Please stop cross posting behavior from biostars.org, where new questions are immediately transferred to this site. If you think you need this to boost your question count over the required threshold, please think twice. What you are doing is cross posting and it will trigger the same effects as cross-posts by OP: annoying both communities and doubling the work-load. While the content license of Biostars (CC-BY-SA) technically allows you to do this, consider that this is not a sustainable way to create traffic.

-- You needed 150 questions for the public beta for example, you got 147. You want these to be genuine traffic as much as possible. If you want to take over questions, I suggest to focus on those that are specifically complex, have no answer, or not a sufficient answer, and try to answer them here, we will then possibly put the answer on both sites to allow it to be complete and searchable.

  • $\begingroup$ So far, I have seen that cross-posted posted questions have been flagged. Could you provide an example? The only questions that really are migrated are from reddit. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Kamil here is the example I am referring to: bioinformatics.stackexchange.com/questions/508/… $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 9:22
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Why not? While I haven't done so, I see this as simply helping both communities. For example, I personally find biostars very hard to understand and have trouble finding the answer I want since it is too often buried in a long comment thread. I see nothing wrong with re-asking here and posting a clear answer. Conversely, I also see nothing wrong with taking a useful question from here and posting it on biostars. Could you explain your argument for this being harmful? $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 9:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ OK, granted, your example is particularly egregious since it is a very specific question and the text was copied verbatim(!). But would you also object to asking the same question (as opposed to blatantly copying it)? $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 9:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't think SE encourages cross-posting generally meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/266053/… $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 9:58
  • $\begingroup$ @terdon, I'd just wait for while and focus on generating added value by using open questions instead of answered ones. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael Ah I did not see this. I am not sure what to think about it... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 10:05
  • $\begingroup$ @KamilSJaron I think it just looks bad... $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael yes, absolutely. I had posted my first comment before checking the specific question you linked to. I was thinking more along the lines of basic, general questions like "how do I convert sam to bam" or "how can I extract specific sequences from a multifasta file" and the like. Blindly copying a very specific question like this seems pointless, yes. Especially when the quoted text isn't put in a quote block. $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 10:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is an interesting shift from the last discussion about this. It's not an approach that I felt comfortable with (despite the encouragement), but think it was good to stir the hornets nest right at the start to cement the community position (or more correctly, the Stack Exchange position). $\endgroup$
    – gringer Mod
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 12:28
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @gringer I think nobody expected you to actually repeat the entire question verbatim or to take such specific questions for which you couldn't provide clarification. I, at least, was thinking more along the lines of reasking the question as opposed to just copy/pasting it here. The difference would be that you'd make the question your own. Questions whose poster can't provide more details or guide the answerers aren't very useful. (please note that this isn't an attack on you, I know you were trying to help and the previous conversation did indeed suggest that it might be ok). $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 12:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I would be for verbatim copy-paste of questions, but al least they should be older and without good answer. You can not possibly claim that it is doubling an effort if it is already "closed" question on BioStar. The problem with this particular case is, that it was very fresh question and people still actively discussing the question even it was already answered here. -edit- I would call it "verbatim question grave digging"! $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 15:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I doubt that the question would have got the attention it did if there wasn't all this discussion about it. It was a "wall of text" question by a completely new user, with two answers already. It just so happened to be that the answers were incorrect (and already dealt with in the question). The wall of text was also useful (a classic XY problem -- looking for consistency vs Geneious mapping, rather than multiple alignments). My subsequent condensing/rewriting changed the question such that it was no longer useful to the original questioner for the specific problem. $\endgroup$
    – gringer Mod
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ @gringer perhaps but your (excellent) answer will be useful to future users. $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ FYI Am I allowed to indicate crosspost links in my questions on Stack Exchange? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


As far as I can see, there is a single occurrence of this, and the “perpetrator” even remarks:

I'm being a bit cheeky with this post, mostly to gauge whether or not the community thinks it's a good idea to do this.

Fair enough. For what it’s worth, I agree with you, Michael: I don’t think it’s a good idea to do it1.

If you think you need this to boost your question count over the required threshold, please think twice

This may have been the motivation in the past but a much more interesting question would be how we handle future cross-postings from people who want to increase the reach of their own question: condone or forbid? Different communities handle this in various ways but I’d be tempted to allow it here.

1 I feel differently for questions from Reddit, because Reddit is a discussion forum, not a Q&A site, and getting good, technical answers on Reddit can be challenging.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is marked as the answer. Do I take its that this means we allow cross posting (i.e. users post the same question, here and shortly after having posted it elsewhere, particularly if it has a perfectly good answer there.) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 12:01
  • $\begingroup$ @IanSudbery I honestly don’t know. I find it vaguely excessive to cross-post to BioStars and here, since these two platforms are, for all intents and purposes, competition. I still think it’s less of a problem for Reddit etc. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 12:11
  • $\begingroup$ I recent question was posted on BioStars, where it promptly got an answer. It appears the user didn't like the answer, because the question appeared here shortly after it was answered there. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ This post from Fall 2017 might be the latest word, and in July 2017 it appears we still don't have explicit consensus from the moderators. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 20:26

I think copying content from other sites is fine, but only under certain specific conditions:

  1. If a question, it should be a question you have too; it should not be something very specific to the particular person who happened to ask on the original site. If you post a question, you should be in a position to provide any clarification that might be asked of you so it should be something affecting you as well.

