I flagged a question using this message:

as complained in comments, cross-posted at SO: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/284058/… (flagging per https://meta.stackexchange.com/tags/cross-posting/info - "If you spot a user cross-posting, please make use of moderator flags to inform the moderators")

Why was my flag declined? Decline message was

flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

The only reason why I flagged is that instruction quoted above tells to do this. If it wouldn't be there, I wouldn't flag

  • Ignoring the MSE tag wiki, why exactly do you think cross posting requires moderation intervention?
    – yannis
    May 16, 2015 at 9:40
  • @Yannis the only reason why I flag is instruction in these very tag wiki that tells to do this. If it wouldn't be there, I wouldn't flag
    – gnat
    May 16, 2015 at 9:42
  • Good thing I removed the poor advice from the tag wiki before declining the flag then. That said, I expected a bit more from a veteran than "the tag wiki told me to do it". :/
    – yannis
    May 16, 2015 at 9:47
  • 2
    @Yannis you got to be kidding. Instruction we discuss was there for about 4 years and everyone seemed to be happy with it. Why would I ignore what it tells me
    – gnat
    May 16, 2015 at 9:58
  • 1
    Why would you ignore it? Because even after being around for years and having casted a megabazillion flags, you can't come up with a good reason for why crossposting requires mod intervention. This isn't about what a bs tag wiki says; this is about you asking real people to take time from their day to intervene in a situation you can't resolve yourself. If you can't think of a good reason to do so, then don't.
    – yannis
    May 16, 2015 at 10:04
  • I find it hard to believe that it's as troublesome. Because if it was, somebody would edit these tag wiki long time ago. Afterall, it's not some secret document - I myself referred it in 3 or 5 hundreds flags, almost daily
    – gnat
    May 16, 2015 at 12:39
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​"I myself referred it in 3 or 5 hundreds flags" This is what made it troublesome, hundreds of flags without any actual justification. You still haven't told me what exactly do you expect moderators to do about cross posting. What is the problem you want us to solve for you that you can't solve yourself.
    – yannis
    May 16, 2015 at 12:43
  • it took you how long, two or three years to find out that it's troublesome? With all due respect it sounds like it was not that troublesome. Aren't we making unnecessary drama over simple correction of old instructions
    – gnat
    May 16, 2015 at 12:48
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​"Aren't we making unnecessary drama" Am I the one who posted a Meta question about a single declined flag?
    – yannis
    May 16, 2015 at 12:49
  • my post is a plain support request. Have you seen what question tag says? "You need help with the use of one or more of the site's features." I only asked to explain something. If I wanted drama, I'd tag it discussion or feature request. You don't seriously expect me to "feel pain" over one of 177 declines I have so far
    – gnat
    May 16, 2015 at 12:54
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Ok then. For future reference, flags about issues that don't absolutely require moderation intervention will be declined. With prejudice.
    – yannis
    May 16, 2015 at 13:04
  • am I supposed to be scared
    – gnat
    May 16, 2015 at 13:09
  • I'm pretty sure it'll take a lot more than this to actually scare you @gnat ;) In any case, I think the best possible solution is to convince SE to automatically block identical (or near identical) cross posts. These should be trivial to detect, and blocking them automatically would both educate the posters and save as from awkward situations like this.
    – yannis
    May 17, 2015 at 14:19
  • @YannisRizos IIRC, I heard this was actually expensive to do as each site has its own database. They would have to query every site for every question just to find this out.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    May 17, 2015 at 16:26
  • I check for cross-posting for reasons that have nothing to do with flags or moderators (in fact, my reasons are not even specific to Stack Exchange). It's up to moderators to decide whether they want to be additionally notified of my findings or not. Neither flagging nor abstaining of flags is hard to me. I only don't want to play russian roulette guessing whether moderator is in the mood to accept or decline my flag
    – gnat
    May 17, 2015 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


Ok, I decided to weigh in on this one...

