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I came across a question on Ask Ubuntu. It's a fine question for AU, it's on topic, clear, well written and the OP has been answering all requests for information. Everything is just as it should be. However, the OP has not received an answer that solves their issue despite the question having been asked on the 7th of September, more than 60 days ago.

I want to suggest to the OP that they should try asking on Unix & Linux instead. The question is very much on topic there as well and, given the tastes of the U&L community, is actually far more likely to attract interest and answers.

However, since we can no longer migrate questions that are more than 60 days old and since we have decided that cross-posting is against the rules, I don't know what to suggest to the OP. The options I can see are:

  • Delete the original question, post again on U&L. This has the obvious drawback of also deleting the perfectly good and useful answers that the question has already received. While none of them is the answer that will solve the OP's problem, they may very well help the next user to come along and deleting them would remove good content.

  • Tell them to post again on U&L without deleting the original. This would be cross-posting which is against the rules.

  • Tell them to reformulate the question in such a way as to not be a complete duplicate. This seems to be asking a bit too much. The OP has already done a good job of writing the question out, explaining the issue and providing examples of what they've tried. Asking them to reformulate just to get around our rules seems a bit much. How much work can we reasonably expect from our users? Just how many hoops should they go through to ask a question?

I was thinking of posting the question myself. This is one of the less rational sides of our stance on cross-posting. Were I and not the OP to ask the exact same question on U&L, it would not be considered cross-posting. However, I don't know the details of what the OP wants to do and, in any case, it's not my question but the OP's.

The obvious solution is to allow mods to migrate questions irrespective of how old they are (I honestly have no idea why this is not the case already). Alternatively, we could relax our position on cross-posting, perhaps allowing questions that are on topic on multiple sites (e.g. U&L, AU and SU) to be posted on all of them and have some kind of mechanism to share the answers.

Under the current system, what else can the OP do? Are there any other options?

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    Migration is generally not done if the question is on-topic where asked. If the question stays open for 60 days on the original site, then more often than not, it is probably on-topic where asked, so it is a moot point. – psubsee2003 Nov 22 '14 at 13:26
  • @psubsee2003 it is actually quite common to migrate a question from one site where it is on topic to another where it is also on topic if it has not been answered satisfactorily after a while. In this particular case, of the three sites where it is most on topic (Ask Ubuntu,Super User, and Unix & Linux) the best fit is actually U&L (I am a >10k rep user on all three and a mod on the latter). The problem hasn't been solved after a few months and we can't get new eyeballs on it because it can't be migrated. This is a problem. If migrating is not the solution, what is? What do you suggest? – terdon Nov 22 '14 at 13:34
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I think you are overstating the problem and taking the cross-posting guideline much to serious, actually more seriously than the SE guidelines on migration since migrating questions with answers and migrating on-topic questions are both considered arguments against migration.

History of the 60-day rule

The 60-day limit was implemented because migration can be a problem for the target community. Some of the arguments are specific to Stack Overflow, especially being distrputive due to high scores, both Is "Too old to migrate" a good reason NOT to migrate? and Disable migration for questions older than 60 days cover the history and the discussion, which you are probably well aware, but is included for reference sake.

What is a good migration candidate

Given that a question that is a good candidate for migration would be considered off-topic on the current site, a questions that has not been closed for 60-days and/or has upvoted answers is more likely than not to be on-topic where asked. If you migrate it, you are depriving that community of that question and those answers.

So is cross posting the solution?

Cross-posting is not a solution, but I disagree that this is cross-posting. My personal interpretation of the prohibition on "cross-posting" does not apply in cases you described.

I see "cross-posting" as someone posting a copy & paste duplicates on multiple sites at nearly the same time. Someone who asked a question and did not get a satisfactory answer on one site, that asks a new question on another site with the same general question is just fine.

Now in general, there is no such this as closing a question because it is a cross-site duplicate (unless it is off-topic or a duplicate where asked), so even if it was truly "cross posted", there is really no significant problem for the user. Although this might not be universally applicable since you mention that U&L has a custom cross-site duplicate close reason (which I would personally object to because why should you care whether a good, on-topic question was asked elsewhere or not, but that community probably has its reasons).

TL;DR;

So effectively, migration older than 60 days is not necessary because if the user finds he can get better answers from a different community should be able to ask the question on another site, after giving the initial community sufficient opportunity to answer (and 60-days should be more than enough time).

And while he is technically not involved in the -day-to-day running of SE anymore, it seems Jeff agrees with this idea.

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  • You make valid points here, what troubles me is expecting the OP to put in the extra effort to rewrite a question just to avoid it being closed. This is what I suggested he do by the way, but it seems suboptimal. My question is colored by the fact that the U&L community seems to be particularly against cross-posting, we're the only site I know that has a custom "closed because cross-posted" reason. – terdon Nov 22 '14 at 14:15
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    @terdon I can't obviously speak for specifics for the U&L community but I still wouldn't consider that to be cross posting since it wasn't someone peppering every site with the same question as the same time. Frankly the close reason doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If the question is good, why would the community reject it simply because it was asked elsewhere? – psubsee2003 Nov 22 '14 at 14:18
  • Oh, I agree, I've had a meta post about that close reason on the backburner for a while. I don't see how it's helpful. Still, my basic problem is with asking the OP to post the same question but rephrased. It feels like asking a well behaved user to go through too many hoops. Maybe you're right and I should just try and change U&L's strictness instead. I'll wait a while and see if any other opinions are posted. – terdon Nov 22 '14 at 14:22
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I've come across this quite often, where posts on site X may garner more (appropriate) attention on site Y. Within the 60-day migration limit, I would encourage users to suggest migration through flagging, and perhaps mentioning this request to mods in chat - it allows for a better understanding behind the moderation request.

One should also understand that the on-/off-topic status of posts on sites can sometimes be gray. This naturally stems from the growth of the SE Network, as more-and-more specialized sites grow into maturity. To that end (and where I contribute most on SE), (La)TeX-related questions were once on-topic on Stack Overflow, but since then a TeX - LaTeX-specific site has emerged. There are also (La)TeX questions on SuperUser, which some mods find to be on-topic.

Beyond the 60-day limit I would suggest re-posting on a new site with the necessary reasoning behind re-post. I'm not using the word cross-posting here as the re-post is not a mere duplicate of the former. Explanations as to the motivation behind the re-post should clarify its existence.

With this in mind, my suggestion would be to suggest to the OP that they should repost the question in a revised format on the (new) U&L with a reference to the older (unanswered) question on AU. This should do no harm to either community.

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