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In many cases, a good answer to the worldbuilding question would result from a good Q&A on a real scientific site (e.g. What efficiencies make a realistic food chain? on Biology.SE)

Do we have a policy on doing just that (e.g. taking Worldbuilding question, and rewording it to be a real SE question - such as on Biology SE: "what's a realistic amount of food material that apex and non-apex predators require", perhaps using specific ecosystem example; and then posting a WB.SE answer based on that?

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  • $\begingroup$ At the moment there is no policy, beyond the general desire common to stack exchange not to see questions cross-posted. Do you have a policy in mind? $\endgroup$ – Tim B Oct 6 '14 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB - not sure. I can see pros and cons of either yes or no policy. I personally would like a "yes" policy, but that's biased - it would let me farm rep because i'm very good at re-formulating questions to fit specific SE sites; whereas a "no" policy means i have no way of answering let's say a biology question that I have no deep field expertise for $\endgroup$ – user4239 Oct 6 '14 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ Are there any existing stack exchange policies along these lines? We aren't the first site with overlap after all... $\endgroup$ – Tim B Oct 6 '14 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ "Reworking it to be a real SE question"? The question is just as real here as there, so I don't understand the distinction you're trying to make. If you just mean "is it ok to do outside research (on other SE sites) to answer questions here?", I've seen that before with no objections, so I don't see why not. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Oct 6 '14 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio - I'm 99% sure that a 100Kg imaginary flying apex predator who eats hawks would NOT go over well on Biology.SE. <g> $\endgroup$ – user4239 Oct 6 '14 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sure it wouldn't. But are you saying that a question about that here isn't a "real" question? I hope not. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Oct 6 '14 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB - not really. The issue is not simply overlap, but using one site's answers to answer another site; as well. (the overlap itself is usually allowed ONLY if the questions are explicitly tailored to each site) $\endgroup$ – user4239 Oct 6 '14 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio - it isn't a real Biology.SE question. Or not a good one, anyway, as literally formulated. Too broad. $\endgroup$ – user4239 Oct 6 '14 at 15:43
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Yes.

Caveat: Provided that we formulate the specialist SE site questions well, to be GOOD on topic questions AND judiciously synthecize good World-building answers instead of mere copy/pasting the SE answers here.

Pros:

  • It lets us build much much better answers, by leveraging scientific field expertise of relevant SE sites which our site might have in significantly lower amounts (we may have biology experts or strong amateurs, but a lot less of them).

    E.g. the example question I gave had some postulated biology based answers that were NOT backed up by any supplied research. Doesn't necessarily make them bad answers, but clearly not excellent ones either.

  • If we are judicious in how we formulate questions, we enrich the sister SE sites by seeding them with interesting and good quality questions which allow for great answers.

Cons:

  • If this isn't done well, we end up with literal cross-site duplicates. Not a great state of affairs.

    However, this is mitigated by the fact that a great world-building answer would build on the $Science.SE answer, adding actual worldbuilding content to dry scientific fact it uses as a basis.

  • It lets people farm rep on this site by basically leveraging expertise of others "for free". See the old "Well, my contract will cost $10,000. $4k for you, $4k for me, and for $2k we subcontract the guy from Texas who said he'd do it for $2,000" joke.

    This is mitigated by the fact that the main goal of the site is to generate awesome answers with good information, and not to prevent anyone except deep SM experts from earning rep.

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  • $\begingroup$ Overall I agree with you, well reasoned. I think they key point though is that the question needs to be reformulated for that site and then built on in worldbuilding. Questions and answers shouldn't be crossposted as-is. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Oct 6 '14 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB - yes, see the caveat I added in the later edit :) $\endgroup$ – user4239 Oct 6 '14 at 15:36
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If a question is actually reworked such that an answer to one variant is not an answer to another variant (for whatever reason), then by definition it is not a duplicate, on-site or cross-site. (They can, however, very much be related, and I would encourage adding appropriate links.) Just make sure to attribute content appropriately. I can't see much reason why a question on Worldbuilding SE couldn't make people curious about how it would work in our real world and there is no reason to stop them from asking on the science-based sites such as Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy, Earth Science, Space Exploration, or what have you. I'm betting this happens already, but Worldbuilding SE is more likely to be a source of such questions.

However, cross-posting the same question to multiple sites is very much frowned upon on the network. At least one Stack Exchange site, the Unix & Linux SE, even has it as a specific close reason:

This question has been posted on multiple sites. Cross-posting is strongly discouraged; see the help center and community FAQ for more information.

The proper way to move a question from one site to another, absent established migration paths (which involve closing as off-topic, and which are added only if there is a significant number of questions which are good fits for specific other SE sites), is to flag the question for moderator attention and request migration to a desired target site. The moderator handling the flag is likely to seek guidance from the moderators on the desired target site as to whether the question would be welcome there, unless they are active on the target site as well and know whether it is likely to be, and then act on that judgement.

In fact, the latter (not cross-posting, and how to migrate) is currently specifically mentioned in the proposed help center "what questions can I ask here?" text. (In case it gets changed later, this is the most recent revision at the time which includes that text, and this is the revision that introduced it.)

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