I am surprised to see that at least two people commented that the question “When should you say what you know?” by asterix is on-topic, because it looked clear to me that it should be migrated to Meta.

The question explicitly asks what we should do on cstheory.stackexchange.com, and if this question does not belong to Meta, I do not know which question does.

If it were a general question about when to reveal your ongoing work, not limited to the behavior on cstheory.stackexchange.com, then it would be on-topic. It seems to me that people want to interpret the question as the general question, contrary to what is written in the question. In my opinion, it is not a good reason to keep it on the parent site.

Update: After this discussion was started, Charles Stewart changed the question from the one about cstheory.stackexchange.com to a more general one. I am not sure if it is the intent of the asker or not, but at least the question after the edit is on-topic on the parent site in my opinion.

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    $\begingroup$ If it were a general question about when to reveal your ongoing work - I think it is, and all the answerers have thought so too. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2010 at 12:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Charles: The first sentence reads “What should you do when you see a question on stack-exchange that you know the answer to, because you are looking into as part of current research project?” How can it be interpreted as a general question not limited to cstheory.stackexchange.com? Some of the answers answer a question other than the one being asked, but it is not a valid reason to consider the question to be on-topic on the parent site in my opinion. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2010 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ I agree that meta is probably a better place for this question. $\endgroup$
    – Lev Reyzin Mod
    Oct 21, 2010 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ First, I am not sure if being about the site is a sufficient reason to make a question "belongs to meta". Second, the answers are applicable to other situations, even if they are only answering the question asked by OP. (I think the number of votes is a good indicator of user interest in this question.) $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Oct 21, 2010 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh: I think that the boilerplate FAQ on the parent site is clear enough about the first point: “If you want to talk about the site itself, please don't do it here.” The second point is related to a broader question whether good answers justify questions. They do not, in my opinion, but I understand that different people have different opinions on this. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2010 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi: I had forgotten that point. Thanks for the reminding it. :) $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Oct 21, 2010 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


In general, if we have a question that seems to be off-topic, but it is trivial to rephrase it so that it becomes an excellent on-topic question, then we should always try to rephrase the question instead of closing it (or migrating elsewhere).

In this case it's easy to rephrase the question so that it applies to any "online research": all Q&A sites, blogs, etc. And I think that it is a good (soft) question.

Please don't close things that are both easy to save and worth saving!

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    $\begingroup$ Please don't close things that are both easy to save and worth saving! <-- this belongs in the FAQ $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2010 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ (1) It is true that the question can be a good on-topic question if it is rephrased. I am upset primarily because people who seem to care enough about the subject to answer it are just ignoring what is written in the question without bothering to rephrase or ask the poster to rephrase it. (2) The question as it is is a legitimate meta question. Migrating it to Meta does not “kill” the question. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2010 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with Jukka. I interpreted the question to mean "on public forums like MO and cstheory." In this case it makes an excellent question. Migrating to meta does, sort of, kill the question. Meta has very few active posters compared to the parent site. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2010 at 14:16
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    $\begingroup$ I've leapt in and rephrased the question myself, since (i) the edit is nearly trivial, and (ii) there's an obvious race condition that needs to be fixed. See my revision at cstheory.stackexchange.com/posts/2328/revisions $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2010 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Charles: Nice edit. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2010 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ I have been swayed by these comments to thinking the question should remain open. Too bad I cannot uncast my vote to close... $\endgroup$
    – Lev Reyzin Mod
    Oct 22, 2010 at 22:19

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