The specific question

The text of the question in question is:

I have a site in wordpress and added menu in sidebar and I have changed the size of some tabs to show them separate, I just want when site loads then 2nd 3rd 4th 5th and 6th tab should be hide and open on when click on foirst tab then hide on clicking first tab,

    $("#main-menu ul li:nth-child(2)").click(function(){
        $("#main-menu ul li:nth-child(n+2):nth-child(-n+6)").toggle();

Also I don't know where should I put my javascript function in wordpress website,

Given that this question is off topic and that any answers that it gets here would cause more moderator work (migrating it to SO, duping it there, merging it there), closing it promptly here would be a good thing and reduce moderator work and the drain on community close votes.

This question was asked at 1:07 UTC, and closed at 20:17 UTC. A tad bit over 19 hours. That's awkward and could have easily gotten some 'helpful' user posting an answer here. Fortunately it didn't. But if it did, it would have meant a flag for moderators to migrate it to the correct site where it is on topic (and as of this writing, still open).

For this question, I believe the flag should have been acted upon and closed. I personally feel it's a rather clear cut case of an off topic question and a mod close could have prevented other possible answers in the wrong place. We get those often enough.

We should endeavor to avoid bouncing people and questions around form site to site - thats a bad experience. We should furthermore, endeavor to avoid the situations where we would be deleting questions that are completely inappropriate here (off topic fix my code) but have somehow garnered answers that would end up being deleted here (no one likes having their material deleted). Both of these require prompt action to avoid a poor experience; and sometimes the community isn't and can't be prompt enough.

The general case

If a question is on topic on both sites, being cross posted is not a reason to close as off topic - its on topic.

However, I've often found that questions that are posted identically to two or more sites suffer from lack of specificity and are often (not always) too broad or unclear. Those are perfectly acceptable reasons to close a question. This is especially frequent in situations where the OP wants "diverse answers from multiple communities." Many times, these questions are seeking discussion rather than solving problems.

I will point out that posting identical questions on multiple sites I consider to be very rude to the communities of those sites - having multiple groups working on solving a problem when its already solved somewhere else is wasting the time of multiple users. Having questions where it didn't get an answer on one site but did on another leads to fragmentation of knowledge across the network and poor search results.

Across the metas

My take on this can be found on Meta.SE: Can cross-posts actually be valuable to two communities, with the exception of being worded identically?.

I'll also point to Are cross-site questions acceptable in rare cases? from Gaming.SE and highlight a bit from there:

The reason cross-posting is frowned upon is because it's the hallmark of a vague question. If it's broad enough to be equally applicable to multiple SE sites, you haven't refined the question enough. More thought needs to be invested to see which group would be best able to answer your question. You need to decide which site you think has the best chance of answering the question. If you don't manage to get an answer, feel free to delete and ask on another. That way, there's no duplication of effort, no bickering, and if you get an answer on another site, it will be applicable to those that view it.

In conclusion

While it may not be off topic, and posting an identical question on multiple sites can sometimes be acceptable, it will be judged with a more critical eye as to how it is applicable here. The question may very well receive borderline votes of too broad or unclear because of how the question applies here rather than there.

  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Eh? Who said anything about migrating the question? With or without answers, we don't migrate crap. If the only reason for a mod to intervene was to avoid migration, then there was no reason at all.
    – yannis
    May 17, 2015 at 20:11
  • 1
    The question is still open on Stack Overflow. If it had gotten an answer here, from a person trying to be helpful (and I'm sure you've seen more than a few of those two or three sentence 'helpful' answers) the appropriate thing to do would then be to migrate it so that the answer is associated with the question where it is on topic. Ideally, it wouldn't get an answer here, and that goes back to the prompt closing of the question to avoid any need for the question of "should it be migrated".
    – user40980
    May 17, 2015 at 20:44
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Well, if it had gotten an answer here, then a flag asking for migration and merging would have been helpful. But it didn't. Flags are for things that you can't resolve on your own. Not for things that might or might not happen. And are certainly not for things that usually don't happen. An answer wouldn't automatically make the question a good candidate for migration. That would take a good answer, and blatantly off topic questions rarely receive good answers.
    – yannis
    May 17, 2015 at 20:50

