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Many years ago, there were fewer Stack Exchange sites. Right now, Astronomy is in beta and attracts questions like this one about speed-of-light. Sure, I can see why somebody would associate this with astronomy, but it actually is a fundamental physics question. Any physicist can answer it, even I ask a hadron physicist. But I wouldn't go and answer questions on Astronomy, because I am not an astronomer. Similarly we have Ask Ubuntu which attracts lots of questions about generic Linux stuff like Bash programming, which would be better suited for Unix & Linux. I don't answer things on Ask Ubuntu any more because I use Fedora, but I miss the opportunity to answer general Linux questions there.

It seems that the Stack Exchange network has reached a diversification where I find it very hard to figure out where to post a question. Some questions are in scope for multiple sites, and other questions seem be out of scope for either site. I find this increasingly frustrating. Using tags on larger sites would make it easier to find clusters than having to go to multiple sites. Additionally the reputation and privileges are separate on each site, which doesn't seem sensible for closely related sites.

I'm at this point where I spend much less time on any of the Stack Exchange sites because I feel that my questions are more often on the wrong site, and interesting relevant questions are in specialized sites that I don't visit.

Is there something that could be done to alleviate these pains? Are there plans to stop adding new sites at some point?

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    Not sure I'm clear of the pain point here. Are you getting rejected for asking questions on the wrong site or are you getting guidance to figure out where to ask it or are you just left in the dark? Surely someone in the community would be able to tell you where best to ask your question; is that just not happening?
    – Makoto
    Aug 18 at 17:44
  • Related, and see its linked questions (which are primarily duplicates)
    – bobble
    Aug 18 at 17:44
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    @Makoto: I sometimes have questions closed because they are for instance neither suitable for Stack Overflow, nor Software Engineering. People just cast Close votes and that's it. The second pain point is that questions that I could answer are scattered over many sites. Aug 18 at 17:46
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    If you had a more specific example it'd be easy to poke holes in it. There exist a broad category of questions which are simply not suitable for the network.
    – Makoto
    Aug 18 at 17:48
  • Just pick the sites you want to be a part of and put up the blinders to the ones you don't. A question that you think would be valid on your site being elsewhere shouldn't be a cause of concern
    – Kevin B
    Aug 18 at 17:50
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    @Makoto: So what about the linked astronomy question. How should I have found this question if I just browse »Physics and Astronomy« and that question hadn't come up in the Hot Network Questions? Aug 18 at 17:51
  • @KevinB: This doesn't work, people then tell me that I cannot ask X here, I must ask it on the site specific to X. Aug 18 at 17:51
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    Isn't that quite a different problem than the one you presented? If a question isn't on topic somewhere, there being multiple sites is a boon, not a problem, as now there's somewhere to ask it.
    – Kevin B
    Aug 18 at 17:55
  • I recommend using filters to find questions you can answer. I have used this to find and answer questions about energy on four or five different sites that I wouldn't have found otherwise.
    – LShaver
    Aug 18 at 18:07
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    I think this is two questions: "How do I find questions across the network that I can answer?" and "How do I pick where to ask a question that could fit on multiple sites?"
    – LShaver
    Aug 18 at 18:12
  • "Any physicist can answer it, even I ask a hadron physicist." If we follow your argument through for Code Review and Stack Overflow then we'll come to the conclusion that Code Review shouldn't exist. "Any programmer can answer it, as everyone can form an opinion".
    – Peilonrayz
    Aug 18 at 18:14
  • @KevinB: Sometimes it isn't. I think I once had a question about software licensing, and it was deemed to be a fit neither on Law now Stack Overflow. Both communities felt that the other one would be more suitable. Aug 19 at 9:35
  • @Peilonrayz: I see there you are aiming. And indeed, that argument is not really strong. I can answer both questions on Stack Overflow and Physics, but both sites are different. — The issue really is that Astronomy is a subset of Physics and Astronomy, and that the linked question should be migrated to Physics in my opinion. Aug 19 at 9:37
  • @KevinB SO regularly close questions because CR exists. However many of the questions would be off-topic on CR. Now the questions may be off-topic on both sites, however myself and the OP can't know that because people aren't using the site's standard close reasons. I'd prefer if the situation was as you described, but all I see on a daily basis is people passing the buck.
    – Peilonrayz
    Aug 19 at 12:04
  • A related question on Physics meta: Should we leave technical astronomy questions to Astronomy SE?
    – PM 2Ring
    Aug 19 at 22:01
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Is there something that could be done to alleviate these pains? Are there plans to stop adding new sites at some point?

I don't think having 'too many sites' is much of a problem. Just like you won't go to Astronomy.SE to answer physics questions, there might be astronomers not wanting to go to Physics.SE to get something that's relevant to astronomers as well.

A significant part of the questions an astronomer might ask could be off-topic on Physics.SE and vice-versa. There are some things that will have overlap, in your example some part of Astronomy could be on Physics, but not all of it. In such cases, 'forbidding' the creation of a new site is probably not the option you want to take: You'll lose a whole host of other, non-physics, astronomy questions.

There are a few things that could help you already:

  • The tag watching feature.
  • stackexchange.com/filters: here you can filter for specific tags on specific sites and set e-mail notifications for those. It can also create some sort of custom 'home page' where you can always see content that's most likely to interest you.
  • Use a feed to drop questions with specific tags in a chat room here on SE.

It's not much, but at least you might be able to filter content you actually want to see to show up. And they're better alternatives than just disallowing new sites from being created.

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