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Perhaps this question has already been asked, but I've been unable to find anything similar. Can Stack Exchange follow a more generic approach? is alike somehow, but nevertheless mine differs and is less general.

I want to discuss the following case with you. Imagine that a user creates a question on some specific site; time passes by, and nobody gives a good answer. Then he realizes that actually there is more specialized site for his question, a site where he will probably receive more interesting and informed feedback.

Is there any way for him to move his question from one site in the SE network to another? Just move, nothing more complicated than that. No syncing, no providing same question for different sites, no importing, just moving?

Of course, even in this "simple" formulation, it is not that easy. There are lot of issues that should be resolved to make this feature workable. For example, how should it look from the point of view of the UI, should we also provide some voting mechanism to force moving, and so on.

UPD: OK, guys have told me about the way it can be done - we can flag the answer to moderator. Though we most possible will achieve what we wanted, I don't think this way is quite handy.

For example, Cody Gray says:

Extending it to anyone who asks a question would potentially "open up the flood-gates" for a bunch of bad, off-topic questions to be migrated to other sites.

But I can not see a real drama in the described situation. We actually have perfect engine for punishing "evil" or "lazy" or "stupid" askers - downvoting. User abusing etiquette will be punished by the community.

And please, downvote it! THIS IS AN ORDER!

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2  
Why can't we downvote if we want to downvote? –  Cody Gray Aug 16 '11 at 11:00
    
Nobody can not forbid you to downvote. Feel free if you want to and don't confuse requests with orders. By the way, "feel free if you want to" is also not an order, don't ask why you should feel free :) –  shabunc Aug 16 '11 at 11:03
    
Nope, the question was why you CAN NOT downvote, not why I'm asking you not to ) –  shabunc Aug 16 '11 at 11:12
1  
There was actually a recent change to require a super-majority (4 out of 5, instead of just 3 out of 5) of close voters to agree on a migration path before a question actually gets migrated. Basically, we made questions harder to migrate, even for users with close vote privileges. You may be interested in the arguments made there. Lots of them help to explain what I meant. –  Cody Gray Aug 16 '11 at 11:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Other answers have explained how you can request for your question to be moved to another site: flag it to have a moderator do it (or not, if the moderator determines that the question is not appropriate on the other site). If you have enough reputation to vote to close and the desired site is listed in the “close as off-topic” pop-up, you can vote to close your own question and wait for 4 community members to agree.

Why can't you do this on your own? After all, nothing would have prevented you from posting the question on the other site in the first place. But once you post a question, it no longer fully belongs to you, it belongs to the community.

  • Other people may have read the question, found it interesting and be waiting for an answer.
  • Other people may have read the question and have posted or be preparing an answer.
  • Other people may be editing the question.

If you delete your question from the site where you originally posted it, you've wasted all of these people's attention — that is why there are strict limits to deleting your own question. If you allow the question to exist on two sites at once — which is the practical effect of migration — you're capturing the attention of people on both sites, which gives your question undue exposure. (On a related note, posting the same question on two sites (“cross-posting”) is not permitted.)

This is a big part of why migrations, even when desired by the asker, are subject to community or moderator review. (Another reason is that migration initiated by the asker is a rare case. Even leaving aside the issue of misguided askers, it's ok to get a moderator involved in such a rare case: moderators are the human exception handlers.)

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Gilles, thank you for this answer, it really helped me to view the picture in whole. –  shabunc Aug 16 '11 at 12:53
    
Accept stealer! Good answer, though, so I guess it's ok. :-) –  Cody Gray Aug 16 '11 at 13:14

What if we will be able to move a question from one stack to another? Just move, nothing more complicated

Simple. Click on the Flag link, post in a message saying you want to move and done. If the question's on-topic on the requested destination site, Moderators will oblige your request.


Flag to migrate


ENTAR NOTEZ

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thank you for pointing this out to me, but it's a little bit different nevertheless. Actually, in theory we can flag question and ask moderator to do ANYTHING with that question. I can imagine this action can be more user-friendly. –  shabunc Aug 16 '11 at 11:21

I honestly don't mean for this to sound rude, but it boggles my mind how you can have nearly 500 reputation on Stack Overflow but not have noticed the question migration feature. There are so many questions that get closed and migrated on SO each day that you surely have to have seen this without realizing what you were seeing.

For example, this one from one of the tags you seem to be interested in—originally asked on SO, but since migrated to Code Review, where it is more on topic. (As far as the UI, note the grey-colored banners at the bottom of the question on each site, explaining that it has been migrated.)

Basically, we already have what you suggest. Questions that are off-topic for one particular site, or even that are likely to get better answers on a different site, can be migrated to that site in one of two cases:

  1. By the matching votes of 4 out of 5 users with at least 3k reputation (close vote privileges), and/or
  2. By the single, binding vote of a moderator.

This works for both new and old questions (although you should be more careful about migrating old questions; sometimes the site you're thinking of migrating to doesn't want a bunch of old questions).

The only catch is that the user who asked the question cannot migrate it to another site by him/herself. They need either the help of other users with sufficient privileges, or a moderator. And as you probably already know, the easiest way to get the help of a moderator is by using your moderator flags. Fill in the "other" box explaining which site you think the question should be migrated to, and why you think the question would be a good fit for that site, and if the moderator who processes your flag agrees with you, the question will be automatically moved to its new home.

I do think that it's important, though, that we keep this migration privilege limited to moderators and a super-majority of people with close vote privileges. Extending it to anyone who asks a question would potentially "open up the flood-gates" for a bunch of bad, off-topic questions to be migrated to other sites. Requiring that these migrations are first vetted by either a moderator or by trusted members of the community, we keep the option for migration open while still keeping in mind the best interest of all sites involved.

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thank you for this answer and yes, I've honestly haven't mentioned this feature. But it sounds like this actions are not much appreciated, since to perform it is not "one-click action". But as I can understand, this is intentional, so I feel like you've answered the question. –  shabunc Aug 16 '11 at 11:10
    
@shabunc: Well, it's not that they're unappreciated, it's that it's often hard for people who are not regular participants of another site to know exactly what that site considers on topic. Moderators and trusted community members are, well, trusted to do their research before approving a migration. But if you think a migration is warranted, please do use your flags to request one. That's what the moderators are here for! –  Cody Gray Aug 16 '11 at 11:11
    
OK, I see, thank you for making it clear. –  shabunc Aug 16 '11 at 11:15

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