FAQ: Is it OK if I cross-post?



Cross posting between community and other sites

Avoid cross-posting to other websites. If you must, then link to those other posts, and update with any solutions
Not doing so is generally considered to be rude - someone might spend their time answering the question on StackOverflow, for example, when it’s already been answered here. And once you have an answer in one place, it's polite to update all of your questions accordingly.

Cross-posting on community.rstudio.com

We ask that you do not post your question to multiple categories on community.rstudio.com.
If you struggle to determine which category to plus your questions under, choose your best guess while tagging all related topics. Multiple duplicate posts will be flagged by our spam filter and automatically hidden.

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Hi @EconomiCurtis so the guideline is:

  • avoid cross-posting here and on SO (or SuperUser, etc.) as much as possible
  • but if you really have to, always link to the question(s) in the other forum(s), and link to the accepted answer once you get one.



On your first bullet point, I would disagree now. I think folks should feel free to cross-post to other websites. There used to be a line (which I just took out) that said we discouraged inter-website cross-posting. That line came out of a discussion a few months back after we saw lots of this behavior. I think one new trend in the community is to try to help people newer to R and data-science to get comfortable with asking & answering questions to Stack Overflow. Therefore I felt it okay to remove that line. But if you disagree and feel we should more strictly prohibit between-website postings, please let us know.

The guideline here came out of two issues we've experienced:

  1. People posted here, and to SO and google-groups. Often we'd see people spend a lot of time answering a question that had already been handled well at another place. Duplicating effort like that just seems impolite. Hence the guideline to link to other cross-posts.
  2. Cross-posting within community.rstudio.com is still a big no-no. Lots of people were posting identical or near-identical questions to multiple categories on community.rstudio.com. That's just spammy and unnecessary. Hence the strict prohibition on community cross-posting.

Thanks for the clarifying question. I rewrote the FAQ hopefully making this more clear.


Oh, no, I don't disagree at all :grinning: If cross-posting with SO or other websites is allowed now, that's fine for me: I also agree about not cross-posting within the community.

Actually I seemed to recall a message (or maybe it was a tweet?) from @hadley last year, stating that cross-posting between community.rstudio.co and other websites would be ok, because the idea was to have a more friendly and welcoming environment. Then I read the FAQs here, and it looked like I remembered it wrongly, so that's why I asked. Good to know that we can cross-post!


Basically, we ask that you do so not as a last resort, per se, but sparingly. Rather than post the same thing here and elsewhere from the getgo, post one place, and if you have trouble getting help/get redirected, post here, but be sure to link to the other posting/keep both ends updated with any solution.

Part of being a friendly, welcoming environment is respecting the effort everyone puts into helping one another, which certainly includes making sure no one wastes time addressing a problem that's already been solved elsewhere.

EDIT: Oh, just saw @EconomiCurtis' post above:

I ~stand by my point re. immediate cross-posting — definitely when it comes to filing GitHub issues, at least, and give things some minimum lag time between sites. There's no way to keep track of things simultaneously…


Re. the point above, I think this recent paper, a collaboration between researchers at StackOverflow and Denae Ford (who does a lot of cool stuff in this area), is relevant:
“We Don’t Do That Here”: How Collaborative Editing with Mentors Improves Engagement in Social Q&A Communities

I think the findings are in line with what you're saying, but that it should be very clear when someone is asking for help with asking a question (among other things, for navigation purposes). Of course in the course of answering questions, this occurs naturally, and the format of this site allows for that. But, if that's the primary aim, I think it behooves everyone to be clear about that from the onset.

Full citation:
Ford, Denae, Kristina Lustig, Jeremy Banks, Chris Parnin, and North Carolina. 2018. “‘We Don’t Do That Here’: How Collaborative Editing with Mentors Improves Engagement in Social Q & A Communities.” In CHI 2018. Montreal, QC, Canada: ACM. doi:10.1145/3173574.3174182.


My reply was based on the new, edited FAQs. I wrote

Good to know that we can cross-post!

for brevity, but in the context of the discussion I meant

Good to know that we can cross-post, provided of course that we include links to those other posts and we share the accepted answer across sites.

Anyway, I'm fine with whatever (does it sound rude in English? If so, apologies, I'll edit it away: it's just a sentence a coworker of mine uses often, and it sounds like fun, so I wanted to use it :slightly_smiling_face:): either cross-posting or not. I surely don't want to be disrespectful or to waste people's time.

To err on the side of cautiosness, I won't cross-post unless I really have to.


Definitely a legit sentence in English (and one that I use regularly). My bad on missing that Curtis had changed the initial FAQ. It sounds like you totally get the reasons why/why not, I'm trying to be explicit in part since this is an FAQ thread, and I hope/think others will get the rationale, too! :slightly_smiling_face: