Stack Exchange management wrote a big post about why it makes sense to spin off some topics or areas into their own stack sites. If I have an Ubuntu question, it would make sense to ask it in the Ubuntu site. If it's a WordPress question, there's a site for that too. And Apple questions, there's a site for that. Let each expert focus on his area. This all makes sense to me.

What doesn't make sense is that there are so many questions regarding such areas still popping up here on SU. Why is it even allowed to post Mac questions on SU? Or Linux questions? Or Gmail questions? Why aren't they closed and the asker referred to their respective stack site?

I understand why people do this. Of course I'd prefer to post my question to a SU audience of ~40000 rather than to an Apple audience of ~1400 -- the more people see my question, the better answer I'd get. But this is exactly contrary to the Stack Exchange management's arguments! So what gives?

I want guidelines that people can understand and follow.

Either allow questions even on topics for which other sites exist -- and never ever close them! --
or close such questions immediately and refer the askers to the proper sites!

I'll appreciate any comments and explanations.

Some obvious Apple questions, some obvious Ubuntu questions. (random examples)

  • Partially related question: Do we want to have an option to migrate to AskUbuntu?.
    – DMA57361
    Commented Oct 28, 2010 at 12:18
  • 5
    Additional thought: the Apple.SE site has a slightly wider scope for questions than those "Apple" questions that may currently appear on SU. For example: iPhones/iPods are off-topic on SU (under electronic devices, media players, cell phones or smart phones). And are we (in the community sense) not already doing the first of your either/or suggestions - If it's off-topic it's closed, else left open? Any counter-examples?
    – DMA57361
    Commented Oct 28, 2010 at 12:24
  • 1
    I find the downvote amusing. This is a discussion in meta... My question remains; why aren't these questions closed/moved/migrated? Commented Oct 28, 2010 at 12:37
  • 5
    At a quick glance all eight questions you have suggested look to be on-topic on SU (to me, anyway). That's why they're open. [Sidenote: downvoting on meta usually implies the downvoter simply disagrees with the suggestion / feature request / etc in the post. Remember that on the child meta sites there is no rep cost to either party for downvotes.]
    – DMA57361
    Commented Oct 28, 2010 at 12:52
  • I know that votes are void on meta, that's why it amuses me. Yes, the topics are not specifically off-topic (gaming, gadgets, programming) but why are they HERE when they each have a better home? Commented Oct 28, 2010 at 13:09
  • Because the users asked them here, maybe because this is the site they found, maybe by choice. Speaking personally for a second, I would much rather ask any of these question types (if I needed to) here on SU, where I'm actively involved, and not be shoved to some other site I'm not at all interested in. Back on track: migration or close-and-ask-the-user-to-repost are quite heafty actions to take against a question, and the risks driving some (newer?) users away. If the questions are asked here, does it matter as long as they are still getting good answers?
    – DMA57361
    Commented Oct 28, 2010 at 13:18
  • 10
    Meta downvotes == we do not agree with you.
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Commented Oct 28, 2010 at 13:23
  • And things continue to blur even more at meta.superuser.com/questions/5045/….
    – studgeek
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 13:59
  • I just don't see how it helps either site community, or more importantly the general user community to have questions on a topic like quicksilver split between the two sites with no clear guidance to the user on which one to choose other than each site saying "we like our community better". Perhaps both site's definitions could be clarified a bit ("computer enthusiasts" vs "apple power users" doesn't help). In the end it seems to me this question would be better asked/discussed in MetaStackOverflow/Area51 where it can be discussed with the larger cross-site community in mind.
    – studgeek
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 14:40

3 Answers 3


You're wrong.

Super User will always allow Ubuntu and Apple question, and I doubt we will ever see options to migrate to these sites.

  • Super User caters for a much broader audience.
  • Super User doesn't allow questions on devices like the iPhone and iPod
  • Super User's tend to own both Mac, Windows and Linux machines
  • Super User has a very different community atmosphere and attitude

The key is really the community itself. I used the Ubuntu SE for a while, and completely dislike the community and the way they deal with questions. Jeff has also agreed that there is no need to not allow these questions, and if you prefer to use the Ubuntu and Apple sites you can, however if you believe your a Super User then asking here is also perfect as long as it is within the scope of the FAQ.

