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    • CommentAuthornaramsey
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2011
    This is an ongoing curiosity of mine, as I see folks hawkishly point out crossposts on this forum.

    I'm (barely) old enough to recall the USENET days, in which some clients/readers made it all too easy to post on any number of groups by just entering a comma-separated of them before posting (this was before the days when virtually all internet content was web-based, i.e. ultimately served via html). The result was a real trend toward the position that crossposting was bad etiquette.

    My impression is that this sort of lazy "cover as wide a ground as possible" crossposting is less of an issue these days, as people have to go to separate websites and type their question in (or at least copy and paste it). At very least it doesn't seem to be much of an issue on this forum, where there is usually just the occasional MSE crosspost.

    Are people actually bothered by this practice or just kowtowing to an internet anachronism? If so, why?

    For what it's worth, I've never crossposted anything. I'm just curious why people seem to feel so strongly about it.

    -Emily Postscript

    Oh, wait, I mean:

    • CommentAuthorHenry Cohn
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2011
    I think cross-posting without notification is an actual problem. For example, I don't spend as much time looking at math.SE as I do at MO, so I probably won't notice if something is silently cross-posted there. If someone posts to both and gets a good answer on math.SE, I don't want to waste my time telling them the same thing on MO.

    With notification and a link to the other post, it is certainly much less of a problem, but I (think?) I understand why it is unpopular. It can come across as kind of desperate and demanding ("I want to make sure everyone out there sees my question as soon as possible, to maximize the chances of a quick answer") or unreasonable ("It's been 45 minutes and nobody has answered my question on math.SE, so it is probably too hard for math.SE and should be posted to MO right away"). I'd lean towards encouraging people to try just one MO-like forum at a time.
    • CommentAuthorRyan Budney
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2011 edited

    By posting to many forums you're basically admitting you don't know what forum is appropriate, so you likely haven't spent the time to figure out what each forum is about. You're essentially saying you value your own time more than the time of any of the people that use the forums you're posting to.


    +1 to Henry and Ryan, my thoughts exactly. FWIW, there is also an anti-crossposting policy within the SE 2.0 network (see also here), most of the arguments in the answers there are still applicable (there is no migration mechanism between math.SE and MO, however)

    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2011 edited

    To me the main problem is not the crosspost.

    However, what seems undersirable for me is to have the answers split (and typicaly people won't crosspost the answers). And, this seems for various reasons counterproductive to me.

    I would not like to particularly encourage the following type of behavior, but to get my point accross. If somebody just reposted the question, with an addon this is just for information, if you answer please answer on the other site, I would prefer this over a situation where there is just a double post. [And would have less problem with this.]

    So, I see little reason to have the same question open in parallel on both sites.

    To put it differently, if I advocate closing one half of a double post, it is not to 'punish' the poster, but simply to organize things; there is also hardly anything lost for the OP. If somebody sees the question and has something interesting to add, I assume under most circumstances the person would make the way to the other site.

    To say it still differently: one can also say the mention of the question on the other site is a service to the readers that might otherwise miss out some answers.

    • CommentAuthornaramsey
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2011 edited
    @Henry - That's a good point, I agree that folks who crosspost should make this clear in case there are users who participate on multiple fora that might see their questions.

    @Ryan - I certainly agree that one should do some research before posting to a content-oriented forum such as MO or MSE, but your comment seems predicated on the idea that there is a unique forum for which one's question is appropriate in the first place. There have been a few questions that have straddled the MO-MSE boundary that I've seen (and been reasonably well-received on both). I feel like the root of your objection is that people will submit inappropriate questions to a forum. This is something of a different issue (and agreeably objectionable!).

    To revise: If the question seems appropriate in multiple fora and is annotated as appearing as such, is there an objection to potentially reaching a wider audience via crossposting?

    Again, this is mostly an idle curiosity of mine given the consistent and occasionally strong responses (like closing questions) that some folks have given to issue.

    • CommentAuthornaramsey
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2011
    @quid: Excellent points! I hadn't thought too much of the answer side of things...

    You've already seen answers to your revised question naramsey. The objections are listed above. Quid mentioned fragmentation of answers. Cohn and I mentioned duplication of effort, wasting time, the implied disrespect for the forums themselves and the users. It seems like you just haven't accepted the standard answers that you likely have already heard.

    • CommentAuthornaramsey
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2011
    Lost of interesting comments for me to think about... thanks!

    @Ryan: For what it's worth, only Henry's and your comments had appeared at the time of my writing the comment that responded to (drumroll...) Henry's and your comments! I just hadn't seen some of these "standard" answers. Also, I think you're confusing "implied" with "inferred" here, given the way I've phrased the (revised) question.

    There are indeed several more comments now. They're interesting, and things that I hadn't thought much about. This is what I was looking for.