Thanks, Jean-Olivier Irisson, for Mentioning Cross-posting!

(This article was originally published at Yihui's Blog on Yihui Xie | 谢益辉, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

Many people cross-post the same questions in different places: private emails, StackOverflow, Disqus threads, Twitter, and mailing lists, etc. It is totally fine to cross-post questions. You may be eager to obtain an answer, which is understandable.

What is bad, however, is that you do not mention that you cross-posted the question in other places. This has happened several times in the past to me: after I try hard to reply an email from someone asking me a question, I start to go through the StackOverflow question feeds I subscribed, and find the same question has been posted there, and answered by someone else.

This is very discouraging.

Of course, I hope someone else can solve your problem before me, so I can spend the time on other things, such as reading books, or making a chiffon cake or moon cakes.

Today I started to triage rmarkdown issues again, and came across the issue rstudio/rmarkdown#1129. That is the type of issues I like: the author Jean-Olivier Irisson (@jiho) clearly mentioned that he had cross-posted it in another repo. When I read this issue, I’ll first check if the issue has been solved in the other repo. If it happens to have been solved, I won’t need to invest time in it. Well unfortunately, it is still an open issue, which means I’ll have to work on it someday, but I appreciate Jean-Olivier’s mention of cross-posting.

Actually there is some subtle psychology here. If you are a total stranger asking me a question, I don’t feel I owe you anything (unless it is a bug of my software). However, if you show your consideration to me (even a little bit), you will make me feel indebted, and I’ll increase the priority of your issue or question. Sometimes I answer questions simply out of appreciation.

In case you want to read more on this topic:

  • Gimme Pizza! (a post in a LaTeX community; pointed out by Scott Kostyshak)

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