None of the new SE sites where created to compete with any of the Trilogy sites, rather, they co-exists to enhance these sites and cater for the unique communities around those topics.

Furthermore, there is no way we will be migrating old questions that were asked before SE 2.0 existed to the new sites. Migration paths will only be created if they truly compliment the other site, like the case with WebApps.

Super User doesn't and won't discriminate against question which are on topic and relevant irrelevant of the OS choice or the hardware make or type.

  • Couldn't have said it better.
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 13:11
  • 6
    Basically... this is Super User and NOT Windows User... Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 20:37
  • 1
    Am I wrong too? I think not having a clear "best place" to ask a Mac question invites confusion and dilutes the expertise of the answer pool. What group benefits by the confusion of new users?
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 20:26
  • Unless the OS choice is iOS/Android/WinMobile or the hardware doesn't happen to have a full keyboard (aka tablet). Its hard to understand why there is such a "clear" line on tablets and such a blurry line on OSs.
    – studgeek
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 13:51

Apologies if this re-opens old wounds, but as a new comer to the Stack Exchange ecosystem - it sure seems silly to not spell out in the FAQ which questions are in scope here and not to overlap the scope at Ask Different.

It's a classic "Judgement of Solomon" dilemma where the the child is split - no one wins.

Do you intend people to ask the same question there and here? The "normal user answer" is supplied at Ask Different and the "super user answer" is supplied at Super User?

Should command/terminal questions be here and GUI ones there? Where is the line?

I totally get the advantage of having everything here relating to "Super Users" - but in practice, how do you manage the dividing line between what's a "Normal User" Mac OS X question and a "Super User" Mac OS X question.

I respect the community that has been built here (and a longer history / existence than the upstart Ask Different) It's clear that this site was inclusive of Apple, Windows, AIX, Linux, VMS, various embedded systems and more about the superness of the user than the flavor of the tool.

Now that there is a site dedicated exclusively to Apple Hardware and Software - why does it exist if this is also the place for Mac Questions?

Why not migrate all unanswered mac questions to the Apple site? It might not make sense to migrate all the questions, but it seems silly to not address the scope of Super User and Ask Different so that it's clear what belongs where.

Why penalize new users with confusion over which StackExchange site is the place for a Mac question?

  • Note that we don't divide. If a user happens to post it here, and it's on topic, it will stay here, unless the user specifically asked for migration. The same holds for questions on Ask Different. I think you're seeking there line where there is none (except for iPad/iPhone Q's). We have the "problem" that questions might equally belong to either site, so it's up to the user to decide where to post (as long as the question is covered in the FAQ). I think we've agreed that it's also rude to push people around.
    – slhck
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 20:06
  • 2
    Concerning migration of old questions: Good idea, but Ask Different would have to want that, and think about the flood of outdated questions that have been abandoned by the users or the possible duplicates already asked over and over again.
    – slhck
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 20:07
  • Excellent comments - I feel this is "inside baseball" and don't ever want to push a user one way or the other unless it's in their best interest. I've commented on several Apple SE questions to hone and re-ask the question on SU after it went unanswered on Ask Different. Nothing should get moved until there was consensus on some general best practice. I guess I'm confused about the hypothetical. Are all apple questions equally perfect to be asked here or there? What is the venn diagram of intended overlap with respect to Mac OS X questions?
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 20:17
  • 2
    To answer your question: Yes, all Apple questions are equally valid, except for iPhone/iPod. I created a diagram here, which is a very basic guide. Note that scripting in Shell Script or AppleScript would be acceptable on either site, including Stack Overflow, but I've seen most of AppleScript questions on Super User / Ask Different.
    – slhck
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 20:40
  • That diagram is Perfect in terms of clarity! I have never seen (probably out of ignorance) anyone even try to diagram it out. I've seen the meta and in-practice closing of scripting / programming questions on Ask Different. Thanks so much for that picture - I'll have to mull that over - the "we don't divide" seems a big negative to me.
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 22:31
  • Yeah, the scripting thing is probably difficult. AppleScript is unique to Apple products, therefore probably better for Ask Different / SU, whereas Shell Scripts are a better fit for SU/SO. Don't take this as the holy grail though, just my opinion :) (Would be interesting to define such a diagram once and for all, would it?)
    – slhck
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 8:06
  • It's also important to note that apple computer products have hardware issues which would be on-topic here as well. Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 14:33
  • @slhck great diagram! Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 14:33

I think when a tag is used such as OSX a message should apper saying something along the lines of "This question is more suitable for Ask Different, would you like to post your question their?"

or perhaps duplicate the question on the site.

