Willie Wong Apr 29 '11 at 17:04

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