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I know cross-posting (writing the same question on more than one SE site) is discouraged and should not be done. I also see the reason for this and agree, but sometimes it is indeed not clear where a question should belong best or it would be useful on several sites, as every site usually has its special kind of experts and for some issues more than one kind would be good.

So what I would like to propose and discuss its advantages and disadvantages with you is that SE could implement a "site-sharing" feature for questions. You write the question on one site, but you have the option (starting with a reputation score of e.g. 200 or 500) to tick some checkboxes, so that it will also appear on the main/question sites of other SE sites. It should not create a clone question but instead link to the original post or create a reference that looks like it was created on the site you visit it, but is synchronized with the main post. Important is, that all shared questions are always at the same state on all sites.

You think this can be implemented by the SE team? What problems or further improvements do you see? Please express your opinion not only (but also) with votes, but rather write constructive comments and answers. Thanks!

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This seems like a really interesting idea, and in some respects could be useful, but I see a few problems which (currently, for me) stop it being worthwhile, or even useful.


I'm not sure what benefits there are, as you're only argument seems to be:

A question may have a topic that is covered by multiple sites

This is very rare, and even then a question which could arguably be on 2 sites nearly always has a specific scope which would be more suitable for one site or another. e.g. One site has more traffic/activity for your tag(s) than the other.

or contains parts that would belong to different sites.

This is a null argument, as then it's simply 2 questions on 2 different sites.

These arguments do not give much hope for your idea as sites have tight niches and questions are nearly always suitable for 1 site only.

Misuse

People will (or at least could) use this incorrectly:

  1. By mistake, as it's not clear which sites have an acceptable overlap
  2. On purpose, as they don't care about the sites and just want their answer
  3. Because we said they could and it is a juicy feature to gain a wider audience

It's hard to have stats or figures to identify how much of a problem the above will be. However based on experience I strongly suspect that when you (essentially) state something like:

Use this tickbox to have your question on X and Y site also

Then people will use it - whether it's appropriate or not.
And that would mean "clean up" and moderation (somehow), and given the fact the usage of this would be rare, the problems caused even by needing to clean up grossly outweigh the occasional and weak benefit gained.


Other problems

Not very useful:
All sites are pretty tight in what is on-topic. There is some overlap in some sites, but not enough to be an actual problem and not enough to warrant your request.

A question needs to be functional on that site:
If there is no actual question on the site with the shared link, then what is the point if people on siteX (shared link) cannot answer on that site and have to go to another site altogether to answer/comment/vote/flag/etc?

Moderating problems:
While we don't have to figure out the technical aspects to feature requests, "off-topic shared links" is something which would be a major issue worth mentioning:

It should not create a clone question but instead link to the original post

So on the site where the shared link is, do people have to go to another site to flag it being off topic on the site they were on?
This could be resolved, but then you introduce more functionality and technical aspects, and again for so little gain.

Which sites?:
It's impossible to identify which other sites a question could be suitable for, so we'd have to allow the ability to push to all other sites.

This is bad because people don't know what other sites they should push to, especially as it will be rare when they can do this correctly. This is why the sites limit migration to very few scenarios.

Do we allow them to post on all sites at once? Or limit them to "X other sites"? The latter is not ideal because we do not know what their question is so we could be allowing them to post to too many other sites, or not enough.

Spam:
Imagine how easy we'd make it for nuisance and spammy users to post their crap to various sites in one go. Sure this can happen with other means, but when the proposed feature will be very rarely useful, potential problems can easily outweigh the benefits.

  • Of course this feature would need a reasonable reputation minimum like e.g. 500 which would prevent spam and reduce wrong usage. – Byte Commander Aug 31 '15 at 15:06
  • You think users with 500 rep do not make mistakes? Rep does not equal common sense, or site knowledge, or a care for others, or even knowing which sites their question would be ok being "shared" on. Even users with well over 1k rep can be lazy or not care about the sites and so would incorrectly push to other sites just to get more answers. Rep does not solve the problems – James Aug 31 '15 at 15:08
  • Additionally, I'm not against your idea in principle, I just think the basic idea doesn't work. If you can think of a way to avoid issues (mostly people using it incorrectly) then I might be behind it :) – James Aug 31 '15 at 15:09
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    @ByteCommander You're going to demand 500 rep on all sites that the post is simulataneously displayed on? – Robert Longson Aug 31 '15 at 15:57
  • @RobertLongson I don't demand, I propose to demand... But that's a good question. Probably the best thing would be to use network-wide reputation instead (all points of sites with >200 rep summed up) and require at least 1k or 2k of that. Or don't make it as tick boxes that show up while writing the question but rather implement it as moderator/review flag? – Byte Commander Aug 31 '15 at 17:47
  • I think that this is a great idea, for instance I keep on needing to ask a security question that involves law stuff as well, so being able to ask it on Law and Information Security would be great! Well, not ask, but have it on one site, and then a link on the other. And you could even only have this ability given to mods so that users would have to flag stuff up, like is done for migration, this is just a different sort of migration. I think it's worth another look at. – user280862 Sep 4 '15 at 17:10

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