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I want to address the issue addressed in this related questions:

I formulate the problem as follows:

Given the strong segmentation of SE, how can smaller communities be promoted without deeming their specific topic as off-topic on other sites.

I can perfectly understand why flagging anything as off-topic may not be helpful, so I came up with the following suggestion:

Dupe-checking (aka. "Questions that may already have your answer") is a great feature of SE and helps to reduce the amount of duplicate questions. How about implementing a similar feature "Would you rather ask at" which suggests SE communities which may be more strongly related to the topic?

That means when I'm writing a question on any SE network there is a system utilizing keywords from all different communities to suggest me some sites where I may post the question. In the end, it is still up to the user to decide whether another community may be better suited.

It would lessen the need of migrations and help the user to discover smaller SE communities.

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    This will never fly, no one who needs to ever reads anything. – user147520 Mar 13 '17 at 12:12
  • Not sure why this question was flagged as "primarily opinion based." Voted to leave open, this is a feature-request – Shokhet Mar 22 '17 at 20:07
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+50

Although I think that the ability to point out new communities is useful, I'm not sure this is the right approach. There are a number of topics that cross multiple communities and communities (sites) are defined by their expertise.

There was an experiment a while back where the same (on-topic) question was posted across multiple SE sites (with coordination with those communities). I forget all the sites, but they included Software Engineering, Computer Science, Stack Overflow, and one or two others. The answers on each site were very, very different. To the point where depending on what you were looking for, answers on one site would be of limited value to you.

I think that suggesting communities at the time of asking would do a disservice to the asker, since they may not be in a good position on where to ask. If they have a good question, they should take a good first guess. People can always use comments to ask clarifying questions and point out related questions on the site (although hopefully they have searched at least the site being asked on first) or on other sites (on or off the network).

I'm torn on the idea of what to do when the community where it was originally asked may not be the best. On one hand, the answers may not be helpful to the asker. But if it's a good question, they may be helpful to someone else later. This is why I'm generally opposed to blanket rules about not cross-posting questions. One should not copy/paste questions blindly, but there are instances where it may not be a bad thing when done properly.

Some level of thought should be done to link related SE communities. I don't have any fully thought out ideas, but I do think that improving tag wikis (especially their discovery and searchability) would be one aspect of this. Maybe some kind of sidebar portion similar to "Related" that links to other sites instead of questions on the same site would also be a part of this. Putting a new page in the Help Center that links to sites (specifically their /help/on-topic page) that are similar (perhaps mod editable, somehow) would be helpful as something to link to if a question is on the border of being on-topic.

I'm just not sold on an in-your-face suggestion of other sites at the time of asking.

  • "since they may not be in a good position on where to ask." - This is the exact problem. Most likely they wouldn't even know to how many and which sites the question may apply. And this is exactly where a suggestions like this may help. I bet hardly anyone can enumerate all se sites. – Nordwald Mar 13 '17 at 13:02
  • @Nordwald And throwing them even more options is not going to help them figure out where to ask. I would even guess that they would become confused and either (1) start dumping their question everywhere or (2) not post their question at all. If their question is not well written or not appropriate for the sites, (1) is a bad thing. And (2) is bad for the network in general. I'd rather have a bad question put on one site where it can be cleaned up by (preferably) making it into a good question or closed and deleted. – Thomas Owens Mar 13 '17 at 13:05
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    Its not my intention to impede new questions. I imagine it more in a 'did you know.. ' style. For example you're writing some ubuntu-specific question on superuser, you may like the hint to know there is also a dedicated ubuntu-site. A closed / deleted question should not be the desired result. – Nordwald Mar 13 '17 at 13:11
  • @Nordwald Yeah, I think putting that at ask time would only serve to confuse a user, especially one new to the network and when their question may be on-topic on multiple sites. – Thomas Owens Mar 13 '17 at 13:13
  • I see your point. There is something like too-much information. Downvoted though because I want to believe in Informed self-determination (why have democracy? ;)). People will always be free to ignore anything. – Nordwald Mar 13 '17 at 13:24
  • @ThomasOwens: how about enabling it for users who have accounts on several sites already (so they know different subsites exist but maybe not about a specific one)? – Igor Skochinsky Mar 15 '17 at 9:43

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