I noticed quite a few questions asked in English Language Learners have got answers in English stackexchange. Some examples are,

1a) 'Did see' and 'Saw'

1b) What's the difference between "When I did see ..." and "When I saw ..."?

2a) Is it I'm feeling good or I'm feeling well?

2b) "I feel well" vs "I feel good"?

I noticed both of the questions today. We have loads of questions like them.

As the questions have answers in a different stackexchange site, we cannot mark it as duplicate. And, as they rightfully belongs to English language learners stackexchange(also), we cannot mark it 'Belongs to another stackexchange site'.

I would suggest adding one more option while flagging, 'Already answered in English stackexchange'. As the English stackexchange is older than ELL exchange, that would be more reasonable that way.

Any other options to connect ELL and English stackexchange is also welcome.

  • Add a comment when downvoting
    – Ms.Tamil
    Nov 9, 2018 at 12:56
  • 2
    I'm not the downvoter; but on Meta, where downvotes do not diminish reputation, the convention is that downvotes are used to disagree with the proposal, not to object to the question. Nov 9, 2018 at 16:01
  • Related question on Meta: What to do with cross-site duplicates? Pretty sure this has been brought up before on English Language & Usage's meta as well.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 9, 2018 at 19:51
  • @StoneyB Its not about the reputation. I would like to understand the reason why someone thinks the question needs to down-voted. ColleenV's comment cleared that. Thanks :)
    – Ms.Tamil
    Nov 12, 2018 at 7:01
  • I vote to close them with a custom reason—that it's been cross posted. They should not exist on both sites. Only one or the other is appropriate. The worst offenders are those who have already received answers—and in some cases actually accepted answers—but still copy them to the other site anyway. (Hours or days later.) I can't recall the specific question now, but one person accepted an answer on ELU, decided they didn't like the answer after all, and then just copied the question from ELU to here. Nov 12, 2018 at 8:37
  • 3
    @JasonBassford I think it is important to distinguish cross-posting from duplicates. If the same person is posting the exact same question on multiple sites, that's cause to close the question. Similar questions asked independently by different people on different sites are another pair of sleeves.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 12, 2018 at 10:45
  • @ColleenV This may be the Meta.ELU question you’re looking for: english.meta.stackexchange.com/q/5302/55623 . We don’t allow cross-posting. Ultimately it’s a selfish act, especially when (as in the case of the OP of the Meta.ELU question) it’s done repeatedly and deliberately in full knowledge it’s not permitted.
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 12, 2018 at 17:01
  • @DanBron Thanks - I think that's one of a set of discussions around this topic that are relevant. There was also a discussion that had a pointer to this discussion on Meta Display other SE site links in the linked questions sidebar
    – ColleenV
    Nov 12, 2018 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


We don't need the ability to close questions as duplicates cross-site. And as long as the questions aren't deliberate cross posts (i.e. the exact verbatim same post on more than one site), then neither question needs to be closed (unless the question has other problems).

For users who are able to cast actual close votes instead of flags (unlocked at 3k+ rep), it is already possible to vote to close a question for any reason. It's called "other", and you basically type your own close reason which is left as a comment on the post and in site statistics (unlocked at 10k+). Note that low-rep users who can only flag to close instead see the option "Blatantly off-topic (this question has nothing to do with X)". Closing the question with "other" doesn't function like a duplicate closure, but you could still use anyways. A real duplicate closure would have the duplicate at the top of the question and it redirects users that aren't logged in under some circumstances.

However, it would be a bad idea to close questions like this for one big reason (except in the case of a verbatim cross post, although I usually prefer closing the ELU copy): there's nothing to stop the other question on ELU from getting closed or deleted. There's nothing that most users here could do to fix this either, since you need privileges on ELU to reopen or undelete things there. There's also no way to tell that the two questions on different sites are linked at all from the other side (unless someone leaves a comment on the other question too and that comment doesn't get deleted).

Another reason is that each site caters to a different audience, so what makes a good answer is a little different. For example, a question that asks "why" might get an etymology answer on ELU, while on ELL it would be more appropriate to give a mnemonic or a good general rule.

As for other options, migrating old questions is usually a bad idea because it can dramatically affect people's reputation. Many of these old questions are also used as duplicate targets because the same old questions are always re-asked and re-asked time and time again on ELU. Furthermore, a migration of questions older than 60 days old can only be done by a CM.

The solution

With the existing features you have several good options:

  • Post an answer on ELL using the information from ELU. Link to the other answer. If you copy what it says use quote formatting and mention who originally wrote it.
  • Post a comment on one or both of the questions pointing to the other.

As for new features, I personally support expanding "question associations" to other sites. Right now this feature exclusively shows up on (English) Stack Overflow and points to questions on Russian Stack Overflow.


I am very confused. Why would we want to close a question on EL&U because a similar one is on ELL? And why would we want to close a question on ELL because there is a similar one on EL&U?

These two sites have different readers, and different intended audiences. If we closed the one because of an EL&U question, then the ELL users wouldn't easily find it. And if we closed one because of an ELL question, the EL&U readers wouldn't find that one.

These two sites are meant to be like encyclopedias of knowledge for their users. These wouldn't be good encyclopedias if one of their entries was missing!

We need to remember that closing isn't a good thing for its own sake. It is only good if it improves the encyclopedia.

  • ''readers wouldn't find that" is rather a strong statement. Readers going to find the related question from the comment added. Only problem is users would not be able to contribute to the answer if they're not members on the site.
    – Ms.Tamil
    Nov 15, 2018 at 13:42
  • @Ms.Tamil Do you have any reason at all why i might make the individual encyclopedias better? Nov 15, 2018 at 22:06
  • We can make the encyclopedias all the good as we need. All I'm saying on your answer is, If we closed the one because of an EL&U question, then the ELL users wouldn't easily find it is a wrong statement. Otherwise I'm not saying anything against your answer.
    – Ms.Tamil
    Nov 16, 2018 at 5:34
  • This is absolutely true. And often we see highly academic answers on ELL which must be completely meaningless to learners. That's (probably) often because the academic posters have never had to teach English.
    – Lambie
    Nov 19, 2018 at 14:19
  • @Lambie There's a huge range of learners on ELL and you'll see a huge range of answers accordingly, especially from those who've taught loads of English. Nov 19, 2018 at 14:20
  • There may be a huge range of learners, but I find that overly academic answers help no one. You can't use academic answers for purposes of internalizing and reproducing language patterns. An academic answer can be added as a footnote, but it's silly to use it as the main focus of an ELL answer.
    – Lambie
    Nov 19, 2018 at 14:31
  • How can you find that so-called academic answers help no-one? You aren't a learner! You aren't a teacher! You are assuming that a C1 learner doesn't have any meta-language or concepts! Nov 22, 2018 at 20:16
  • @Araucaria I taught English for seven years to high-level executives. I have also learned two languages from scratch and am a fluent speaker now of four languages. Therefore, I have direct experience of language teaching and acquisition, in fact. And you are not understanding me. Some academic grammar analysis can be very helpful but, if that is all it is, it will not help. By the way, I am a quadri-lingual translator, interpreter and writer, to boot.. Is that enough to express the opinion I expressed?
    – Lambie
    Nov 24, 2018 at 19:46

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