This question

What is a distribution over functions?

is a duplicate of


but I can't close it as a duplicate since it's been asked on a different site. What should I do? Copying the other answer here seems a waste of space, and closing as off-topic is wrong, IMO.

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    $\begingroup$ Ironically, this post is a duplicate of a post on Meta.SE: What to do with cross-site duplicates?. So I will do what is recommended in the accepted answer there: propose to migrate to Meta.SE, close as duplicate there. Ah, I see that I cannot propose to migrate Meta questions. Mods, please? (Flagged.) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ @StephanKolassa: I think it may be useful to have some discussion here: (1) we may form a consensus differing somewhat from SE Meta, & (2) there are perhaps particular situations arising commonly on CV that merit consideration. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 13:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Scortchi I followed your advice. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaIV
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ Math SE serves as an example here. @Scortchi is clearly right in proposing focus here on any problems specific to CV. It seems that the generic issue is duplicates or near duplicates on CV and any other site, whether accidental or deliberate. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 15:52

2 Answers 2


This applies to examples of duplicates that are not cross-postings by one individual. And, of course, that are on-topic here.

We can't close it as a duplicate, & the post on Maths won't be found by anyone searching CV: a post on another SE site has to be treated in the same way as any other external reference source. So, if that post's useful, link to it in a comment, or in an answer containing at least a brief account of what is to be found there.


This applies to examples of duplicates that are cross-postings by one individual. That is not the case with the original example, but quite often occurs.

If I notice this I usually (should) refer the poster to the advice within https://stats.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic

Please note, however, that cross-posting is not encouraged on SE sites. Choose one best location to post your question. Later, if it proves better suited on another site, it can be migrated.

A related issue is when you notice that (essentially) the same question has been posted in a forum outside Stack Exchange. I usually post a link on CV (or SO, where I am fairly active) to the other discussion and underline that it's polite to tell people about cross-posting elsewhere. And vice versa, if I am active at the other place. Other forums may have policies on cross-posting that may apply. Statalist has an explicit policy that you are asked to tell people about cross-posting.

The principles here are simple, but perhaps worth spelling out:

  1. It can be genuinely difficult, even for people familiar with various sites, to know which is the best place to ask a particular question.

  2. It can be a waste of your time and effort if you answer on one forum when there's already a good answer elsewhere. (There might be some gain for the person answering in the fun or even learning that answering a question imparts, but my guess is that most people tempted to answer a question would rather know if the question has been asked, and so possibly answered, elsewhere.)

  3. People interested in an answer will presumably want to know if an answer may exist elsewhere.

  4. Some people regard cross-posting as offensive in so far as the poster is implying that the community can't be trusted to give a good answer and/or that the poster does not care about, or has not thought carefully enough about, the possibility of duplicated effort. I don't go that far personally -- any offence is usually unintentional -- but it's important that posters know that such opinions exist.

I've encountered the argument that cross-posting is a good idea because very few people use all the sites in question. But it's because that is so that there is a need to tell people about it. Cross-posting would only be obvious if everyone constantly visited every possible site in a field, which isn't the case.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi Nick, thanks for the answer, but just for clarity, the OP didn't cross-post. She just asked on CV a question which is basically identical to a question which had been asked an year before on Math SE by someone else. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaIV
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ I have to confess I jumped to an incorrect conclusion about your example without reading it. (He quickly jumped on a hobby-horse and rode as fast as he could go.) As some people liked my answer I will at least for now flag that this is when the duplicate is a cross-post. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:17
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    $\begingroup$ (+1) I think it'd be a good idea for us to explicitly adopt the same policy as Statalist with regard to off-site cross-posts. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 11:34

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