  • How can I be wrong? I said I think. that is a personal opinion. I didn't say they should be moved, all I said is that it could suggest other options that the poster didn't know about So how can the user decide if they have not been given the option?. I do not agree with removing them from here as they are relevant, however they will help the Apple site grow if they are duplicated on their. I also Think your aggressive tone is unnecessary, on a harmless suggestion and PERSONAL opinion Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 16:45
  • 6
    I know. I'm tired of discussing the same thing with every eager user of Apple.SE who sees all the Mac-related questions on SU. It has been discussed before. It has been dismissed by the SU community, the last time not even two weeks ago. Has something changed in the meantime? No. So there's absolutely no need to bring this up again by only stating you'd like that. But if you actually are aware of earlier discussions and have some new arguments, please publish them.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 16:47
  • 1
    I saw this question agreed with parts of it and not others so I posted an opinion. It was not an Idea that has been suggested before so why not. I have not said we shoe remove them all from here, but just add a feature that increases awareness of teh other sites. I joined this site so I could impart knowledge of Mac here aswell, perhaps I wont bother, if this is the manner in which ideas and opinions are dealt with. Bye Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 16:52
  • > perhaps I wont bother, if this is the manner in which ideas and opinions are dealt with — I don't particularly understand your problem. You've posted an opinion, others disagreed with it. This is the way every Meta site on Stack Exchange works. Also, in contrast to Meta Stack Overflow, you won't even lose reputation from downvotes. Is that really a reason for leaving? If you post an opinion on Meta, you should be aware of the fact that people may disagree with it.
    – slhck
    Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 12:36
  • Also, to address the content of your suggestion: The premise This question is more suitable for Ask Different is simply wrong. If a question is on-topic for Super User, it is just as suitable here as for Ask Different. Please also read: Is it okay to inform users to stop promoting Apple.SE when a question is fine to stay here?
    – slhck
    Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 12:39
  • @slhck before you impart your comments. read it again, it is about the aggressive tone that was the comment was dealt with, not the disagreement or the down votes. Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 12:39
  • @slhck that is only correct for some questions and not others. Read the FAQ's about Apple hardware. and iPods etc. Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 12:40
  • 2
    As there probably is a comment that has been deleted, I won't be able to judge that, sorry. Concerning iPods, yes, of course. But you suggested (for example) the message should come up for the OS X tag. If a question is off-topic here, feel free to suggest it be migrated to Ask Different.
    – slhck
    Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 12:41
  • @slhck yes I can see it has been edited, The OP apolagised to me in chat, and I am fine with the situation. I am happy to contribute to this .SE Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 12:44
  • 1
    @slhck Sorry about the confusion about my first comment. I deleted my original comment that started with You're wrong. (don't remember the rest, but I think it went downhill from there). I just came home when I posted that and reacted more to seeing yet another Apple.SE themed question than the concrete suggestion. I later explained to Graeme in chat that IIRC this idea has been brought before and dismissed with the explanation that the users choose their community (e.g. Apple users or general power users) and that any topic is fine on any site it's on topic.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 18:04
  • Regarding this suggestion, the only reasonable way to implement something like this would be to mention that the question is likely also on topic on the following other sites: [...], and implement it symmetrically. Especially with regards to general OS X (BSD) command line questions, I consider SU to be far superior to Apple.SE; "more suitable" is just too judgmental to be of value. But then we'd still get a list of like 5 sites for some topics due to overlap (the infamous "mod_rewrite" question on Ubuntu Server maybe, suggesting SU,SO,SF,U&L and AU?), only confusing the user.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 18:11
  • I agree changed the wording I had originally. But with this suggestion of a workaround getting more down votes than the OP i don't think others agree. ; ) Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 18:24

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