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There are many cases where a user posts a question on site A that either isn't on-topic or seems to be better suited to, say, Site B. Quite often, there is a comment posted that runs along these lines:

Might this be better for Site B?

This can be helpful - it's brought attention to some sites that might not come into the asker's mind at the time - but it can also be unhelpful, especially if the person posting the comment isn't active on Site B. In that case, things can go horribly wrong.

User 1: Might this be better for Site B?

Asker: Perhaps; I'll try posting it there.

[Generic comment from someone about not cross-posting.]

User 2: No, this isn't a good idea? These kinds of questions aren't good for Site B because [yada yada yada]. (Optional: A recommendation for Site C.)

To be continued. . . in more comments.

This can be extremely unhelpful for the Asker, because now s/he doesn't know where to put the question! There might be a mini-discussion in the comments about the whole thing, but more often then not, when a dispute like this comes up, things can be . . . confusing.

I have seen scenarios where the same question ends up on three separate sites - none of which it is appropriate for! All thanks to some bad site recommendations.

Don't get me wrong - these comments can be helpful. I'm not saying that they should be axed. Quite the opposite. But users need to substantiate their recommendations, rather than simply saying, "This might be good on Site B."

Is there any etiquette involved in recommending a site (i.e. what should go into a helpful comment)? If not, should there be, and what should it be like? Or, as a third option, is this issue really not too important?

  • 2
    for programming related stuff, it is hard to beat a reference to Which computer science / programming Stack Exchange do I post in? – gnat Jun 7 '15 at 20:21
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    If you aren't 100% sure, keep yer yap shut. Most of these comments I see are 100% wrong, and are telling folks to go crap on another SE site. That's not nice to sister sites. – user1228 Jun 8 '15 at 18:43
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There is no etiquette but there are a few rules:

  1. Don't recommend posting on another Stack Exchange site unless you are an active member of that site and know the question will fly there.
  2. If a question is on-topic on another site, it doesn't automagically makes it off-topic here. Some sites overlap; don't go chasing off someone who brought an appropriate question to this site. If you want to mention Site B in that case, say something like you might also try...
  3. If you recommend another site ALWAYS1 add the posting guidance, something like:
    This is maybe better suite on [site] but before you post there check the [help center of site] for what is [on-topic] and [how to ask]. When in doubt check and/or ask on their [meta] first.
  4. If you're sure it is off-topic but want to stay 100% safe:
    This is off-topic here. You could ask a question on [meta] or [meta.se] tagged as [site-recommendation] to see if there is a site within the Stack Exchange Network that does welcome these questions

The example comment thread is really disturbing and not helpful. When you run into those, leave one of the above comments and ask the others to remove their comments. In severe comment noise, flag for a moderator to clean-up, explain that the comments are ill-advised

The reasons you have to be very careful and know what you are doing when recommending other sites is the awful experience if that user gets down voted and sent off again, if members of the target site reject the migration and if crap is being pushed around the network (if it is a crappy question, either edit first or down vote/close vote).

1. I have failed to do this a couple of times and I stand corrected

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    Also, it's bad form to suggest "it would be better on Site B" if it is on-topic on Site A. Some sites overlap; don't go chasing off someone who brought an appropriate question to this site. If you want to mention Site B in that case, say something like "you might also try...". – Monica Cellio Jun 7 '15 at 23:17
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    Thanks @MonicaCellio I added that as bullet 2. – rene Jun 8 '15 at 7:59
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I'd suggest recommending another site is almost always the wrong thing to do. A much better solution is to attract the attention of a mod or high-rep privileged member of the community (through flagging or comment) and suggest they migrate it.

Then they can quickly check with mods/community on the destination site to see if it would be on topic and they would welcome it.

This way it won't be migrated if on topic at the source (except for occasional mistakes etc) or off topic at destination, and won't be cross-posted.

On our biggest sites this may not work, as mods may have huge numbers of flags, but for most sites this seems to be a logical and simple workflow that avoids cross posting.

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I only recommend if I know the site and know 99% it would be accepted and is a definitely a better fit.

Does the current site have proper tag so experts will find the question? If so leave it even if the other site is a better fit.

And I only recommend if is proper question (clear question with supporting material).

I check for a duplicate and then it is a no brainier. If there is duplicate then I flag for migration. If you see similar questions then can verify in scope.

I comment "Site xxx may be a better fit".

On a sites like stats.stackexchange.com versus datascience.stackexchange.com there is so much overlap I would never recommend one versus the other and not my expertise.

You also need to have a feel for the moderators. Many stackoverflow.com questions would be better on softwareengineering.stackexchange.com but I never recommend softwareengineering as they can be brutal (close and down vote). And it will get a good answer on stackoverflow.

On alcohol.stackexchange.com the mods are cool on recommend homebrew.stackexchange.com. But I only do it if it is specifically a brewing question.

There are couple sites were the mods are just plain predatory.

  • I was told don't them tell to go somewhere else. I replied I am not telling them to go somewhere else - I said "might be a better fit". All my comments were deleted. It was a question about coffee and I was recommending coffee.stackexchange.com.
  • On another site a mod characterized my comment as telling them their question was not good enough for site and my comment was deleted.

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