I realize someone has already asked us to not copy open ELU questions on purpose.

However, even if that advice is followed, some questions are bound to be asked on ELL that have already been raised on ELU (after all, ELU has 20,000 questions and counting!)

That recently happened with this ELL question (What is the difference between “nope” and “no”?), which is pretty close to an ELU question (Difference between “no” and “nope”).

My question is, what should happen in such cases?

  • Should someone add a link in a comment, just for informational purposes?
  • Should we just remain silent, and let the conversation continue on its own?
  • Might that be grounds for a close vote?
  • Should the questions be merged? If so, should that happen right away, or later on?

I wasn't sure what the best course of action would be, and thought it might be worth soliciting some ideas.

  • That was going to be my exact question as well.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 2:02
  • 2
    @Jim - Post it on ELU Meta! :P
    – Mohit
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 3:23

1 Answer 1


We need to look at the audience of ELL in comparison to that of ELU. The nature of ELL means that the answers here should be inherently different to those on ELU due to the differences in our target audience. This is much the same as stacks like Ask Ubuntu, ServerFault, and SuperUser, where questions there may be on-topic for each but will attract different answers on each.

ELU is geared towards the expert and advanced level questions about English and the answers will generally be written in a scholarly fashion as they are coming from linguists and experts. These answers may be difficult for a non-native speaker of English who is learning the language to easily understand and get the information they need.

Where a question is posted on both sites and is on-topic for both, I think we should keep it open. There are a number of discussions on MSO (2 3) and P.SE about this and it seems that there are some mixed opinions.

As far as I'm aware there is no way to close a question as a cross-site duplicate, and we shouldn't be doing that anyway. We can add a comment to a question that links to the similar question on ELU (for reference purposes) but then we should let the discussion continue.

It should be fairly obvious when a question posted here really does belong on ELU, especially where the question is of a scholarly nature or is asking about the evolution of the language, etc. In these cases - those questions should be flagged for migration (once we're out of beta and we can) and dealt with on the target site where it will be closed as a duplicate and merged where necessary.

For now, as long as there isn't a blatant copy & paste from ELU to ELL, I think we can let those sorts of questions through and let our community answer them.

  • 1
    But what if the best answer is a blatant copy of ELU? In that case it seems preferable to point to ELU rather than copy (with attribution) from ELU.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 2:04
  • At the moment, there's not much we can do about them as we cannot migrate to ELU for closure as a duplicate. I would hope that we wouldn't get too many of these types of questions whilst in the Private Beta phase.
    – Deco
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 2:12
  • 1
    No matter what your first impulse, if the question is a good match for ELL, wait a little. Chances are good it's ELU that will want to close it. And then, getting their best answer copied verbatim ensures its survival, while the ELU question together with its nice answer will get purged soon.
    – SF.
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 3:53
  • 1
    @SF.- That will wreak havoc on people's points.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 5:16

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