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My interests primarily pertain to Astrophysics (and Astrochemistry). This subject appears to have two masters: Physics SE and Astronomy SE. How do I decide where to post, and how would you characterize the astrophysics sub-community on each SE? Does double posting of Q's make sense? I will be posting this meta-Q on the other meta-SE also.

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    $\begingroup$ "This subject appears to have two masters:" Yeah. It's that way on most college campuses, too. It sits at the confluence of the two "traditional" discipline labels. As for which is a better stack to ask on, I think you should look them both over and take your best guess. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Sep 15 '15 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ Cross posting is typically frowned upon, you probably don't want to go down that avenue. Might be best to ask at one first, then of you get no responses, ask at the other. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Sep 15 '15 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ ...better yet: Flag for migration to the other. Avoid double postings. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Sep 15 '15 at 23:31
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    $\begingroup$ Small suggestion: you know what your next question topic will be, so first search the site using Google because imo it's better than internal site search, find out who provided the best answer related to your prospective question and in which site, then if they are still active, place it there. $\endgroup$ – user81619 Sep 15 '15 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ I have been exploring the other SE ... um ... I think the level of discussion, at least on Astrophysics, is in a whole 'nother league over here. $\endgroup$ – Eubie Drew Sep 16 '15 at 1:25
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    $\begingroup$ See also this from the astronomy proposal and this from our own meta regarding the history of the site and the fears of dividing the community (which imo have still never been addressed). $\endgroup$ – user10851 Sep 16 '15 at 2:07
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisWhite, My attitude is mostly a shrug, but what really bothers me is that new people, whether professional or amateur, will quite naturally go to A&A with their A&A questions, likely be disappointed, and just leave. That is I would have done if I had not arrived here following a direct link to Physics out of a Google search. $\endgroup$ – Eubie Drew Sep 17 '15 at 6:24
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  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic, thanks. It does seem that Astronomy-SE and Physics-SE have reached an acceptable accommodation. I would have preferred a united SE, but it is not like the system is broken. $\endgroup$ – Eubie Drew Sep 18 '15 at 18:16
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It depends on what the question is about. I sometimes have to make this choice, because I'm reasonably active on both sites.

There's a substantial amount of temptation to go where the user base is. There are, without question, more astronomers and astrophysicists studying at an advanced/professional level and actively answering questions on Physics Stack Exchange than there are on Astronomy Stack Exchange. Most of these spend their time exclusively on Physics, although the one notable exception is Rob Jeffries, who joined Astronomy this past year and has been avidly answering questions ever since. So it's possible that you're more likely to get a question answered by a professional if you ask it on Physics than if you ask it on Astronomy.

Why? Well, the relative sizes of the sites is certainly the major factor. It's evident in other ways, too: Physics has 783 questions tagged , while Astronomy has 48 questions tagged . Even taking into account the fact that Physics is older, it still has a higher rate of astrophysics questions coming in (although it has a higher percentage of unanswered questions, though not by much).

How do I decide where to post

This is your call. However, I would recommend going to Physics from a purely chance-of-getting-the-question-answered standpoint.1 For astronomy questions, though, I would absolutely recommend Astronomy.

how would you characterize the astrophysics sub-community on each SE?

The astrophysics community is stronger on Physics than on Astronomy. Same with chat, by the way. I often take minor astronomy/astrophysics questions to the Physics chat room instead of the Astronomy chat room.

Does double posting of Q's make sense?

It's been said in the comments that this is a bad thing, so I'll just reiterate: In most situations, cross-posting is a bad idea.

I will be posting this meta-Q on the other meta-SE also.

I'm not sure if agree with this. Having two discussions will help get the input of both communities, but it also splits up the advice you'll get.


1 That said, more astrophysics questions would certainly help Astronomy. . .

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  • $\begingroup$ OK -- re: I will be posting this meta-Q on the other meta-SE also. -- @HDE 226868 said: I'm not sure if agree with this. having two discussions will help get the input of both communities, but it also splits up the advice you'll get. -- I say: Likely their viewpoint is quite different, which is why I want to hear it. I could refer the discussion to the Q here. People who do not belong to Physics would be prevented, but perhaps that is just as well. $\endgroup$ – Eubie Drew Sep 16 '15 at 0:08
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    $\begingroup$ Been exploring. I think for my needs there is no contest. I will be using the Physics SE. ~ My impression is that here is the place to ask how and why Q's, whereas what, when, where Q's are good over there. $\endgroup$ – Eubie Drew Sep 16 '15 at 1:29
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    $\begingroup$ I was going to complain that the numbers are misleading as Physics is much older than Astronomy, but taking only the posts since Astronomy opened takes the number down from 783 to 408. The rates look pretty constant for both sites. So there's that. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 16 '15 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty I tried to take that into account for the recommendation, but I didn't know the exact numbers. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Sep 16 '15 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868, I did ask this over there and got a excellent response astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/11829/… cc:@rob-jeffries $\endgroup$ – Eubie Drew Sep 17 '15 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Aabaakawad But you would have got the same answer if you'd asked it on Physics SE ;). Seriously though, I would keep asking astrophysics questions on Physics SE. $\endgroup$ – Rob Jeffries Sep 20 '15 at 19:51

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