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At first I thought my question might be a duplicate of View questions with the same tag across multiple SE sites, but it's different. In fact it's the reverse.

Most of the time users encounter with the problem where to ask a certain question for example there is the tag remote sensing in GIS, Space Exploration, Earth Science, so someone who wants to ask a remote sensing question may be confused where to ask the question. Since cross-posting is not allowed on Stack Exchange he finally will choose one of these sites and most likely his choice will be GIS because of the more traffic of the site while Space Exploration was a better choice for that specific question.

We have the same problem for the tag OpenGL in Stack Overflow and Game Developement and for many other tags that are available on multiple Stack Exchange sites. The OP wants to show his question to the largest audience available and he often cross-posts and downvotes start advising him not to ask the same question in multiple sites.

I think a good way to solve this issue is to include the question with the same tag in multiple sites. For example, consider someone who is active on GIS.SE and asks a question with the tag remote sensing there then this question might be included (or just viewed) on the two other sites and when someone answers the question in one of these sites, that answer should be included in the other two too.

Maybe you ask then how will we score the questions and answers then? Suppose that the question was asked on GIS and included on ES. But the answer was given on Earth Science and included in GIS. Then each upvote to the question will be added to the questioners' score on GIS and each upvote to the answer will be added to the responser's score on Earth Science.

I can think of following benefits using this approach already, but maybe there are some other advantages and also disadvantages. I don't know. It's just an idea and a discussion.

  1. As I said, the question will be exposed to the largest available audiance that might know the answer and so the questioning and answering process will be even faster.
  2. User's confusion about where to ask will be removed and the probability of cross-posting will decrease.
  3. As I said, most of the time people choose the site with the highest traffic as the appropriate one (here GIS) and this diminishes the beta sites' probability of success in reaching their critical number of questions and graduating. So this approach will intensify activity on beta sites.
  4. Most of the time moderators of old sites are concerned that the new proposals might tend to drain audience from their site and will disperse the users (For example Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry proposal might drain audience of GIS, earth science and ... ). But this approach will minimize this worry.

This way Stack Exchange will be converted to a big site that virtually has different sections. Each expert will be active in the section that is most related to his expertise, but he will also see what is related to him written in other sections of the site. This way each community will have its own site and its own brand and will help other communities in other parts of the site.


P.S. As I've said, here the problem of remote sensing and photogrammetry is that it is an interdisciplinary subject. Each sites Physics, Mathematics, GIS, Earth Science, Space Exploration, Aviation, Cross Validated, Electrical Engineering, Engineering, and Open Data contain a part of remote sensing, but they do not cover the whole of it. I'm trying to build a place and gather all remote sensing researchers there to have a focused site about this wide subject.

  • I believe people are disagreeing with your proposal since this would lead to a big mess in sites. Some chatrooms get feeds from other sites of the network, but they're, well, chat rooms. – Margarine Nov 4 '15 at 18:27
  • @Ϻ.Λ.Ʀ. well this is just a proposal if it's agreed the stack exchange team should design it in a way that wouldn't lead to a mess like just showing an interface of the original question in other sites but it really has the 4 benefits I mentioned above – Sepideh Abadppour Nov 4 '15 at 18:53
  • If your question can be on-topic as written on multiple sites, chances are extremely good you haven't thought it through enough to get to the core issue. Think about it some more. Narrow the problem space until it's on-topic on only one site. – fbueckert Nov 4 '15 at 23:15
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I don't think this is a good idea.

What is on-topic is sometimes a delicate balance that takes a while to get right. Just visit any meta to find numerous questions trying to determine if a question is on-topic or not for a specific site.

Similar discussion can be found for migrations, where questions are send to another site but from the moment they appear there only down and close votes are the result.

So in theory your shared knowledge in sections across sites sounds nice but will in practice face problems that are not solved yet be humans.

Take a look at this query. It shows that there are 16,932 tags shared across sites. Some of them are used on many, many sites. I really can't imagine that a single question tagged 'history' is on-topic on 74 sites. That will not bring all experts on the subject together in a section. They will probably run...

Another, more amusing one I think, is the result for apple. Surely questions are expected on Stack Overflow but Seasoned Advice is also in that list. Those are different tastes of the same fruit.

I didn't mention the problem with the language sites. C# is also tagged on questions on SO.ru en SO.pt. That will not become easy.

The sites have some overlap in area's and that leads sometimes to confusion but generally is handled well. The tag system is very simple and flat, but still powerful enough to bring experts to the different sites.

Publishing questions with the same tag across sites is not a good idea and will be confusing if not bad for keeping a site focused and on-topic.

  • thanks for your comprehensive answer. It really convinced me. especially your example about apple. – Sepideh Abadppour Nov 4 '15 at 21:55
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The problem I think you're running into is that tags are defined by their relevance to the site topic, not the other way around. So fundamentally, does not mean the same thing on GIS as it does on SX. Now, let me clarify: in most such cases, it means something very similar. But the set of questions on SX about remote sensing need not, and do not, cover the same sets of concerns as on GIS, as far as I can tell. (On GIS, remote-sensing appears to mean "uses a satellite or similar for GIS purposes", while on SX, that definition makes no sense at all, and instead the tag means "surveys a planetary body from a distance"… to the extent that it means anything at all. 11 questions a healthy tag does not make.)

In a more abstract sense, this is another variant of the etymological fallacy. Words and phrases just don't reliably have simple, easily-deducible, fully cohesive meanings! They have a whole little range of similar or related or off-shoot meanings that have developed over time with various needs. And this is most visible in the sorts of terse, condensed, semantically-charged terms that get used for, you guessed it, subject tagging.

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