I'm one of those people who asks questions on both sites.
Before I answer this question I would like to share some discussions from metaRuSO.
One of the questions:
Many Russian-speaking specialists are using StackOverflow in English (en.SO) primarily. There are just seekers for the answers and active participants. They are justifying their preference somehow like this (from personal experience):
- enSO has more answers and answerers, ruSO has few participants and you have to wait for an answer for a long time
- There are few interesting questions on ruSO - nothing to answer
- English is the language of professional communication, so you have to ask there, ruSO is not necessary
- I didn't know ruSO exists
What would you argue? How to attract Russian-speaking programmers and system administrators to participate in ruSO?
By the way, this is one of the questions-winners. The answers can be seen in the other topic.
@Batanichek asks what should he do if he has a question on SO and wants to make it visible on ruSO. Also he asks if it is a duplicate.
The answer is that there is no way to make a copy on the other language and if you want it in both places you should ask in twice. But avoid copypasting the question on the other site in the same language - provide a translation yourself. Add the links between questions. Also it would be nice to translate the solution and post it on the other site.
It's a feature request about explicit linking of questions in different languages. Something like duplicates, but not about closing, just about reference information like Wikipedia shows block with links to article in other languages.
It's a discussion about how this feature should work, what limitations should be applied an so on.
I'm not ready to provide any summary now.
Now about reasons
Explanations below are about good interesting high quality questions and should not be applied to typical questions.
But why would people who mainly ask questions be do so on different sites?
I'm from Russia, my native language is Russian, so it's logical to ask in Russian first. So almost all of my programming questions are published in Russian.
But SO has a much larger community than ruSO, and not only community, but also activity. It means that on SO I can:
- Expect more experts to see the question
- Expect the answer be provided quicker
- Expect more attention because of timezone
- Lift the question on other site via adding a link to translation
What is more important depends on the question.
If I do not get the answer for a long time, asking such question to a larger community is useful. By the way, in case of asking about libraries, there is a possibility that someone connected to its development can see the question on SO. Of course I do not expect this, but it could happen and it could lead to some effect. SO question can be provided as description of the problem, but ruSO can't as non-Russian-speaking people won't be going to deal with it.
And about time. Yes, people hate (russian version is a bit softer) requesting an answer in some period of time, but I think, everybody does understand that questions do not appear from a vacuum, the asker tries to solve some problem and usually has limited time. Yes, it's not a problem of community, but if asking in other community helps to get answer (which you need right now) quicker why not ask there?
The other reason is timezones. They can differ, so number of visitors and attention to question differs depending on time it is posted. If I post a question on ruSO at night, it'll get minimal attention from visitors and then become to old to be actively viewed next morning. But if I ask it on SO, it will get enough attention as it's a daytime in the USA and as there are a lot of people from different timezons and time of asking doesn't have such great influence on views.
Why not to ask only on SO? Acting like if I have a good question I'll post it on SO, but if it's uninteresting - then on ruSO. I don't know if someone uses such rule, but for me it's unacceptable. I do not want to decrease quality of ruSO. I want good specialists to be there, and if all questions will be stupid - it's not the way to attract them.
It's bad to deprive ruSO of questions. And it's necessary to ask a question on SO. What solution can be applied? Ask both sites, of course. And provide cross-language links in the questions. The reader could look to the question in other language. Even if he doesn't know that language, the code can be useful. Also someone going to answer can look through answers in other language to see if the problem is already solved. Anyway it's good to translate the accepted answer to the other language. So there would be a solution for speakers of any of the languages.
By the way there can be reasons to ask on the local site because something is mainly used locally. For example social networks api.
But why would people who mainly ask questions do so on different sites?
Why "mainly ask"? I mainly answer, not ask. But many of my questions are asked on both sites.
PS: Seems I had some more thoughts to share... If I remember them, I'll update the answer :)