I raise this matter here because of comments arising against this question and others. I checked several earlier questions by the OP on that link, and in every case, the exact question had been asked previously on different sites.

My starting position is that I really don't like the idea of people trawling other Q&A sites for questions to pose here on ELU. Leading on from that, I'm not keen on people posting questions themselves somewhere else, then posting them here later. It seems to me this is "Duplicate Questions" by another name.

It's probably fair to say that a significant reason why I don't like this behaviour is that it's characteristic of one of our most troublesome trolls. My understanding is most Q&A sites at least take a dim view of multiple posting. Apparently not the current ELU mods, though.

Am I a lone voice here?

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    I understand that you wanted me to leave the comments on those questions, but I feel this might unduly influence the community before we have a chance to discuss it here.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 19:36
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    @KitFox: You also seem to have removed the comment I posted while voting to close this question by the same OP, who had asked exactly the same question here on usingenglish.com an hour or two before. How can I make my point if you keep erasing it? Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 19:56
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    I incorporated the link in the body of the question.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 19:59
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    @FumbleFingers She didn't, I did. What "point" are you making by offering to go on a witch hunt against another user?
    – user10893
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:33
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    @FumbleFingers, with the one I commented on, you had voted to close as off topic. Off topic??? Really? I could see "not a real question" (I wouldn't agree with it, but I could see the logic), but how does anything that's external to ELU affect whether a question is on topic or not?
    – Marthaª
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:39
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    I think the point is that we shouldn't be closing questions just because we don't like them. Vote down, sure, but not close, not unless the question clearly meets one of the closing criteria.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:40
  • @Marthaª: I didn't bother to think about any of the questions in terms of whether I "liked" them or not. Although I must admit I only discovered the duplicate postings because I thought "She reproach me with..." was an unlikely error - so I Googled it, and the rest is history, as they say. Strictly speaking I'd say such questions are "Duplicates", but I can't pick that as a reason if the original isn't even on ELU. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 21:03
  • Do we object when our questions are posted elsewhere (without attribution)? And is that different than posting their questions here? I think reference should always be given to the source of the question.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


I don't have a problem with this, at least on the question you linked. The OP kinda did themselves a disservice by linking their original post on the other forum, but that can be easily remedied.

Why wouldn't we want to be the canonical resource for all questions English, so long as they are good questions? To take the opposite viewpoint would be to say that we exclude all material that's already been asked somewhere else on the Internet. If Wikipedia took this approach, it would be quite a patchy resource indeed.

We don't even take this position with cross-posting on SE (although we do strongly encourage the user to either customize their question to be a glove fit for each site, or confine their posting to a single site). There's no concept of a "cross-site duplicate," nor does the SE software support such a concept.

Consequently, I think the Internet is ultimately a better place if we can concentrate this information in one place, and I think the SE community is better equipped to do this than most other forums.

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    The link to the OP's original question was at the behest of the mods.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:01
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    I personally can't even think of any situation where it would be a problem. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:01
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    If the question had been raised at least a few days earlier on another sire, and if the OP here was able to say why any answer there was unsatisfactory, I might agree with you. But most if not all of the questions I looked at in respect of this OP failed on either or both of those two counts. I don't want to see ELU involved in a "race to the bottom" to see which site answers first. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:04
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    Naturally, any question that doesn't meet EL&U's site standards should be summarily closed and deleted, regardless of its origin. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:18
  • @Robert Harvey: The definition of "site standards" is both vague and flexible. It doesn't currently address the issue of questions raised elsewhere (by the poster on ELU, or by someone else). The issue here is whether on average ELU users have an opinion on whether ELU should allow (or perhaps, encourage) such multiple postings. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 21:07
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    But why would we even be considering activity on other Internet sites that clearly have nothing to do with us? (unless, of course, the question is trivially answerable with a Google search). It's the same reasoning some people take with respect to things like non-disclosure agreements or copyright infringement; those are things that have nothing to do with us, so why would we police them? The answer is (possibly): because they can be harmful to the site, overall. So your argument needs to demonstrate why this particular issue is harmful to EL&U, when it clearly has nothing to do with us. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 21:13
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    In other words, "I don't like it" is not a satisfactory reason. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 21:15

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