  2. If you do end up copying text verbatim, it must be not only attributed (of course) but also clearly marked by placing it in a quote block:

    This is a quote

  3. We shouldn't do this just to repeat questions. It only makes sense for really general, basic things like "How can I convert bam to sam" or "How can I extract a given set of sequences from a multifasta file" and things like this.

  4. Ideally, don't copy the original text. If you want to ask the same question, ask it again. I mean rephrase it, make it your own. Don't just copy/paste someone else's question.

  5. When it comes to answers, things are a bit different. If a given question has already been answered well elsewhere, then it might indeed make sense to copy the answer over verbatim but only if point 2 is met: clear attribution and all quoted text in a quote box.

  6. If you do copy an answer, it would be polite (although not essential, strictly speaking) to mark it as community wiki. This means that:

    • You won't get any reputation for it. Posting the work of others shouldn't be done for reputation gains.
    • It lowers the bar on editing and is a clear invitation to the community to edit and improve your post. That way we can really make the copied content our own.

If these criteria are met, I don't see anything wrong with copying since we will be doing it in a way that, I hope, will harm neither community and may in fact end up helping both.

  • $\begingroup$ I couldn't work out how to mark my questions as community wiki. The information you linked to only talks about answers being set as this. $\endgroup$
    – gringer Mod
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ Please note that the "community wiki" feature has been largely deprecated, and is no longer used for either of these use cases (listed in item #6). $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino how so? The only use the CW still has, as far as I can tell, is as a way to post something you don't want to get rep from. This is still quite common across various sites. And it does put the bar for editing sliiiiightly lower too. So why are you saying it is no longer used for these cases? I've read the "future of the CW" blog post, but that was never very clear. It does, however, quite clearly state that CW should be used for collaborative answers which is precisely what my second point here is. So what am I missing? $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 9:28
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino no longer used by whom? Do you now forbid users from marking their answers as CW? This is really new to me, and better post announcement on MSE so that users will know of this new SE policy. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:19
  • $\begingroup$ @ShadowWizard Nobody said forbid anything. Community wiki should not be used to deprive or remove rep for an answer (as suggested here), but a user can (still) make their post community wiki. Wiki isn't particularly recommended for anything that isn't covered by other features. Collaborative answers usually means someone summarizing other answers posted below which also tends to break things like voting. If we looked it the issue close enough, we'd probably remove it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Robert "should not be used" said by SE employee officially is forbidding. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino "Community wiki should not be used to deprive or remove rep for an answer (as suggested here),": why? That's the only valid use I can think of for it these days and it certainly is used like that very often on many sites. And half the reason I am proposing CW here is for collaborative answers. I don't understand you reasoning against this. $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino also, I don't understand the distinction you'er making between using CW to "remove rep from an answer" and "a user can make their post CW". I am suggesting that a user make their post CW, not that someone forcibly does so for them. And I am not even saying the user should, only that it would be considered polite. What you are describing is news to me and to other in the TL I discussed it with and seems to contradict other meta posts by employees. Please clarify. $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino I would appreciate some feedback on this. Your position is at odds with that expressed by other employees, other experienced users of the network and other mods. Your statement that CW isn't used for those 2 purposes is flat out wrong since it is indeed used that way quite often. Perhaps you mean that it shouldn't be used that way, but if so, please explain why. $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ @terdon Yes, I'm saying it should not be used that way. The variations we come up with for "you don't really 'deserve' the reputation for posting that here" is what propagates the misuse of wiki. Of course, folks are free to make their own posts wiki if they want, but suggesting it's the right thing to do in these cases is not aligned with the deprecation of that feature. Community wiki is still around because someone always cites some rare exception where it was useful eons ago, but if we looked at the issue close enough, I'm sure we could get rid of the feature entirely. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino it would be great if you could post something on meta.se about this then because I've seen answers by other employees defending a different position and the general consensus in the TL when we discussed this a few days ago was also in agreement with what I'm suggesting. In any case, at least on Unix & Linux and Ask Ubuntu, using CW when posting an answer consisting entirely of someone else's work (the OP put an answer in a question, for example) is standard procedure and has been for a while. If the official stance is against that, the user base has not realized it. $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ @terdon I'm not going to do that. My role these days is to guide new sites, and I find it better to pass along thought processes through conversation as issues come up... rather than turning everything into a epic, sweeping edict. Unfortunately, if we don't flesh out the issue to an exhaustive degree, folks tend to get worked up over outlier issues and minutia. We haven't done that yet, so that's why the feature remains. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino fair enough, I thought you were issuing a (polite and restrained) "decree" which is why I asked for clarification. Still, CW does need some clarification. I guess I'll open a meta discussion when I get the chance. Anyway, thanks for the clarification. $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ @terdon I should probably preface these wth "this isn't our current way of thinking..." We have been really terrible at keeping the conversation going as features/issues evolve (at least compared to "the old days"), so when we virtually abandon incremental improvements and ongoing discussions until things reach near-crisis levels... we write really long (virtually unreadable IMO) meta posts about it. I hope to change that... soon. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 19:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .