I ask the community.

The following question here led to the OP asking the greater meta.stackexchange.com site here which seems to have a broader and more popular consensus that when a question is well received and on topic that it should not be closed as "Off-Topic" for purposes of preventing cross-posting.

Currently myself and I believe other moderators at Programmers when flagged about cross-posting will currently close the question on Programmers it if appears to circumvent a ban on the other site or if it historically appears after the original question on the other site. The OP sometimes legitimately realizes that he needs a different perspective, or perhaps they weren't getting the attention they felt they needed so they wanted to try a different community.

The current tag info for cross posting on meta.stackexchange: link here still seems to suggest that it is still frowned upon.

Cross Posting refers to posting the same question over multiple Stack Exchange sites. Cross-posting is strictly frowned upon as it leads to fragmented answers splattered all over the network. If you spot a user cross-posting, please make use of Moderator Flags to inform the Moderators. Refer to cross-posting faq for more details.

I ask the community, are we right to do this and should we change how high rep users and moderators are dealing with cross posting on this site?


To sum up the great answers and suggestions I have seen thus far, and reviewing the greater discussion on Meta.StackExchange, I feel I can compile the popular and agreed upon points below so that we can use this question as a canonical guide on how to deal with cross-posting on Programmers.

  1. Poor quality, unclear questions and opinion/flame bait should be put on hold as expected regardless of cross-posting.

  2. Off-topic hold reasons should not be used against cross posted questions unless it is legitimately off topic (NOTE: There is overlap in Programmers between CS, Project Management, et al.)

  3. If the question is not tailored for target audience, software developers, and is instead copied from the other site still targeted to computer scientists, project managers, or others then a user can flag for a moderator to investigate, and moderators can use their discretion if a temporary content dispute lock should be used while the moderator gives the OP the chance to state why they wanted to cross post on Programmers.

  4. If the question is not tailored and the OP shows no desire to change the question or does not respond, then the moderator or other users can decide to edit the question to try and improve it and make it more appropriate for Programmers, otherwise it can be put on hold as off topic.

  5. If the cross post is tailored for the target audience and the OP wishes to get a different perspective or perhaps felt the question didn't get enough attention at the original community, then he/she is well in his right to do so.

  • for the sake of precision, I think we're talking about one exceptional case per every 200-300 routine close-worthy cross-posts. I just checked, over 40 questions I flagged for this in last 30 days are all closed at one of the sites or even at all of them - and that's a regular month. As for legitimately opened cross-posts, I only recall croissants almost a year ago, and recent Japanese Multiplication, and if memory serves, there was one more good question in between these two, that's all - 3 good questions in almost a year, the rest is regular garbage coming at us 40+ q/month average
    – gnat
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 10:50
  • @gnat Understood, however I personally believe that it is better for a low quality question to escape attention than it is for a good question to be wrongly closed.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 12:59
  • I see. this makes sense, especially considering questions only having problem of being cross-posted - that is, okay for Programmers but off-topic at other site(s). If memory serves I stumble upon such questions at least once a month
    – gnat
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 13:16

4 Answers 4


Reasking the question so that it's tailored to the other site's audience is OK. You'll bring out aspects that the first site missed or you'll be able to focus your question as a result of the answers on the first site.

Just copy/pasting the question from one site to another isn't going to work well. It's either going to be totally off message (note not necessarily off topic, but just not "right" for the site) for one site or the other or worse, fall between the two sites and be a bad question on both.

The thing to to do is think about the target audience of the site and think about what sort of answers you want to get.

  • Most of the times this won't work well, but there is significant overlap between Computer Science, Project Management and other sites with this one where that line is blurry.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:28
  • 1
    @maple_shaft even so the question should be tailored to the audience.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 21:32
  • The question was actually a better fit here than on CS.SE. Hence "don't close posts as off topic based on being cross-posts, but rather on their merit." In this case, it just so happens that the question fit on both without any changs. In order to properly remove cross posts that are on-topic for more than one site, you guys need a tool that SE hasn't yet given you. Until then, there's nothing that can be done properly about them.
    – user129679
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 16:13

I agree with Robert Harvey's answer on Meta Stack Exchange. Although cross-posting should be discouraged, especially questions that are directly copied/pasted between sites without tailoring to nuances that exist between each community, the copy-paste by itself is not a valid reason for closure. Questions should be closed on their merit - they are a duplicate of an existing question, they are off-topic, the question is unclear or too broad, or the answer will draw opinions instead of facts and references.

I think in most cases, cross-posts tend to be lower-quality questions, people evading question bans on a site and posting on a related site, or more spammy posts. However, if someone has a good question that does indeed fit on multiple sites, they shouldn't be punished for approaching the questions from all available experts.

  • 1
    Agreed mostly, but I am afraid of that turning into a slippery slope. It can be for good reasons but it could also be used to abuse the system by advertising your question at the expense of other peoples questions which is unfair. It is also unfair to those working hard on one site to formulate an appropriate answer when the OP already got the answer he wanted on the other site and then conveniently ignores the content that he created on the other site.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:17
  • 1
    I guess I just REALLY want SE to give an appropriate moderator tool to deal with these situations :(
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:18
  • 2
    @maple_shaft I don't understand the "advertising your question at the expense of other peoples questions" thing. As far as ignoring sites, I don't see how that's different than someone posting a question on a single site and then not coming back to respond to comments or answers. I do agree that tool support for cross-site things are generally lacking, though. I'm not even sure what such tools would look like.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:19

I see no benefit whatsoever in crossposting, as in posting the same question verbatim on multiple platforms targeting the same audience.
If the audiences are so diverse that you're likely to get valuable answers from multiple perspectives, all of them relevant, it might be a good idea on occasion.

REposting, as in asking the same question elsewhere (hopefully reworded) after not getting an answer in a reasonable time (say several days to weeks) is another matter and I can fully understand that. But if so, do append any new insights you gained yourself over that time.


I think in rare circumstances, cross-posting is valid. But it needs to be done clearly and transparently so the community understands that the answers to the question will be fragmented across sites. Case in point, the croissants question was cross-posted on SO, CS, and Progs. The latter two were done intentionally to see how the community would generate different answers.

In general, cross posters simply want any answer and aren't trying to delve the particular expertise of a given site. I don't see much, if any, benefit in taking a gentler line of action with cross-posting in general.

If a cross-posted question is on-topic for a site, I think it's valid to either close or lock the question so the duplicate questions can be more easily merged together. To my understanding, leaving them open merely makes it more difficult to clean up the resulting mess.

  • 2
    I like the idea of a temporary lock for "content dispute" reasons until the cross post can be sorted out if it is reasonably good quality and on topic. Perhaps the user really would have preferred the migration then it makes it easier to get moderators to migrate and delete.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:25
  • 3
    "Be Forthright When Cross Posting To Other Sites..."
    – gnat
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 10:10

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