I'm asking about this question (U&L) which was recently posted again here (AU).

Gilles once stated that cross-posting between UL and anywhere is against the FAQ/on-topic guidelines which specifically mention and strongly discourage it.

The Ask Ubuntu policy, according to Oli, one of Ask Ubuntu's mods, is that TLDR, it's okay/tolerated in some cases but is discouraged.

The AskUbuntu help center does not explicitly mention cross-posting.

Is this question designated off-topic here or there? Will/should anything be done?

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    Yes. It should be closed.
    – jasonwryan
    Jan 21, 2016 at 1:20
  • @jasonwryan What should I flag it as?
    – cat
    Jan 21, 2016 at 1:21
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    Off-Topic > Posted on multiple SE sites...
    – jasonwryan
    Jan 21, 2016 at 1:23
  • @jasonwryan I flagged it for mod attention with a relevant note because there is no option "Off-topic"; perhaps because it has an open bounty?
    – cat
    Jan 21, 2016 at 1:24
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    Yep: "This question has an open bounty and cannot be closed" Meh...
    – jasonwryan
    Jan 21, 2016 at 1:27
  • @jasonwryan why should it be closed? That is not a cross-posted question by the rules of SE. Cross-posting only covers copy/pasting the same question on multiple SE sites. See my answer below for references.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 21, 2016 at 7:29
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    @terdon Minor tweaking doesn't hide the intent: to draw as many eyeballs as possible to the question. Now you'll have the same question (essentially) returning two different results in search engines--probably, given SE rankings, #1 and #2-- undoubtedly with quite different answers.
    – jasonwryan
    Jan 21, 2016 at 7:33
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    @jasonwryan the OP is using 3 distributions. All three are on topic here, only one is on topic on AU. The answers could also be different since each has different tools. In any case, the question as asked here would be off topic on AU while the one asked there is on topic. That is enough to make them different already. If you have two different answers, so much the better. The AU one can help Ubuntu users and the one here can help those with different distros. I don't see a problem.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 21, 2016 at 7:39

2 Answers 2


My take here is slightly different. I don't consider that question to be cross-posted at all. While it is true that posting the same question on multiple sites of the network is frowned upon, posting different versions of the same question to target the different audiences on each target site is not. This has been mentioned in various places by various Stack Exchange employees:

  • Robert Cartaino (Director of Community Development for the Stack Exchange Network)

    If you do not receive an adequate answer, then it might be okay to ask your question again to another group of users — as long as the question is on topic and appropriate for that second site.

    But cutting-and-pasting between two sites is never okay. If you want a different perspective, you should phrase the question specifically for that group.

  • Jeff Attwood (co-founder of SE)

    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.

  • Shog9 (Community Manager for Stack Exchange)

    Cross-posting is discouraged when it's someone spamming multiple sites without bothering to identify the appropriate audience or tailor the question for each site, but if you have a question that hasn't been well-answered on one site - whether that's another SE site or something external - re-asking it in a more appropriate venue is perfectly fine.

  • Jeff again

    It is also ok to ask two different versions of a question but you MUST tailor it to the audience on that site. Copying and pasting would put you on the road to account suspension.

My interpretation of all the above and various other meta threads I've read over the years is that bad cross-posting is posting the exact same question on multiple sites. Posting different versions of the same question on multiple sites is fine.

In this case, the OP took the time to modify their question to fit the different audiences. They didn't do a direct copy/paste. Granted, the original version of the question was more similar (OK, almost identical) but the current incarnations of the two questions are quite different.

In addition, the OP has tried three different distributions. Mint, Elementary and Xubuntu. The first two are explicitly off topic on Ask Ubuntu but on topic here. He therefore quite correctly posted the two versions on different sites. This seems to me to be precisely what we want our users to do.


Will close when the bounty ends, and potentially migrate to AU depending on what happens on their end in the meantime

There's less consensus on migrating it than I expected; sounds like we're going to leave both posts open on their respective sites

  • Oh, wow, even mods can't close during a bounty? That seems silly to me.
    – cat
    Jan 21, 2016 at 1:39
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    @cat Not without refunding the bounty, which we don't generally do, particularly when it's almost over Jan 21, 2016 at 1:46
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    We can't migrate. The question on U&L asks about Mint and Elementary, both of which are explicitly off topic on AU.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 21, 2016 at 7:36

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