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Do we contact the OP of an imported question?

+ 2 like - 0 dislike
634 views

I answered this imported question today. The OP is not yet active on physicsOverflow. At this time there is no answer on physics.se . Do we have a policy about contacting the OP to let them know that their question has been answered on this site?

related to an answer for: Keeping in sync with phy.SE
asked Jun 18, 2014 in Discussion by Spencer (30 points) [ revision history ]

2 Answers

+ 2 like - 0 dislike

Duh, this is an important and somewhat "delicate" issue, you have hit a nail on the head  ... ;-)


There is no official policy about it (I am personally not even sure if there should be one?), I can only put down my own thoughts about it and hope other people will do the same in additional answers.  I personally would leave it open to each member of PhysicsOverflow, if he likes to leave for example a comment summarizing  his answer (or the answer of somebody else) at the site where the question is imported from.

The question "to leave or not to leave" a link to an answers here, is by no means spherical or isotropic ;-), as different points of view (or directions different people might look at it) have to be considered:

  • The asker of the question on the other site is probably interested in learning about the fact that he has obtained an answer and could be happy about it.
  • The answerer may obtain well deserved additional love and attention for his post.
  • For PhysicsOverflow it is a nice means to naturally make the site more well known among the targetted and potentially interested audience.
  • Concerning the (official)  take on such comments of the site the question is imported from, it should in principle make no difference if somebody leaves a summarising hint or comment giving a link to further information on Quora / PhysicsForums / a blog post / a paper / a news article / Math SE / MathOverflow/ or PhysicsOverflow / etc, as PhysicsOverflow does not have any reservations against such comments linking to other places in the internet either, as long as the information provided is related to the question, on topic, and useful for the community. However, different sites we import questions from may adopt  slightly different (more or less official) attitudes in particular towards PhysicsOverflow (the answer in the second link has +9/-8 votes at present).

In addition, some people can be contacted privately, which has the only drawback that other people reading the question would not learn about the answer ...

Taking all these things into account, I personally would leave it open to the members of PhysicsOverflow to decide if and how they want to contact the OP of an imported questions.

Other thoughts ...?

answered Jun 18, 2014 by Dilaton (4,295 points) [ revision history ]
edited Jun 18, 2014 by Dilaton
+ 1 like - 0 dislike

I decided to post a copy of my answer on the original question in physics.se with a preamble stating that the original answer is on physics overflow. I also provided  a link to the answer on this site.

I don't know if this was the best option or not, but here is my rationale,

  • Its important to me that my answer actually helps the OP.
  • Contacting the OP outside of the physics.se platform gives the impression that we need to sneak around because we are in the wrong (which is not the case).
  • Posting a copy of the answer on physics.se site is a gesture of good will.

I am open to other ideas on how to handle the situation.

answered Jun 18, 2014 by Spencer (30 points) [ revision history ]

Yes, we are not in the wrong. And in principle, as the number of people potentially interested in PhysicsOverflow is expected to be on Physics SE not smaller than on MathOverflow, we should have been allowed to put an analog announcement there too ...

This is fine (with or without the preamble) as long as the answer is your own. If it is not (or even if it is), you can just write a comment below the question linking to the answer here, maybe with a summary. This should be fine since PSE allows people to link to an external source (including other forums and Q&A sites) which answers the question.

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