The Stackexchange network has become quite fragmented lately - it seems like there is a sub-site for everything. While there might be reason to discuss whether this is really a good thing (at least everybody can have his very own isolation by focusing on relevant tags), as long as this state persists or things even get worse, there must be tools to manage classification effectively.
The options to migrate off-topic questions to the appropriate sites seem not to keep up with the development. I am mainly active on serverfault, so I have no experience with other sites, but what I see there seems intrinsic to the current design:
- questions migrated to serverfault often would be suited better for one of the newer sites like "dba", "webmasters", "unix & linux" or "security"
- questions closed as off-topic in serverfault are not migrated to sites they belong to but end up in "superuser" or simply get closed as off-topic pissing off newcomers
Even if the site design route would not include additional fragmentation, the current implementation is dysfunctional. I understand that the current practice would include flagging an off-topic question for moderator attention if it needs to be migrated somewhere else than the 4 common site choices presented by the off-topic dialog. But it is not working out as intended. If a question does not fit the site topic everybody's urge seems to get it out of the way as soon as possible once it appears in the "vote to close" chat channel. Once it is closed, nobody cares anymore if it would fit in elsewhere.
I also strongly believe that the choice whether to migrate a question should primarily be with the original author - she has the incentive to get the question answered quickly and proficiently. Therefore, I would suggest a discussion about over-thinking the off-topic feature to
- show suggestions for migration similar to the "this question is a possible duplicate" feature
- include more relevant sites in the list for site suggestions - definitely more than 4, preferably a bunch of sites which can be grouped under a common topic (e.g. all "technology" sites)
- make the closure of questions as off-topic harder by defining a higher quorum for a successful migration or giving the original author a vote on this topic
- give the original poster the ability to migrate his question to one of the suggested sites easily
- extend the current "suggested tags" feature upon composing a new question to search possibly relevant tags/content from other sites in order to make suggestions for alternate, possibly better suited SE site(s).
I see that especially 2. has been discussed in the past and was dismissed as too confusing for the user to decide. As the number of SE sites increases, having just 4 choices does not work out anymore. Also, the argument that a user would not be able to make a decision out of more than 4 choices is hollow. Professional IT admins are making decisions out of dozens of choices every day - they do not dumb down just by entering Serverfault or another StackExchange site. Also, users with more than 3,000 reputation are likely to know the network well enough to make a good decision quickly without the need to study every possible site's FAQ first.