I'm seeing a lot of great famous Stack Overflow questions asked again here on Programmers.
Why allowing to duplicate those greatest hits questions?
Here are some examples :


What's your favourite quote about programming?

Will you delete or close or merge them?

My 0.02c approach:
1. Temporarily close them as Duplicate on Programmers
2. When Programmers will be out of the Beta, import\merge them.
3. Reopen them

Probably I feel it as a problem because I read and loved hundreds of top voted questions of Stack Overflow and now, seeing them popping up again, it's like a Dejavù.

  • 13
    I don't think a 'programmers' should even exist. It dilutes the importance of stackoverflow and distributes good answers across two sites instead of having them all centralized.
    – Wadih M.
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 16:52
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    @Wadih Uhm, I think "Programmers" is a perfect complement of Stack Overflow.Actually I like it and we have already a lot of new good questions and answers on topics that don't really fit on Stack Overflow. What i don't get it's the meaning of the mere copy of Stack Overflow greatest hits here. Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 18:56
  • All meta sites have this issue in one or another way, these issue shows up on the meta of both sites too in most cases. eg. Ubuntu questions on Ubuntu.SE VS SuperUser. I guess there is nothing we can do than accept the fact that this is a temporary problem that will be solved by a migration path when the site is out of beta. In fact there is nothing we can or should do right now, what if our site will not be released? Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 19:08
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    @TomWij I like the fact that i'm not the only one that consider this a problem Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 19:25
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    Related by Jeff: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/06/improved-question-merging Commented Sep 11, 2010 at 23:36
  • My issue wasn't so much with things like this where there is genuine discussion, it was the reposting of the HTML parser in regex question, just so the (admittedly great) answer could be reposted. Made me disproportionately angry... Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 15:37
  • @Jon I have mixed feelings about it; when Programmers started there where people simply copy and pasting great questions on SO to, probably, just gain Reps. Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 15:49
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    @systempuntoout - There should be a reason for close "Rep Whore". While we're adding them we could also add reason for close "Too dumb". Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 15:50

5 Answers 5



This answer was posted before the Great Disciplining of Programmers.SE and is rendered obsolete by the following resources:

Programmers is a separate site from Stack Overflow: the questions are on topic and not duplicates of questions on Programmers, so they should not be closed.

The site was proposed and set up specifically to hold all the popular but nevertheless off-topic questions on Stack Overflow: there will be overlap on some popular questions because they are important seeding questions. If the site makes it out of beta, there will be a migration path to move and merge questions from Stack Overflow to here.

See also my answer on How should we handle questions currently closed on SO?

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    @Mark you really did not get my point. How will you merge the questions i mentioned? Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 8:14
  • I got your point. Moderators have tools to merge questions, and your suggestion to close all questions that are already on Stack Overflow even though they are on topic here is wrong. There will be overlap during the beta phase because this site is being proposed to house those questions and as such, they are on-topic and not duplicates here. Programmers is a separate site.
    – user8
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 8:21
  • @Mark have a look here. Quoting a mod: "We have the capability to merge any question into any other question, but we generally don't do it unless the dupe has valid, legitimate answers that aren't present in the original". Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 8:50
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    There will be a migration path consisting of merging and moving questions where appropriate. The specifics of that are not yet defined because it's still 80 days before it's decided whether Programmers will even continue to exist. Prior to that decision, questions on Programmers and the site itself stand on their own regardless of whether or not they duplicate SO content.
    – user8
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 9:24
  • +1 This is a valid answer that does answer the problem, the solution to the answer is in the sentence "will be a migration path to move and merge questions from SO to here". Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 10:14
  • @TomWij I can't see how the questions I've mentioned as example, could be merged. (a Mod would be cool here to explain :) ). Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 15:14
  • This would require manual intervention, correcting the existing question to fit both questions and then move all answers from SO without creating duplicate answers... Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 15:41
  • These types of questions wouldn't be off-topic on SO (and therefore on-topic on here) if the "on-topic" rules for SO were simply softened. How does a site about programming questions not account for questions about being a programmer?
    – matt b
    Commented Sep 20, 2010 at 16:44
  • As those questions cluttered SO, subjective questions take away the attention of coding questions and thus coding questions get less attention if subjective questions are allowed. Commented Sep 20, 2010 at 16:59
  1. Close them as duplicate on Programmers
  2. When Programmers will be out of the Beta, import\merge them.
  3. Reopen them

WHY? What problem does this plan solve? What actually is the problem you're addressing?

That users on this site "steal" reputations from "original authors"? Many of those who were active on StackOverflow, and answered those questions, don't care about this site, and about whether thy have any "rep" here. If a user borrows the answer directly, he just may link to the original one. Even if StackOverflow was the place where the answerer first learned about this, it's not a problem: there always is such a place.

That people here duplicate a work that's already done? Well, I don't think that dozens of those who answer the questions you linked are not enthusiastic about it...

Moreover, your plan suggests that we should ban specific topics here (though temporarily). But we opened this site to ask and answer such questions, and banning them contradicts the purpose.

My suggestion is just leave them as is, alive and not closed. When the time to merge comes, moderators will carefully merge the missing answers in.

  • What's the advantage of asking again the exactly same famous questions and see the same answers pop-up?It's like a Dejavù. I know you opened this site to ask such questions, and i'm glad of that, but i also know that there are many other interesting questions to ask without predating the off-topic on Stack Overflow. Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 9:11
  • Re: "What's the advantage of asking again..." People like it. When you want to take from people something they like, it's you who should argument what the advantage of your proposal is.
    – P Shved
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 9:26
  • @systempuntoout: Because that's how the proposal for this site was defined, and that's what beta testers committed to. The time to debate the merits of the proposal was during the definition phase: to wholesale redefine the purpose of the site only a few days into beta circumvents the process and is entirely unnecessary.
    – user8
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 9:27
  • @Pavel I know they like it because actually they are beautiful questions.No doubt about it. My proposal is simply to avoid duplicated contents, simple as is. Why do i need to check two different but exactly questions just to spot some interesting new answers? Is it not better to have just one question to check? Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 9:37
  • @systempuntoout, this kind of duplicates makes no harm to anyone. (Contrary, duplicates on within StackOverflow. for example, are harmful. Not all duplicates are equal!)
    – P Shved
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 11:00
  • @Pavel Sorry but I do not agree with you. I prefer a duplicate on Stack Overflow (duplicate helps people to point to the right question) than one question on Programmers with many answers (dupes) and no link to the original question. Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 15:11
  • @system, well, I suppose that Jeff prefers these answers to be purged from StackOverflow, and we'll end up having them here, full-blown. So is there really any reason to care about when it will start?
    – P Shved
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 20:45

Questions that are already closed on Stack Overflow should remain closed on Stack Overflow and probably deleted.

Ideally, questions that are open on Stack Overflow but re-asked here should just be closed as "off-topic" on Stack Overflow and eventually deleted. The only drawback with this is that some of the answers that exist on Stack Overflow won't exist here, so perhaps the closing of these should be delayed until after this site leaves beta.

Once this site becomes a fully fledged site with a migration path there will, no doubt, be questions still open on Stack Overflow that will get migrated here and become duplicates. In that case they should be closed as duplicates here and merged with this site's original question.

Over time this will become less of an issue.

In the meantime if you find any "duplicates" add a comment to the SO question pointing here and vote to close it as "off topic" (if you have enough rep) or flag it for moderator attention (if you don't).

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    @ChrisF makes sense, thanks. One thing: are they going to delete "great programming quotes" on Stack Overflow because it's closed? I can't believe it. Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 8:59
  • @systempuntoout - such questions are either closed or locked at the moment, but not deleted to discourage people reasking the same questions over and over again. Once the migration path is in place I can see the pressure to delete that sort of question growing. I think we'll have to wait and see.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 11:26
  • It doesn't make sense to close questions here here, which are on-topic here, simply because they've already been asked on stack overflow, unless those questions are already in the migration process.
    – SamB
    Commented Sep 14, 2010 at 21:57
  • @SamB - I wasn't talking about closing questions here.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 8:43
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    If content is king, deleting closed famous questions is going to cause the loss of valuable content that many users joined after discovering them. Commented Sep 20, 2010 at 2:42
  • @Talvi - existing SO questions that are already closed are candidates for deletion anyway. If this site leaves beta and a migration path is set up then any remaining "programmers" questions on SO will get migrated and the content will be preserved. The only grey area is what to do about the current cross site duplicates. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so forceful about getting them closed and (potentially deleted), if they are left open on SO for the time being they can be migrated and merged later, thus preserving the content.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Sep 20, 2010 at 12:24
  • So is that still true in April 2011? Eventually the locked stuff on SO will get deleted and if it's great stuff, migrated to Programmers? If so I would be very pleased.
    – Warren P
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 19:04
  • @Warren - yes it's still true. Even more so after we left beta, people thought that it was carte blanche to migrate any old "rubbish" from SO here.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 19:49

I think the top 100 best subjective+closed+locked questions should be merged/migrated to here without making them invisible on Stack Overflow, so that Programmers.stackexchange.com can become more of a source of valuable content, and less of sad wasteland, an outpost where bad questions go to languish and die.

Am I the only one who loves the great subjective questions? Obviously not. The greatest (in terms of popularity) questions ever asked on SO were all subjective. So, programmers should be their home, and not a kind of dingy trashy home. A nicely appointed, welcoming home.

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    You're dredging up long dead and mostly obsolete discussions: please note the dates the rest of the answers have been posted. The current FAQ contains the latest community consensus about what is considered on-topic here.
    – user8
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 23:39
  • I realize it's long dead. I just think that the final "consensus" made a mistake. Downvote to oblivion. I'm just saying.
    – Warren P
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 15:56

re-post the highest voted answers, increase reputation :)

  • Except that the original authors will vote to close out of anger from plagiarism... Commented Sep 20, 2010 at 2:43

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