Take a look at the following question that was migrated to here from Operating Systems SE:

Where is the OS when a process is running?

Unfortunately, it looks to me like that question has some issues:

  1. Copy-pasted question. The CS.SE question is basically a duplicate of a question that was previously asked on StackOverflow: https://stackoverflow.com/q/25464848/781723. Indeed, the CS.SE question copy-pastes the text of the question. The body of the CS.SE question does not seem to add anything substantial over the Stackoverflow question, and it does not articulate a specific question about the answers that were previously provided on StackOverflow.

  2. Copy-pasted answer. Not only is the question copy-pasted, but the accepted answer to the question on CS.SE is an exact word-for-word copy of the accepted answer to the question on StackOverflow. To be clear, I'm not saying Gilles has done anything wrong. I'm just suggesting that it's not clear that it is adding any value over the Stackoverflow question.

  3. Not much value added. I can't see much value that this question adds, over the prior StackOverflow question. It's the same question, with the same answer. The statement of the CS.SE question doesn't add much value. There is only one other answer on CS.SE to this question, but I'm not sure it is adding much; if I read it correctly, it is just saying "the answer over on StackOverflow was correct".

  4. Overtaken by events. The question on CS.SE might be based upon a premise that is no longer accurate. In particular, it refers to an answer from shekhar suman on the StackOverflow site, but there is no answer authored by shekhar suman on StackOverflow at present. At present, there are only two answers: one authored by Gilles, and one authored by Martin James (with a trivial edit from shekhar suman, to change the font for one word). I don't know if shekhar suman deleted his answer, or if the original premise was faulty, or what, but at present the CS.SE question does not make sense, due to this reference to something that doesn't exist.

What should we do about this question? Should we close it? I'm not immediately seeing a good way to fix these problems and save the question. What do others feel?


2 Answers 2


I'll give a bit of history. All the steps made perfect sense, even if the overall result didn't turn out so great.

  1. vish posted a question on Stack Overflow.
  2. Martin James and shekhar suman both answered it. (shekhar suman's answer is currently deleted.)
  3. The Operating Systems site launched in private beta.
  4. shekhar suman wasn't satisfied by the answers on SO because they seemed contradictory. So he reposted the question to the OS private beta. Asking an on-topic question which had been asked elsewhere before, but not been answered satisfactorily there, is a good test for a private beta that overlaps with existing sites: can this audience do better?
  5. I, participating in the OS.SE private beta, answered the OS.SE question. I hadn't seen the SO question before.
  6. Since OS.SE was in private beta, thus not publicly visible, and since I felt that none of the answers on SO were satisfactory, I also posted by answer on SO. I felt that the difference in audience didn't warrant tuning my answer in this particular case.
  7. OS.SE closed down (the private beta failed). Since the question was on-topic for CS.SE and not a duplicate there, we included it in a list of threads to salvage by migrating them to CS.SE before shutting down OS.SE. I didn't pay attention to the existence of the SO question at that point, but it wouldn't have influenced my opinion that the question was more suited for CS.SE than SO.

In addition, the SO question got close votes as off-topic, suggested migration to CS.SE. So we can resolve this by migrating the SO copy to CS.SE (not outright closing there, because of the answers there that are worth preserving) and merging the two. Of course, as part of merging, we'd only keep one copy of my duplicate answer.

However, if the SO question had been accepted as on-topic, I would argue to keep it there. We reject double posts because we don't want people to spam their questions on all the sites where they might be vaguely on-topic. However sometimes a question is on-topic on several sites, and might receive different questions to different audiences. This is why we don't close questions as duplicates across sites. If the question had been considered on-topic on SO, I wouldn't have suggested to migrate and merge in this instance (independently of my having answered).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No problem! Sorry to make you feel like you needed to justify yourself -- in my opinion, you did nothing wrong, and the way you handled these questions strikes me as eminently reasonable. $\endgroup$
    – D.W. Mod
    Sep 12, 2014 at 9:23

After I posted this question, Gilles posted an excellent way to handle this:

Migrate the Stackoverflow question over to CS.SE, then close Where is the OS when a process is running? as a duplicate of the one that was migrated from Stackoverflow (and optionally merge any answers over).

So, it looks like this will be resolved nicely very soon.


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