At the moment you can't specify a duplicate on Stack Overflow from Programmers.

You can vote to close or flag as "belongs on Stack Overflow" and add a link to the dupe as a comment, but should it be possible to post duplicate links between closely related sites, i.e. Programmers, Super User and Stack Overflow?

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    This is something that's bugged me for a good long time but it has the potential to add fuel to the fires of the "Programmers is unnecessary!!!!!" zealots.
    – user28988
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 18:25
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    I would just vote to close as off-topic and leave a comment pointing to the duplicate link to help the user. "Hi xxxxx, I'm voting to close your question as off-topic because tech-support questions are off-topic here, however you may be able to find the answer to your question here"
    – Rachel
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 18:49
  • @Rachel - yes it was off topic for programmers. But there was an exact match on SO, it seemed silly to flag as belongs on SO, wait for it to move and THEN mark it as dupe - rather than the dupe field being able to accept SO addresses Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:45
  • Here in the EU, slaughter cattle is often transported for thousands of miles to another country, just to be slaughtered there. Obviously, this is cruel to the animals. Your proposal seems seems like a similar case: move the question to another board just to kill it there. PETQ would not approve. If you feel like a questions needs to be killed, do it locally.
    – user281377
    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 14:55
  • @user281377 - but in this case I just want to point out that we don't sell sausages here on the farm, but you can buy them in the deli just across the road! Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 18:10

2 Answers 2


So there are two ways to do this:

  • Close as a duplicate here, but instead of being restricted to the current site's questions when choosing a duplicate target, allow Stack Overflow questions to be chosen as well.
  • Close as "off-topic, belongs on Stack Overflow" here, but also allow people to optionally specify a dupe target while voting to close. End result is a migration, followed by immediate closure as a duplicate of whatever question was chosen.

Based on your comments, you're looking for the former, but I'll mention both:

Allow cross-site duplicate targets when voting to close as duplicate

There might be something I'm not thinking of, but I don't have any ideological or philosophical objections to this. It seems like something that might cause a lot of strain on the backend, but I'm not a developer so that's their problem to solve or say it can't be done.

It has come up a few times on Meta Stack Overflow, with no outcome:

Allow users to migrate a question and close it as a duplicate after migration

I'm against this. Each community knows its site best: which questions should be closed, which should be open, etc. They should be the ones to decide if a new question is a duplicate of an existing question, not people on a different site who have no inherent interest in the other site.

Or to put it another way, let's say I have 10k rep here on Programmers, allowing me to vote to close, but only 1k rep on Stack Overflow. Allowing dupe closing during migration would allow me to close questions on Stack Overflow even though I'm 1,000 rep short of the privilege.

If you think a question is a duplicate of something asked on Stack Overflow, there are three options:

  • If you can vote to close on Stack Overflow, vote to migrate, and keep an eye on it so you can vote to close when it gets there
  • If you can't vote to close on Stack Overflow, vote to migrate and let SO users deal with it when it gets there
  • Leave a comment pointing to the duplicate question on Stack Overflow and vote to close as off-topic in place here.

I'm partial to the last option: knowingly closing a question twice—once on each site—is just pointless bureaucracy.

  • I thought it would be easier to make the last option more automatic. This was an exact dupe but there is no way to flag it as such because the answer was on SO, and belonged there Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:43
  • @MartinBeckett Do you mean something like an option to close as off-topic in place and leave a comment in the same action? Seems like kind of an edge case to justify another UI option. Your other comment suggests that you really want to be able to close a question here as a dupe of a question on Stack Overflow in the same action, so I'm a bit confused as to the exact workflow you're looking for.
    – user8
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:46
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    The close as dupe only works with links to the same site. Since the overlap between programmers and SO is large, and many questions both belong on SO and are already answered there - I would like the close as dupe on programmers to accept SO questions as the dupe. Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:52
  • @MartinBeckett Ah, I got it now: thanks.
    – user8
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 21:07
  • I don't have any ideological or philosophical objections to this. - Thanks, Mark.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 11:21

Maybe this should be a comment, rather than an answer, but...

I've just hit this problem with this question which I flagged, with a comment about it being an exact duplicate of a question on StackOverflow

My flag was declined (fair enough) with the response:

We can't do anything about a cross site duplicate.

OK, if true, but seems a bit unfortunate!

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    The simple reason we don't have cross site duplicates, is that we can already migrate. If the question is good enough for the other site, we can simply move it there, and then close it as a duplicate. This question, however, wasn't really up to Stack Overflow's standards, even if it belonged there in terms of topicality. I've posted a comment pointing to the SO question you've found, I think that's as close as we'll get to a notion of cross site duplicates.
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 10:22

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