Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 157 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I think the current system doesn't make sense:

TL;DR - Vote-to-close as off-topic should not offer a target site. There should be a separate vote-to-move-to-different-stackexchange-site category.

Why should this question be closed?

  • exact duplicate (OK)
  • off topic (misleading)
  • not constructive (OK)
  • not a real question (OK)
  • too localized (OK)

When I voted a question as off topic, my take was that this is a halfway decent question for the target site. (Otherwise why would I specify a target site I know and care about.) My intent was for the question to be moved to the target site and live on there.

Instead, my vote was hijacked (but now moved to Programmers anyway) to close the question, meaning it was to be left to rot.

All other 4 close reasons express the intent that this question "is not useful".

Off-Topic in conjunction with a target site means for me: This question is useful somewhere else on the stackexchange network.

Note: I consider Stackoverflow and Programmers a very special pair. (not sure what the general take on this is). I would never (and will not again, until this is changed) vote-to-close a (good) question that was asked on SO and I consider a better fit for Programmers. Why? Because I'd rather have a legitimate ("open ended") question active and answered on SO, that have it closed on SO. The best thing would be for it to be moved to Programmers, but currently the voting system does not let me express that intent! (And therefore the title of this topic "... off topic should be a separate category" still seems appropriate.)

I notice there is : Distinguish votes to close by reason that, while not asking for distinguishing the overall close vote to actually close the question, asks for clearly labeling who voted what. Even if you disagree with me here, consider checking out that question and voting there.

share|improve this question
What about questions that are just plain off-topic everywhere on SE? (Say shopping recommendations) That's a non-broken close as off-topic, isn't it? – Mat Nov 23 '11 at 11:50
I like the linked question and voted to re-open. (It's obviously different from the linked question. Maybe Programmers is a better place for it -- but I don't think Stack Overflow is the wrong place for it.) For this feature request: sometimes a very well asked question is off topic and yet still has no useful home on the stackexchange network. Off topic -> offtopic is good for that. (Also, only the community moderators have a useful "offtopic" close tool -- the rest of us have to make-do with a pitiful tiny portion of The Stack's fragments and flagging for the grownups to solve it for us.) – sarnold Nov 23 '11 at 11:54
I dunno, I think this is a good request. +1. – Won't Nov 23 '11 at 15:45
Re: Your edit, The other question does not give you anything like what you describe. The other question simply deals with how the names are displayed, and whether or not all reasons that were chosen should be displayed along with the names of the people that chose them. You're asking for the voting system to be changed fundamentally. That's why this question gets my -1. – Adam Robinson Nov 24 '11 at 5:33

When I vote a question as off topic, my take is that this is a halfway decent question for the target site.

No. That means the question is offtopic for this site, period. As a bonus, it maybe on-topic elsewhere.

Instead, my vote is hijacked to close the question, meaning it will be left to rot.

Why? The /review shows list of questions that have been voted to close - offtopic or otherwise. 10k+ tools shows list of questions that have been voted to close - offtopic or otherwise. Ditto for Mod view.

Off-Topic just means: This question is useful somewhere else on the stackexchange network.

No, as mentioned - off-topic means it's not suitable for this site. There are questions which aren't suitable for any Stack Exchange site.

share|improve this answer
see my edit update. Either we remove the option to specify a better fit completely or we should make this a separate thing. IMHO. – Martin Nov 23 '11 at 12:07
That means the question is offtopic for this site, period. As a bonus, it maybe on-topic elsewhere. -- Oh, and I strongly disagree with this. If I get offered an option to say it belongs elsewhere, then ignoring my choice is not a thing I consider "period". I consider it stupid. – Martin Nov 23 '11 at 12:11
@Martin - but that's what it means. Migration to another site is not a right but a privilege. – ChrisF Nov 23 '11 at 12:12
"is not a right but a privilege" what is that supposed to mean? If the UI offers it, then I'll use it. If it doesn't offer it, then I'll don't. – Martin Nov 23 '11 at 12:16
@Martin - you voting to migrate it means it is offtopic so should be closed on this site. Otherwise why would you migrate it. If others agree it should be moved it will be moved - which means closed on this site and open on the other site. – Rory Alsop Nov 23 '11 at 12:53
@Martin: Sathya is completely correct. The meaning of the voting system is just as he says: that the question is, at a basic level, off-topic for SO. There just happen to be additional options that say "but it's on-topic for another site". It's not up to you (or me) to determine what the meaning behind the vote is, because it's clear from the language and from the behavior. You can interpret it to mean something else, but that doesn't mean that it's broken when it doesn't mean that in reality. – Adam Robinson Nov 24 '11 at 5:36
@Adam (and others) - I will just note here that I attribute my statements to my subjectivity ("when I vote...", "my take...", clearly labeled so. I stated a feature request. If you do not agree, fine. -- You and the other however act as if the rules are set in stone, and I should repent and see my folly. Well, I will not. I think the UI as it stands is misleading and I will continue to think so. (And you are correct wrt. to the other question, I will edit accordingly.) – Martin Nov 24 '11 at 6:17

For me it makes perfect sense. The vote to close as offtopic means it is not on-topic where it currently is. No more, no less.

The fact it then offers the most common sites where questions get migrated is a handy plus, which can help keep questions alive somewhere else if applicable.

If others agree with you on a valid move-to site, then it will get migrated. If they disagree then it won't. Consensus is what determines the move.

share|improve this answer
"The vote to close as offtopic means it is not on-topic where it currently is. No more, no less." As I said. I think that the UI says otherwise. Iff the UI offers the option to specify a better site, that this is something different. IMHO. – Martin Nov 23 '11 at 12:17
The UI does offer that option. Have added a final sentence to directly respond to your 'hijack' point. – Rory Alsop Nov 23 '11 at 12:22
Yes, I meant to say: The UI does offer the option to propose a better site. Therefore, it is not "no more, no less". It is "more". – Martin Nov 23 '11 at 12:24
Sure. But I see that as an addition - after you have made the decision to close as offtopic it offers a lifeline if the question may be appropriate elsewhere. – Rory Alsop Nov 23 '11 at 12:25
See my reasoning in the question: If I take the time to propose a move of an SO question to Programmers, the closing it is certainly not what I want. Because if I wanted it to be closed, I wouldn't vote to move it to programmers. I guess we can disagree here :-) And me, I will not cast any close votes any longer when I think the question would be a better fit elsewhere until this is "fixed", because currently the system will interpret it on par with all the other close votes. – Martin Nov 23 '11 at 12:29
@Martin It takes 4 people to vote to migrate before a question is moved. What any one voter wants can't override that. – ChrisF Nov 23 '11 at 12:44
@ChrisF - Of course there need to be 4 votes! But if 3 of those votes are for "exact duplicate", then my "migrate" vote will be misinterpreted as close-as-duplicate. That's what I do not like. – Martin Nov 23 '11 at 13:13
In that case if there already "exact duplicate" votes simply don't vote. You can't do anything if you're the first to vote though. – ChrisF Nov 23 '11 at 13:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .