So, I agree with the other opinions here about these types of questions being off topic on the rest of the sites. I also agree that chat is a good option for now, although only a small handful of any given sites' users are generally active in chat, if any.
Also even if, say, we somehow decided that they would be on-topic, this would be nearly impossible to implement in practice because even with an announcement, you'd be fighting against this incredible social momentum of those kinds of things having been off-topic for years, not to mention that it's difficult in reality to spread the word about those kinds of things. On SO alone, for example only 6% of recently active users on SO have also visited MSO in the past month.
So I don't think just passing the posts off to other sites is a feasible idea.
That said, I'd like to offer an alternate suggestion. Rather than directing arbitrary requests to other sites as a question, what if:
A moderator on AP, upon seeing a prior art request that is not receiving enough input, may mark it as "needs expert input" or whatever you want to call it. Note: See below for an alternate approach that doesn't give anybody the power to "push" questions to the HNQ.
When that happens, the question is placed on the HNQ list, shuffled in amongst all the other HNQ's and displayed according to the usual rules. Covered in alternate approach below.
Benefits of leveraging the HNQ:
- Non-intrusive (unlike e.g. a new sidebar area for AP questions, which sounds good in theory but in practice would essentially require SE to have a major public philosophy shift in support of patent policing, which for the record I totally support but I don't see that realistically happening).
- Uses an existing site mechanic, no new features or policy changes really need to be explained.
- Draws general traffic to Ask Patents.
- Does not require anybody to select a particular site, is exposed to all users of all sites equally.
There is an alternate way to accomplish the above in a fuzzier manner that does not involve AP moderators pushing content to the HNQ (which doesn't seem to be a popular idea). Instead of a mod choosing something, this can be done within the confines of the current HNQ algorithm:
- This is how the algorithm currently works.
- There is a per-site traffic adjustment. AP's traffic weight could be increased.
- Then, a tweak to the algorithm: Give it a per site ability to only select questions with specific tags (in this case, prior-art).
And that's it. In this way, nobody is artificially pushing AP questions to the HNQ. Instead, the same algorithm is used, but AP just gets a bit higher chance of getting a question in there than it currently has, and only
prior-art would be candidates (if there's no decent, active
prior-art questions, then AP gets no HNQ spot, same deal as every other site right now).
So this still requires good, interesting, well-received posts on the AP side and gives no manual control. It's essentially no change except that it becomes a bit easier for AP questions to end up in the HNQ list (and right now, they're basically never in the list at all, ever).