If we see a question on Stack Overflow, that is clearly a CS question, how should we deal with it. SHould we answer it there, or direct them here?

I am worried about directing them here because:

  1. They tend to be simple questions(I can solve them. e.g find the Big-Oh of this or that).
  2. They may be closed here, e.g as duplicates, asker didn't show effort, homework questions, etc. Some of these may not be questions from which an asker wants to learn CS from, but just to get a useful result.

Considering the above, how do you propose we deal with such questions. If you're against directing them, then I'm up for answering on SO(I need the rep. ;) )

I am not proposing Migration. I am proposing directing the user to CS. Should we do that? If we see a question on computational complexity, Big-Oh algorithms, etc should we direct them to register here on CS and post the question anew. Or just answer them there. Some of the questions might not be good fit here (Like most of the analysis questions would be closed as duplicate of Raphael's FAQ).

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If you already know that these are poor, why would you direct them here? Those good questions, yes it might be good (in our perspective) to direct them here, but I do not see that working - at SO people are used to receive a code, here they would not. Between your decision to propose migration in the comment and refresh there are probably 5 answers already, 99/100 fitting to SO but not here, and the potential accepted answer is already there, the OP and people who answered might be very upset that the question was migrated (grabbed by third parties). So personally I do not think it would work. $\endgroup$
    – Evil
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Just imagine that you see a data structure question here, you take your time and answer it with the effort. The question is good, your answer is awesome, and out of the blue someone from e.g. biology, chemistry, physics or chess finds it well suiting in their own site. Several people thinks ok, let us have it and vote to migrate and they succeed. Now your answer landed at stack that you didn't knew existed, how would you feel then? $\endgroup$
    – Evil
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not proposing Migration. Rather I'm proposing asking the questioner to ask the question here. In one question on SO, the user in a barely comprehensible question asked about the Big o of a linear search for the (n/2^k)th element. I answered the question there. @vzn, suggested the asker, to come here. I'm wondering if we shold be suggesting the questioners to come here(not migrating it), or we should just answer there. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ We avoid "edit" in any kinds of posts (the revision history is available). Ok I see, these questions that will be closed here, for sure no, I would prefer to avoid inviting someone only to tell him that the question is duplicate. But promoting CS in the other cases, sure it seems like a good idea. Also please wait for more comments/answers, this is just my oponion. $\endgroup$
    – Evil
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 18:50
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Asking them to crosspost is definitely SE-bad. Pointing them here for future questions is great; ideally, point them towards relevant FAQs so they can ask a better question from the start. For questions that are offtopic on Stack Overflow, migration is the right thing. Others, you can answer on Stack Overflow and sprinkle in links to relevant (reference-)questions on Computer Science, pointing them here implicitly. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 6:21

1 Answer 1


Even if they're good questions, they should be left where they are. If the SO people feel the question is off-topic, they'll migrate them here; if they feel the question is on-topic at SO, there's nothing that needs to be done. If you feel the question is on-topic at SO, feel free to answer it there. If the question does get migrated, your answer will move with it.

Please don't do anything that would cause bad questions to get migrated here. SO gets a huge volume of posts we simply could not cope with that much stuff being moved here. And it's completely unhelpful to the asker if their question gets migrated here and then closed. (Except in the case where it gets closed as a duplicate of an essentially identical question.)

If you see a question on SO where the asker might benefit from our FAQ on algorithm analysis then, by all means post a comment linking them to that post.


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