Been a few blogs on Why not one site, and I get the point. However, would a staging SE help solve some of these issues like community overlap.

I understand respecting the community, but how can someone not yet a part of a community know to do so.

Some of the point of SO is that you often don't know what to ask exactly, and we help clear that up.

So, I wonder, rather than "playing hot potato" would it be useful to have a site that's simply for temporarily holding questions and such.

  1. It would be the alternative to migrating to another site where you dump all responsibility on that site. This area, all communities are responsible for.
  2. It would be a good place to ask a question if you don't know where to ask. The blog I linked talks about phrasing to a specific audience. For someone that doesn't know, the audience is better at selecting which questions are directed at them.
  3. As SE grows, the amount of communities will mean more overlap. Right now it may be reasonable to expect people to be able to predict the best community, but will it always be that way?

Some restrictions:

  1. It would be accessible by all communities.
  2. The question could be edited, but not answered.
  3. The question could be exposed to more easily tracked/understood/etc. automated janitorial work.

Just a helpful thought.

  • 5
    MSO already allows "where should I ask this" posts (IIRC) Apr 24, 2012 at 14:11
  • One line summaries won't be good enough. Eventually the community overlap will be to the point where you can't foresee the best place to post. But even if I don't get a benefit for not knowing where to post, it still will be a better place to push off-topic questions than onto a community you aren't a part of. Apr 24, 2012 at 14:14
  • That proposal wasn't just one-line summaries. It was a much more broad proposal, with possible solutions: a chat room/separate Q&A/categorization/etc. Also see my post on the difficulty to guage on-topicness --as sites get more and more overlap, it will be harder unless regular community members of _every_site are always watching the staging SE. Apr 24, 2012 at 14:16
  • MSO "where should I ask this" assumes that a person knows enough about the site. One might guess that most of the incorrectly asked questions come from people not so involved. Apr 24, 2012 at 14:20
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    I think this would result in many questions being orphaned. I would not wamt to spend my time digging through so many questions I am not interested in. I already filter my SO tags because of that. Apr 24, 2012 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


There's a significant problem with that idea, it would split new users into four groups:

  1. Those who either know to which site to post or those who dig through the FAQ figuring it out.
  2. Those who don't care and just post into the staging area.
  3. Those who don't care and still post on the wrong site.
  4. Those which do not know where to post, so they post in the staging area.

So the staging area becomes a circus of "I don't care" people with a little bit of "Help me? Pretty please?" in between...basically it is a good idea...to keep stuff away from the system. We could use it as a big garbage can, if we never look at it, those users most likely go away. Sure, there'd be some collateral damage, but we already have that anyway.

To avoid that, we'd need to force the staging area, and I only see two possibilities for that:

  1. Force every question through the staging area.
  2. Force every question of new users (let's assume Global Rep < 100) through the staging area.

To the first possibility...did you ever see a train go through a mousehole? It's not pretty... The second possibility is better, but leaves everyone who knows what they're doing without the possibility to do it right.

Additionally, a community effort is needed to maintain that area...at the moment we're paid in unicorn dustreputation and badges, what would we receive for sending questions to the correct sites? And why should we care given that we're mainly here to answer questions and solve problems?

What's also to consider is, that not every migration done by the community is correct (I'm sure Chris and Anna from Programmers can tell a few stories about that), and needs to be undone...how often would that occur if the main driving force of migrations would be the community for every single question?

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    +1 for bringing attention to the plight of poor Programmers.SE.. which isn't meant to be SO's dumping ground! Apr 24, 2012 at 15:08

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