My question I want to ask needs knowledge from users aware of Writing and History. My question is, should StackExchange have some way of allowing overlap to multiple sites that overlap ( not like programmers.stackexchange and a computer science site that is definently different, but for sites that have backround information that you can't ask seperately in such other site like writing and history )? The main reason for combining these sites should be to make a more powerfull way to help answer peoples questions as opposed to just for points.

Here is an example of an unanswered question that fits such a scenario:

"A story I'm writing is a country who's building up to a police state like the USSR from 1850's right before the Russian Revolution all the Way to Lenin and Stalin. I need to know if I should know Russian history prior to right before the Russian Revolution, and what"

NOTE - Sorry, and I will change the question, if I offended any folks from russia or anything, by labeling it a 'police state' from 1860 ish - 1991. Just please let me know :). Thanks!

3 Answers 3


You can already ask questions like this, by making them general. So to look at your example and make it general:

"How much historical research do I need to do before writing a novel?"


"How much research do I need to do before writing about a certain time period. Ie, do I need to be an expert, or a good overview is enough?"

You can then give your Russian example to show what you are doing.

As for specific questions about a time in history, they are better asked on specific sites(is there a History SE?)

The purpose of Stack exchange sites is to be able to ask specific questions and get specific answers. What you are asking for may lead to a discussion, which is discouraged.


The question as asked would be closed for being too specific.

The question you are really asking is currently on the board: Writing About a Subject on Which You Have No Expertise.

Stack Exchange is not for doing your work or research for you. Writers is about the process of writing. If you have a history question, asking it in History may be on-topic there; I don't know.

  • I undersrnd that sites like histor se are to be for their topic but i was wondering if se should make a way o overlap them in the case that one = background on history and the other = in order for writing a story needing knowledge about the other . Feb 6, 2013 at 19:17
  • @ChrisOkyen Why would Writers overlap with just History? Why wouldn't you just register and ask the question there? I could see the potential in letting Writers and EL&U overlap, but History? It happens to be that you need a history answer for this example, but we have had similar questions about math and science. Feb 6, 2013 at 19:34
  • I couldn't see any potential in overlapping Writers and EL&U ;) Feb 7, 2013 at 12:03
  • @JohnSmithers I daresay there'd be a skosh more potential with EL&U than with History. Not two skoshes, though. Maybe a skosh and a half if you wanted to push it. Feb 7, 2013 at 15:15
  • EIt wouldt "just overlapp with history" if ur asking why would it only overlap there. It would be needed to know that the q is for a sory so the topic plus witers could overlap Feb 11, 2013 at 0:31
  • @ChrisOkyen Okay, but if you are doing historical research, you only need to state that you are researching something for a novel instead of for a diplomatic meeting, for example. There isn't a need to link the two SE sites. I'm not even sure what form this "link" would take. A migration path? Questions from both sides mixed together? You are presenting a solution in search of a problem. Feb 11, 2013 at 10:56
  • @LaurenIpsum mixing them together was what i was thinking for a "link" Feb 13, 2013 at 22:25
  • @LaurenIpsum as Neil Feign said - you could have the question on both sites and link them letting people know their correlation maybe by tags. You could also have two sites for each page but only once gets revisions.. Feb 13, 2013 at 22:36
  • @ChrisOkyen Having the same question on two sites with cross-links has potential. Combining (mixing) Writers with EL&U would be problematic; combining Writers with History is ridiculous. Feb 13, 2013 at 23:19

A good question. I would love it if there were some way to have a question be on more than one site at a time, for edge cases like this that don't fit into a Stack Exchange bucket perfectly. Other examples:

  • Writing a cookbook - could be on here and Seasoned Advice.
  • Cooking while traveling - Seasoned Advice and travel.SE.
  • Syncing a mac with an Android tablet - Ask Different and Android.
  • This meta question could be asked here on meta.writers, Meta.SO, or meta.history.

...and so on. Trouble is, these questions would need to be at least somewhat on-topic on both sites.

How sites parse questions

The way each site reads, responds to, edits, or rejects a question is generally based on policies decided on by the community in meta. Each site has its own style, and different standards for how broad or targeted a question needs to be to get a good answer. So it'd be harder to find a way to make a single question work on more two sites than on one. Not impossible at all, but tough.

How could it be done?

If there were many questions that needed this kind of treatment, I have little doubt that a case could be made to handle it, and a proposal made clearly how to do it:

  • Perhaps a question could literally be on more than one site. You'd open a question about writing a historical novel, and there would be indicators that it was on both sites. Maybe there'd be two sets of tags visible.

  • If not, maybe a question could be asked on both sites, but edits would happen on only one site. The two questions would be linked - you'd still see it on both - but they'd diverge after a bit.


Both approaches could be valuable. Unfortunately, there would be issues to be worked out: Users with privileges on one site but not the other could be a problem. How would close votes be handled? Edits?

The issue here isn't so much that these things can't be worked out. I imagine they could. But it'd make Stack Exchange more complicated and more difficult for new users to learn, and the network already has a rep for being unfriendly and difficult to learn. It's probably not worth it for a few edge-case questions. If there are more questions like this than I think there are, someone can always bring this up on meta.SO and provide examples, making a case for implementing a system like this. But how would this help Stack Exchange fulfill its mission, to make the internet better? Unless there were lots of un-bucketable questions like this, and the proposal were to show a clear benefit to the network for doing this, I think this would be a lot of effort for very little benefit.

What to do now?

Right now, I'd recommend that you ask your question on both sites. Let both sites handle what they handle best. History will concentrate on the historical aspects, and Writers will help you with the writing. Both questions will probably be subtly different, and that's fine.

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