Earlier today, I answered Change the number of entries depending on a theme setting. This particular question is a near duplicate (but not an exact) of a question I had answered on SO.

Without giving it much thought, I just posted a link to the answer on SO, and this answer was deleted. Subsequently, I added a new answer and tailored it for the situation here. I have no problem with the original answer being deleted, but it did raise a question.

If a question is a exact or near duplicate of a question on the main SO site, what is the proper response. Answer again? Refer to the answer on SO in an answer? In a comment?

  • Unfortunately, you can't close a question as duplicate of a question on another site. Similar case: I've seen multiple questions asked both here and on SE by the same user at the same time. I think that should be discouraged and one of those closed as a duplicate of the other because otherwise the answers are split on both questions but it doesn't seem to be supported. So I'm not sure.. – Berdir Jun 17 '11 at 0:04

A few things that might be relevant:

  1. If the question is extremely on-topic here and you feel strongly that it belongs here on Drupal Answers, you can definitely flag the SO question to be migrated here. We moderators are happy to migrate great questions that are strong matches to network sites, to help them grow and prosper. (Stack Overflow has, if anything, too many questions..)

  2. It's OK to have some duplication, both on the site itself, across the network, and across the internet -- bottom line, duplication is not automatically evil and wrong.

  3. But ask yourself: what kind of duplicate is it? The strongest case for duplicates is when the questions (and answers) are subtly different. This means people who ask the question with different words, or are looking for an alternate answer from a totally different audience, have options.

  • Thanks Jeff. This make very clear on how to handle this. – mpdonadio Jun 17 '11 at 12:54

It's perfectly fine if similar questions are asked on two different SE sites, where the questions are on-topic.

Answering the question with a link to the other question, or to an answer for another question is not a good practice. An answer with a link is generally considered not an answer, on SE sites. If the linked page is not reachable for any reason, the answer would not be helpful at all; in the case the link is to a question on another SE site, the question could be closed because, for example, is a duplicate of another question. Answers should be useful independently from external websites that could be later closed.

Answering to a question on Drupal Answers with a link to another question on Stack Overflow, especially if the question on Stack Overflow has already an accepted answer, means to "push" the user to go to Stack Overflow, instead of using Drupal Answers, and that is not really what we want to happen.

If both the questions on Drupal Answers and Stack Overflow are asked from the same user, who asked the question on the one site before anybody could answer to the question asked in the other site, then I think that is a different case. In such cases, I report on Stack Overflow that the asked question is being asked before anybody could answer the same question the user asked on Drupal Answers.

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