Recently JordonBiondo answered the question of what is this site's biggest challenge with this:

Specific questions that a Emacs generalist can't answer, usually dealing with Latex, ESS, CEDET, Spacemacs etc. The problem with these questions is that the population of people who can answer them is a lot smaller, and without understanding the tools it is hard to vote on or review the questions and answers. I think the only thing we can do is try our best to upvote answers on these questions to hopefully keep people around who can answer them.

I agree that this is a problem. It made me think of the question I'm asking here.

Something like LaTeX goes beyond Emacs, while something like CEDET is specific to Emacs. The problem that Jordon notes (about too few users being able to help in such areas) pertains to both.

My question here is about topics, such as LaTex, that do go beyond Emacs. For these, I'd point out that this is one of the disadvantages of having a separate site for Emacs, as opposed to using the emacs tag on all SE sites (especially StackOverflow). LaTeX users who might use LaTeX with Emacs, and who frequent a LaTeX site but not this site, might be able to help here -- but they might never see such a question, if posted only here.

One thing that sometimes happens in this context is that a frustrated, impatient, or unaware SE user might post the same question to multiple sites. That might help that user find an answer, but it is messy and inefficient for everyone.

It would be good if we could find a way to get the best of both worlds: (1) Emacs as a separate, specific SE site and (2) Emacs as a tag across SE sites.

Another way to put this might be to imagine, in some way, merging or identifying emacs.stackexchange with the emacs SE tag - or in some other way leveraging the tag and this separate site.

This was one of the reasons I argued against creation of this site from the outset. (But I do recognize some advantages of having a dedicated site.)

In a way, I want to argue for the creation of a virtual site dedicated to a tag or, equivalently, a way for all of the posts on a site such as this one to automatically be included across SE, under tag emacs. And vice versa: make the Emacs site automatically include all posts tagged emacs.

One possible "implementation" might be as simple as having this site (somehow) automatically add tag emacs to all of its posts. That way, SE users everywhere who filter on tag emacs would see all of this site's posts. And a user filtering on tag emacs and tag latex (or whatever) would see posts relevant to both.

And a user would be less likely to post the same question to both sites. And (perhaps) we could close a question as a duplicate if that did happen. (Dunno about that - that seems to be proscribed by SE rules (?).)

If this were implemented everywhere on SE, it seems like it would facilitate use across the board. Both a site and a tag are ways to classify posts. At least for some sites, like this one, there is an obvious corresponding tag.

So far, there seems to be no connection made between the two - the human connection between them is not yet leveraged/recognized by the SE software (AFAICT). That's a problem, and perhaps an opportunity for improvement.


2 Answers 2


This feature already exists in a limited and not well-known way: you can see all Emacs questions across Stack Exchange in the Emacs tag filter. Tag filters can be defined on the Stack Exchange site portal site. You can make your own, combining one or more of: all questions on one site, all questions with a particular tag on one site, or all questions with a particular tag on any site. You can browse recent questions, and get an RSS feed.

However it is impossible to search within that filter; Stack Exchange does not have any cross-site search facility. (The search box on http://stackexchange.com/ uses Google and is not aware of tags, it's just a full-page-text search.)

With regard to the human connection, the dispersion of Emacs questions is precisely the source of the problem. There can't really be an Emacs community on Stack Overflow, which is where a large majority of Emacs questions were asked before Emacs Stack Exchange came into existence. Emacs traffic is about 0.1% of the total number of questions, and Stack Overflow isn't appealing to non-programmers (e.g. people who use Emacs only to write emails, for Org mode or to edit LaTeX documents). If there's any community around Emacs on Stack Exchange, it's on this meta and the Emacs.SE chat.

  • See my reply in an answer.
    – Drew
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 5:25

Reply to Gilles's answer:

I've long searched for tag emacs on multiple sites (specific ones, including StackOverflow), but I was not aware that searching for it across stackexchange.com would also pick up all posts on emacs.stackexchange.com - since those posts are not tagged emacs.

But you're right, that works. Too bad that does not seem to be general knowledge (or documented/advertised?).

And I see what you mean about that not being a normal filter - it's more like just a Google hits page.

Anyway, what I'm suggesting is to have a "site" such as emacs.stackexchange include all such posts - virtually (like a symlink), as if they were posted there.

And to perhaps remove the restriction that you can close for crossposting to different sites. But there should perhaps be some way of designating the primary site - unless all sites become just virtual, based on a site tag, such as emacs. (Not all tags need correspond to virtual sites, but some, like emacs, would.)

Anyway, it's just a thought. Seems overly restrictive and siloed now, and users need to jump through extra hoops to find information and reach those who might be able to collaborate about it.

(What you say about the "human connection" was not what I had in mind. I was lamenting only a way for users to connect the site and the tag, in the ways I described. I was not referring to a meta community. But if the site and the tag were fused then the site would have the meta community you speak of, I think.)

  • A tag filter for the emacs tag doesn't pick up posts on Emacs.SE. The filter I linked to includes the emacs tag (and a couple others) on all sites, and all questions on Emacs.SE. Click on “show summary” to see what's included. The fact that the filter is called “Emacs” is just because I named it so. Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 9:54

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