At this question (and a number of others with similar tags), a SE question has been answered elsewhere on a domain-specific non-SE Q&A site. Indeed, the same user acknowledges posting both places simultaneously (which is fine, for the record).

My question is what to do in this situation regarding answering. Is it best for:

  • The OP to cut and paste this answer
  • For someone else to do so
  • To close the question
  • Just leave it open and unanswered forever

My understanding is that the third option is bad, and that the fourth is what usually happens. I find the second distasteful because it is so obviously answered and it was asked at the same time, so gaining rep for that is weird, but the first might not feel appropriate to the OP. Any ideas?

To my mind, this is not a duplicate of closing your own question in general or answering questions answered elsewhere in general, because of the fact it was a different Q&A site and it was asked by the same person.

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  • To be clear, are you talking about different sites on Stack Exchange—or about a website completely unrelated to Stack Exchange? It sounds more like the latter but it's not totally explicit. (Care need to be used with the word site here.) If something completely unrelated, there should be no problem so long as the post is properly attributed, there is a link to its original location, the essential information is provided in a quotation or summary (because the linked location could disappear), and the poster provides something more than just that. Dec 20, 2018 at 15:33
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    Correct, completely unrelated, except in the sense that it is also a Q&A site. (You can click on the link provided.) @Martin the second one is very closely related, though in this case I'm not the OP, so mine is slightly more general.
    – kcrisman
    Dec 21, 2018 at 3:28
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    As a side issue, I should point out that typically once the OP gets an answer somewhere in these situations, they are very unmotivated to post it elsewhere - after, they got an answer. So it's really more a question for those who care about completeness on Q&A sites like SE.
    – kcrisman
    Dec 22, 2018 at 14:34

3 Answers 3


Same as if an answer's to be found in a paper, a textbook, a Wikipedia article, a blog, or anywhere else: anyone may write an answer here citing it & providing at least a brief summary of its content. No-one has dibs on answering here, & there's no sense in withholding the answer from readers other than the OP.

The point is to make it as easy as we can for someone searching an SE site for the same question to see that it's been asked & answered; &, as they'll need to follow an link off-site for the detail, help them decide if it's worth the candle by giving them the gist of it & our opinion, expressed through votes & comments: even though we've nothing (yet) to add to the off-site answer.

If anyone feels they don't deserve the rep. accrued from up-votes for such a minimal answer, they may choose to make it a community wiki. If you feel other people don't deserve that rep., you could try to build a consensus on the sites you frequent that all such answers should be made CWs—to my mind the establishing & enforcing of the policy wouldn't be worth the bother.

† I'd be tempted to advise them to just take the rep. & to give it away in a bounty if they're losing sleep over it; on the other hand Help gives the following guidance:

When should I make my answers Community Wiki?

  1. When you want to enhance the "wiki" aspect of your post, so that it can be a continually evolving source of good information through repeated editing.

  2. When you feel your post would benefit from less concern about voting affecting the reputation of those participating in it.

It does seem appropriate to use CW in this case:–"There's an answer here, saying such & such: I'm not taking the credit, or vouching for it."

  • Sure! But the question about rep gets me - I dunno, it just seems sketchy to get rep for anyone for someone else's answer on another Q&A site, as opposed to explaining and then linking to a paper or blog. Maybe that's just nitpicking, though.
    – kcrisman
    Dec 21, 2018 at 3:29
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    Ah, I didn't think about community wiki. Interesting idea.
    – kcrisman
    Dec 22, 2018 at 3:30
  • @kcrisman: I've warmed to it a bit since first suggesting CW answers as an option, & added a bit more in the footnote. Dec 22, 2018 at 10:32

The first would be ideal, especially if they made it clear it was their answer.

Failing which the second would work - though one would need to paraphrase at minimum, and better yet, add on to that answer. The nice thing here well, you've earned your rep as an answer.

The point of a community wiki isn't to "not get" rep you feel you didn't earn. Its meant for collaborative posts but its kind of not really used much these days

  • (1) If "paraphrase" here means "re-write at about the same level of detail" it's hard to see why anyone should bother unless they think they can thereby improve the writing. (2) The point of community wiki is whatever the community decides it is. Dec 21, 2018 at 16:05
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    cause otherwise its plagiarism, and causes a whole different set of issues. And community wiki had a specific intent - as you can see here and feeling you don't deserve the reputation isn't one of those. Dec 21, 2018 at 16:16
  • (1) Plagiarism's already against the rules, as is quotation in toto of an external source. What I was getting at is that insisting on paraphrasing vs citing & summarizing, as a minimum requirement, creates needless, joyless work - a disincentive to answering at all. (2) If SE communities find CW useful for other purposes than those recommended 7 years ago in a blog post by a CM who perhaps hasn't ever visited their site, then I say "good on 'em!" Dec 21, 2018 at 17:55
  • (2a) Anyway, the 2nd reason given in Help for making an answer CW is pertinent here. Dec 22, 2018 at 16:00

Question asked by same person (and answered) on different site - how should it be answered.

The way it should be asked is to inform the answerers that it has been asked on a different site.

The way it should be answered is from the point of view of the site on which it was asked.

For example: A particular question/subject will possibly get entirely different perspectives depending upon if it is asked on space exploration, physics, mathematics, or science fiction and fantasy.

If you feel that asking on more than one site wasn't justified (or even mentioned) in the question you can ask for clarification or suggest an improvement in a comment. This is likely to be appreciated by new users.

If you think that the person ought to have justified asking multiple times, and especially if there is a link to a product or their own site; even if they seem to be promoting some agenda, it's fair to flag the question. At the very least simply point out in a comment that they have an answer elsewhere.

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    I see the point. However, in the cases I'm thinking of, the other site was just as relevant as the SE site and there is no real difference in how the question would be answered.
    – kcrisman
    Dec 22, 2018 at 14:32
  • When the answer would be the same anywhere the person might be forgetful or spamming their question to ensure a faster answer. When we can be kind and forgiving, offer a helpful hint, we should do so - when it's product (or their own website / GitHub) promotion or they're a higher level user (and should know better) we are somewhat less forgiving. One or two spams in a row is a good way to spam-nuke a Rep1 account. Leaving one's computer unlocked and letting someone else type rudeness is a means to obtain a 30+ day ban. Try to see the other side, but no Sealioning permitted. :)
    – Rob
    Dec 22, 2018 at 16:13
  • I think usually it is people who do not have a lot of experience on these sites and just need an answer quickly to something fairly technical - and so they go to as many sites as possible. I haven't personally seen any spamming or users with nontrivial rep do this.
    – kcrisman
    Dec 22, 2018 at 20:07
  • (Which doesn't mean it couldn't happen, obviously, just that I haven't seen it in my limited experience.)
    – kcrisman
    Dec 22, 2018 at 20:08

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