There was a recent question on hearing and ear-popping that, while it seems like an OK fit for the "sensation" tag of CogSci SE, might get better/different/more detailed answers on the Biology SE. Is there a rule or consensus about if/when posting the same/a similar question in multiple SEs is acceptable (assuming the question is judged on-topic for both, of course), or how to do it well?

  • asked for @Lincoln
    – Krysta
    Aug 30, 2013 at 15:21
  • 1
    Don't have time for an answer here now, but here is the related information on the main meta site of Stack Exchange: meta.stackexchange.com/q/64068/157047
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Aug 30, 2013 at 15:24
  • unfortunately, the highest-voted & accepted answer there is kind of nonsense (there is a very cogent and also highly-voted comment pointing out why, so I won't go into it).
    – Krysta
    Aug 30, 2013 at 15:26
  • 2
    further down, another answer/comment says "this can be OK, so long as the question is tailored to each audience on the different sites and is materially different in each case. Just to be 100% clear, copy-pasting a question across sites with no changes is considered abusive behavor", which seems like a much better answer.
    – Krysta
    Aug 30, 2013 at 15:27
  • @WhyDoYouThinkThatIsTrue Sure, but the issue here is that it is on topic here (in my opinion, anyway), but is also on topic on another SE.
    – Krysta
    Sep 3, 2013 at 13:13

2 Answers 2


Asking on multiple stack exchange sites is perfectly fine as long as you follow some ettique rules. The biggest thing is to target questions for each site and do not just post the exact same question at the exact same.

Instead generally:

  • Ask on one site, the site where the question will probably be best answered, and wait for answers.
  • If the question doesn't get answers or doesn't get proper answers after a couple days or so, consider the next most appropriate site to post it on
  • When posting the second question, make sure to tailor it, where necessary, to the new audience, and also point out why answers to the previous question (I would include a direct link) were unsatisfactory and what sort of answers you WOULD like.

Note it doesn't necessarily matter if it's your question or not, you can still ask the question, just follow the same etiquette rules, clarifying why the other user's question/site combo didn't work out for your uses.

  • 2
    Also, the most important rule: make sure that if the question is answered on one site, post the answer to the other site. Do not let a cross-posted answer remain unanswered on one site. You need to be sure to maintain both questions which is a big reason why SE frowns upon cross-posting, often one question goes unmaintained.
    – Josh
    Aug 30, 2013 at 17:05

My views on this differ somewhat from the "official" Stack Exchange policy, and the policy on each Stack Exchange site is slightly different so we at Cog Sci have to determine our own rules for handling cross posting.

As I explained in this comment on Unix.SE I feel that cross-posting the same question is acceptable as long as specific rules are followed:

  1. The question posted to each site should be clearly on-topic and may need to be edited on the site it's being posted on.
  2. The question should be posted to one site first and only cross-posted if it is not receiving enough attention.
  3. It needs to be made clear that the question is a cross-post by linking both questions to each other. Note that this may get one or both of the questions closed, so be prepared to defend them.
  4. When one question is answered acceptably you must post the answer to the second question. Do not allow one question to remain unanswered while the other has an accepted answer.
  5. If one of the sites specifically forbids cross posting, don't attempt this. Be aware you're in a gray area here and you may get downvoted, flagged, attacked or have your question closed and deleted. You'll need to accept this if it happens.

The way I see it, if these rules are followed then cross-posting fits withing Stack Exchange's goal of "making the internet a better place" by providing useful content to multiple communities that are interested in it. It increases the visibility of the knowledge and makes it more likely that you and others will find the answer. However this only works provided the answers are linked and both are updated; if one question is allowed to get stale then you're making the internet a worse place, not better.

I have successfully cross-posted like this once or twice. I can find examples if people want them.

Also the above is my opinion as a community member, not as a moderator, because Cog Sci does not have an official policy on this yet. (This question will help us determine our official policy)

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