Now that MathOverflow is within a flag for moderator away, comes the question.

Suppose that you post a question on MSE, and it's a good question and you get some positive feedback. However nothing remotely close to an answer has come by.

Until a few weeks ago, the standard course of action was to consider cross-posting the question to MO with indication that the question was originally asked on MSE with the link. In some, albeit not all, cases an answer eventually arrives (and then posted back on MSE at times).

But now that MO is within a flag reach, what should be the standard course of action? Should we accept people cross-posting still, or should be consider it better etiquette for the OP to flag and ask for migration?

Pro flagging:

  • The reason cross-posting was reasonable before was that migration was impossible, but now it is possible.
  • Asking questions on two sites is generally frowned upon. In particular sites with such a large user base.
  • Not migrating the question may feel as if the user is trying to preserve their reputation on both sites, which seems a bit unfair somehow.

Pro cross-posting:

  • Some users have made it absolutely clear that they do not want to post on MO, and robbing them from the possibility to answer a question (in the case the cross-post wasn't already answered) is unfair.
  • Answers on MO may be laconic and consist on references, whereas difficult questions on MSE may receive longer and more elaborate answers which may appeal to the novice, rather than the expert.
  • Votes on MathOverflow have a different "flavor" than the votes here. Some questions which are poorly received on MO can take a lot of upvotes here. Migrating a question which is highly voted can cause discrepancy between the voting philosophy and user opinion on MO.

Question: What should be considered the proper etiquette in the case where a user wants to have his question asked on MathOverflow? Should they flag for a moderator to migrate the question, or should they just cross-post it to MO?

  • $\begingroup$ If anyone wonders, here's what I consider an example for the situation: mathoverflow.net/questions/136627/… $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 23:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "robbing them from the possibility to answer a question" isn't really a problem. (a) Such a user can post an MSE version of the question, with attribution and instant self-answer. This way, we get a second copy of the post only if it is actually needed. (b) The scenario in (a) will not happen often anyway. ... That said, I don't think we can have a rule either way. E.g., some unanswered questions acquire junk in comments and non-answers, which would be embarrassing to put on MO. Posting a cleaned-up, MO-targeted version may be better in such a case. $\endgroup$
    – 40 votes
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ Didn't I already answer a version of this question here? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 8:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Willie: No. You addressed the technical part of the migration. I want to discuss the "sociological" part of it, and of cross-posting. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 11:19
  • $\begingroup$ You wrote: Not migrating the question may feel as if the user is trying to preserve their reputation on both sites, which seems a bit unfair somehow. Similarly, migrating can be seen as an attempt to transfer reputation from one site to the other. (Perhaps it is easier to earn upvotes on MSE than on MO.) We shouldn't care too much about reputation, from some discussions at MO I see that some users there think that it is good to have some barrier protecting MO from users asking too easy questions. (cont...) $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ (...cont) But I guess that most of the questions which did not receive any answer at MSE will not be viewed as too easy at MO. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin: That's also a good point. I'm not sure what are the effects of migrations on votes and reputation actually. In either case, I think that the second comment is correct. Questions that weren't answered on MSE for a while, and did get some feedback, are probably reasonable for MO. I think that people on MO are usually more lenient towards questions that were asked on MSE and didn't get an answer after a week or so, as it seems that the OP is not trying to "rush into an answer". $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 10:37
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Question and answer votes are preserved on the destination site and are cast by the Community user. These migrated votes will confer reputation. From Do migrated questions migrate reputation and badges? at meta.SO. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin: Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ There is also a feature request: Reset votes on migrated questions, which is tagged as status-declined. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ One more possible argument pro cross-posting. If the question is left on both sites; when such question is asked again, the system may offer it among similar questions while preparing the post. So that might lower the probability of asking duplicate questions. (This argument seems rather weak to me, but I still thought it was worth pointing out.) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 4:59


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