"Pardon me," said the protruding nail to the hammer above.

While I understand (and agree with) the discouraging of posting a question on more than one Stack Exchange site, why is it frowned upon by some to post a question here and on the ESRI support forums?

Is there a rule, unwritten or otherwise, that requests and requires that any question posted here not be found on any other forum regardless of how closely tied it is with Stack Exchange?

I have seen posts and comments that finger-wag at a user for having a question on both GIS SE and the Esri support forums. In my mind, these two entities are far enough apart that it is right and proper to expect useful (and perhaps different) information to arise from asking in both locations.

On that note, is it also considered bad form to simply link to another answer on a non Stack Exchange site?

It seems that having all the answers here, whether they appear elsewhere or not, is the ultimate goal of a Q&A website.

If my logic is flawed and wayward, please guide me back!

  • I figured this issue has been discussed at meta.SO but with respect to how stackoverflow relates to MSDN forums, but a quick search didn't turn up anything. I did find this though, which might happen here once Esri re-instates their point system. Unlike SE, Esri's forums are not community commons, so it might make sense to encourage liberal use of quotations in addition to a simple link. Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 16:38
  • The "finger wagging" might be in the eye of the beholder. My take is that some people think it worthwhile on occasion to point out that a question has been posted on the ESRI site, but they are not necessarily suggesting that is a bad thing to do.
    – whuber
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 20:59
  • @whuber A finger wag in the eye, indeed. Perhaps I am blowing this out of proportion, but the information unearthed so far has been worth the inquiry.
    – Nathanus
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 21:15
  • I'm not criticizing the inquiry! I only urge caution in the characterization of comments on this site (especially when you haven't offered any specific examples for examination). It's always worthwhile to remember that because we can't actually "frown" in a text medium, impressions of intent or hidden meaning in a comment can sometimes be misleading.
    – whuber
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 21:19
  • @whuber I don't mean to come off defensive. Apologies if so. And even if I misunderstood the intent of the comments that encouraged this, the generalization has lead to interesting discussion at any rate, yes?
    – Nathanus
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 21:25

3 Answers 3


I cross post questions in multiple venues when I think it makes sense to do so. The goal is to get answers. To restrict oneself to one site is like looking for one's car keys under the lamp post because that is where the light is better, instead of in the dark laneway where they were dropped. There are many knowledgeable and helpful people who have no interest at all in visiting and contributing to GIS.se, and that is okay.

I make note of the cross post in the posts, and try to be mindful of updating both threads when significant information comes to light (a solution for instance). It is important to credit the sources across the sites being used.

What is frowned upon is cross posting in an impatient and thoughtless manner, e.g. no one answered my plea for help in less than a day here so I'll ask the same on Stack Overflow and ESRI Forums and CartoTalk ...

  • 4
    Why would it be frowned upon to post the same question at the same time on ESRI and GIS.se? They are completely different resources, in my understanding. It seems less like impatience and more like casting a wide net with eyes open for activity.
    – Nathanus
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 18:48
  • 3
    Some have been known to broadcast their pleas for help more or less indiscriminately and simultaneously in all directions. The "at the same time" part of my example is not as significant as lack of thought put into the questions and lack of follow up afterwards. Simultaneity is but one marker. Think of spam. ALL IN CAPS by itself is not enough, but put that together with 'erectile dysfunction' and a picture we're headed for the junk folder. Not all junk mail filters wait for multiple markers to decide something is garbage and act on the presence of a single flag. Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 19:22
  • So it's more that you feel that, in some instances, the quality of question, when combined with the dispersal of help-seeking, can lead to questions that are of less use to either community and the user herself?
    – Nathanus
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 14:32
  • yes that's it . Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 14:49

Within the Stack Exchange network, we strongly discourage this practice; you should only ask on one site.

The absolute worst form of this is the copy-pasted question. However, if you legitimately tailor your question to the different audiences on each site, and make it specific to those sites, it can be OK to ask multiple Stack Exchange sites.

As far as outside resources go, we can't stop anyone from asking here and on the ESRI forums. As Matt said in his answer, if you religiously update both places when you get an answer, I guess that works. But knowing what I do about human nature, I suspect that does not happen a heck of a lot in practice, so at best what you get is an answer in one place and dangling questions everywhere else.

Therefore I would strongly hesitate to bless asking on multiple sites anywhere, whether they are on our network or not.

  • Hi Jeff - Here's a question on parenting.SE that overlaps a bit with gis.SE: What type of tracking technology is practical for young children? Is there some way this can be tagged so that gis.SE community members can more readily see it? Simply telling the OP to post on gis.SE might not be the best solution - a good answer would likely include aspects of both parenting and GIS. Commented Apr 29, 2011 at 13:22
  • @kirk I don't agree; the question should be specifically tailored to the individual audiences. "parents" is not the same as "GIS professionals." This idea of a one-size-fits-all-good-for-any-audience question is just .. toxic. Commented Apr 30, 2011 at 3:37
  • OK, after a bit of digging I was able to add the "Tracking" tag from parenting.SE to my filter in the cross site tags. This is a powerful tool and needs more exposure, especially for overlap with SO. When I have a question about, Esri's REST API, I'm not sure if it concerns an idiosyncracy of Esri, or is just a generic REST question. If I post on SO and tag with arcgis-rest-api, then add the tag to my filter, would a SO mod see that it is used as a cross site tag filter and think twice before deleting? I'd like to encourage Esri REST experts on gis.SE to add cross-site tags. Commented Apr 30, 2011 at 15:24

Perhaps there could be a feature where you can ask the same question in two different SE sites and link them together so answers from either site will be reflected in both - so long as you have sufficient reputation in both sites.

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