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In trying to figure out where to ask things that lie somewhere in between tourism and permanent moving, I'm confronted with dozens of meta QA and hundreds of back-and-forth comments on them re. travellers vs. expats (akin almost to political debate). Much of this is from around 10 years ago.

The site Tour puts "issues related to immigration / expatriation" off-topic, but without actually defining those. Some things are clearly expatriation, some things are clearly not, but there is a continuum, with some things falling in between the two.

Firstly, would these sorts of things be on-topic for Travel.SE? Eg.:

  • Extending visitor permits (not work or study visas or permanent residency); the same permits tourists get on entry to a country, can in some countries be extended for many months, if you're not taking work in the country.

  • Problems connected with staying somewhere more than a couple months but less than a year. (This time range can be awkward, particularly with accomodations.)

  • Problems connected with having "bases" in two different countries, that you repeatedly travel between.

Secondly, if, due to some overlap in the site scopes, such a question is on-topic at both Expatriates.SE and Travel.SE, then there are two choices: (i) post it to Expatriates.SE because it might be somewhat more on-topic there; or (ii) post it to Travel.SE because this site gets 10x more traffic and so questions may be more likely to get answered, even by people with longer-term travel experience.

If you choose Expatriates.SE but don't get answers, would it be appropriate to post substantially the same question to Travel.SE with a link at the top noting the Expatriates.SE question?

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  • Can we add a bullet point on Expatriates being issued documents that then become travel documents? Feb 29 at 20:39

2 Answers 2

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You can ask the moderators on the sites ask to move the question for you if you do not get (enough) answers.
If a user flags it as on the wrong site it is either closed or moved or decided that it does belong.

Travel is the more active of the sites, which might help you decide where to post your question.

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... would it be appropriate to post substantially the same question to Travel.SE with a link at the top noting the Expatriates.SE question?

No. If they are substantially the same question, they would receive the same answer, to the extent Stack Exchange makes it possible to completely answer a question and then a little more, or to extend the framing of a question where it can be easily generalised. A question so broad that it could apply to anybody and everybody in a host country is too broad for Stack Exchange already. It needs more focus, and by narrowing down the actual issue to be solved, is likely to be clearly more appropriate for one site rather than the other.

It is unreasonable and unfair to follow the suggestion that you should post your question on

the more active of the sites

because site activity has nothing to do with any specific question's topicality. It is totally irrelevant unless you ignore the fundamental purpose of the site to establish a repository of high-quality Q&A for future reference. Sometimes you just don't get an answer, soon or at all, and breaking the system for what is ultimately selfishness is unhelpful in the long run, despite short-term satisfaction for some.

For deciding between Travel and Expatriates, consider the primary audience of each site, and what areas of expertise they are intended to support.

Your examples are straightforward by doing so.

  1. is a Travel question. The person asking this question is a tourist, travelling the host country, who wants to extend their holiday or exploration. They are not ostensibly seeking to live and work in the host country, and a person who was doing so, would not be asking about a visitor visa.

  2. depends on why they are staying there. The length of time doesn't change the reason they're asking, or why they would have the specific issue or situation that needs to be resolved or explained. Focus the question better and identify the problem more clearly.

  3. is similar to 2. but is much more likely to be an Expatriates question, because people who are merely travelling in the host country to enjoy it don't have this problem. The very notion of multiple bases suggests that one is an expatriate living outside of what would be considered their home country.

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    Some of this I can appreciate. I do agree that having duplicate questions would be suboptimal, though I see this as mainly a "data hygiene" issue (lack of a "single source of truth"). It's too bad there isn't a feature to share questions between sites. (But that would involve multiple difficult design questions.) Feb 17 at 11:52
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    However, your formula that (if I understand correctly) disjoint purposes necessarily lead to disjoint questions seems flawed. E.g. a certain west African country where landlords want a year(!) paid up front, but what if you're only in town 6 months? Landlords don't care whether you're there on extended vacation vs. a temporary job. It's quite possible for two people with entirely different aims in the country to nevertheless have exactly the same question with the same answer. Having two otherwise identical QA separated only by an orthogonal qualifier, does not generally seem productive. Feb 17 at 11:52
  • The answer in how you get six months accommodation when you can only rent for exact years will differ depending on why you're there for six months. Is it a contract limiting you to one town or suburb? Is it a desire to have a base for your expeditions elsewhere? More detail will make it obvious where to post!
    – Nij
    Feb 24 at 0:23
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    "A base for your expeditions" could be trivially replaced with "a base for your sales trips", without causing the problem constraints or best solution to change at all. At some point, the purpose of requesting further "details" devolves from making the question more answerable to merely qualifying the asker. Feb 24 at 19:50
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    Another problem with argument 3 is that travel between two different countries when your are a citizen of both countries is very much on topic for Travel SE. Feb 29 at 20:32
  • The logic of this answer is flawed. “Expatriates” (whatever that means) travel as well. There is absolutely no reason to think any problem faced by someone who lives outside their country of citizenship ought to be off-topic on this site merely because they happened to (also) be an expatriate.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 17 at 15:51
  • Another issue, somewhat related to the points raised by @DeepThought is that duration does actually matter, possibly more so than the place of residence or purpose of travel. Just to mention an example, in Schengen countries, that's the only criteria that separates Schengen visas from national visas. The same threshold (90 days) also happens to be the maximum duration of a “touristic lease” in France. So your desire to equate travel with tourism is completely arbitrary and does not correspond to any common sense or legal definition of the word.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 17 at 15:57
  • Incidentally, “the more active of the sites” apparently does not appear in the question but the paragraph that deals with this starts with “Secondly, if, due to some overlap in the site scopes, such a question is on-topic at both Expatriates.SE and Travel.SE […]” It's deeply dishonest to omit this and then proceed to lecture the OP on the topicality of questions.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 17 at 16:05
  • Another answer tried to use "this site is more active" as a reason to choose it over other considerations. Explicitly rejecting that advice as at best, selfish, was necessary. Don't tell me about lecturing when you haven't got half a clue what you're talking about, huh? @Relaxed
    – Nij
    Mar 17 at 18:17

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