Flags are a communication mechanism; you are asking moderators to intervene in a situation you can't do much to resolve on your own. Cross posting isn't such a situation:

  • Although strongly discouraged, it is not forbidden. A question can be on topic on more than one sites.
  • Even when the question is off topic, there's not much a moderator can do about it than vote to close it. And you can do that yourself.

Thus, "flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention".

  • 2
    This answer is bizarre. Flagging cross-posts is normal activity — the question needs to be closed, regardless of topicality. Does Software Engineering have an exception from the general network policy? If so, please inform your fellow moderators (I'm a Computer Science moderator and we get the occasional cross-post with Progse). Even the SO moderators haven't issued such a “don't flag crossposts” request that I know of. May 16, 2015 at 14:06
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​@Gilles "the question needs to be closed, regardless of topicality" When did we start closing questions regardless of topicality?
    – yannis
    May 16, 2015 at 14:08
  • 3
    September 2010: if a question is posted on multiple sites, close all but one of the copies. This is an MSE (formerly MSO) policy, not an official Stack Exchange policy, so sites can opt out, but most haven't (I know that Stack Overflow, Super User, Server Fault, Unix & Linux, Ask Ubuntu, Information Security, Cryptography, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Movies & TV, Software Recommendations, Computer Science, Theoretical Computer Science haven't). Where's the meta thread that states that Software Engineering accept multiposts? May 16, 2015 at 14:23
  • 1
    I don't see anything about closing on topic questions there @Gilles. I also don't see anything about validating flags from people who already have the ability to do what's necessary on their own (in this case, vote to close). As for our meta thread on cross posts: Should cross-posting be allowed sometimes on Programmers?
    – yannis
    May 16, 2015 at 14:33
  • 1
    @Gilles frankly I didn't know that it's that serious but now that you mentioned it, I re-checked faq question referred from tag wiki and found this comment from Atwood: "Just to be 100% clear, copy-pasting a question across sites with no changes is considered abusive behavior."
    – gnat
    May 16, 2015 at 19:46
  • 1
    I have to dig it up, but I asked this same question about a year or two ago and found a Meta Stackexchange discussion that basically said, crossposting alone is not enough reason to close a question. The question must however, be on topic at both sites, and worded in such a way that it addresses the appropriate community and seeks to get answers that requires such expertise. If the question were crossposted here from CS and was seeking expertise from a computer science perspective as opposed to a pragmatic engineering perspective then it should be closed.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    May 17, 2015 at 14:13
  • 1
    Most of the time of a question is copy pasted it won't meet this requirement. I have declined such flags before and Yannis was probably in the right to do so.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    May 17, 2015 at 14:16
  • It can be difficult to resolve the situation on our own when the only active members with CV privileges are perpetually out of CVs.
    – user22815
    May 22, 2015 at 12:40
  • Running out of CVs/DVs is not a good reason to flag @Snowman, except on the more extreme cases.
    – yannis
    May 22, 2015 at 12:42
  • @Yannis I understand, which is why I do not flag in those cases. But it can be frustrating to see questions that need to be closed not get closed because nobody has any votes. That might explain some of the flags, I don't know because I can't see the flag queue.
    – user22815
    May 22, 2015 at 12:45
  • @Snowman I understand that, but I'd also expect our more experienced users to at least try something else before flagging (things that don't absolutely require mod intervention). Like, for example, politely explaining to the asker why we don't enjoy crossposting. Neither commenting nor voting to close are mod only features, and nothing else can be done about cross posting. If you haven't done either and went straight to flagging, you are doing it wrong.
    – yannis
    May 22, 2015 at 12:51

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