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Currently the close reasons, in order, are:

  • exact duplicate
  • off-topic
    • off-topic expands to offer migration destinations
  • not constructive
  • not a real question
  • too localized

It seems to me that this ordering encourages deciding what other sites a question is a good fit for, before deciding if it's even a real, constructive question.

I suggest that off-topic be moved down to encourage people to decide if a question is constructive or really a question before deciding that it's a potential migration target. Hopefully this would lead to fewer rejected migrations.

New order would be more like:

  • exact duplicate
  • not a real question
  • not constructive
  • off-topic
    • off-topic expands to offer migration destinations
  • too localized

(I'm a little torn about whether off-topic belongs before or after too-localized. Definitely belongs after NC and NARQ, though)

share|improve this question
Hmm, I would put Not a Real Question above Not Constructive though. – animuson Jan 17 '12 at 18:28
I like it, though I think I might put the off-topic last. – Zoredache Jan 17 '12 at 18:29
@animuson: You know, you're right. changed. – freiheit Jan 17 '12 at 18:29
I would actually just kill the migration path [perhaps just to certain sites], people tend to be poor judges of what fits elsewhere. I wonder how many migrated questions just get downvoted and closed on the target sites. "Belongs on Programmers." No, it doesn't! It's either been asked a million times there as well or is just as non-constructive or localized there as it is on SO. Suggest that it might be better received elsewhere, but put the onus on the original user to actually do the research and make it happen. – Anthony Pegram Jan 17 '12 at 18:31
I would rather put "exact duplicate" to the last place, as closing a question as exact duplicate of another question that is too localized, or off-topic makes few sense, to me. The question is then, are we sure the closing reasons are not already ordered in the way they should be evaluated? – kiamlaluno Jan 17 '12 at 18:33
@AnthonyPegram If you make that into a Meta Question, I'll upvote and spam everyone on Programmers to support en masse. – Yannis Jan 17 '12 at 18:39
@AnthonyPegram: I can see the argument, but moving migration down the list is less controversial than killing migration. Make that a separate question. – freiheit Jan 17 '12 at 18:41
@Zaphod, ha! I'll let the more experienced and active users of Programmers touch that particular third rail. I'll just rant, rave, and shake my cane from a comfortable distance. – Anthony Pegram Jan 17 '12 at 18:43
@Anthony: Don't hit any little kids with it, they're innocent! Also, the paper boy is off limits! He doesn't like you that way! – animuson Jan 17 '12 at 18:45
@kiamlaluno: I thought exact duplicate still belonged at the top, because it can be a duplicate of a closed question and saying something duplicates something else is easy. If it's a duplicate of a not-real or not-constructive question, the original should be closed (and maybe deleted). – freiheit Jan 17 '12 at 18:45
Before I even click on "Close", I already know what I'll vote for(at least for off-topic votes). Reordering wouldn't help at all. – CodesInChaos Jan 17 '12 at 18:52
@freiheit The problem is that questions that are not duplicates can be deleted; if you, for example, close a question as duplicate of a question that is too localized, or off-topic, the link to the duplicated question could take to a question that only 10k users can see. I think that the link to the duplicated question should take to a question for which the user can add an answer, or to an active question (for which users can add a new answer when necessary); that doesn't happen with already closed questions. – kiamlaluno Jan 17 '12 at 19:40
I proposed something similar on EL&U, but the answers made me reconsider it... You just close a question according to the reason that fits best, not in a certain order. – Alenanno Jan 17 '12 at 22:54
@AnthonyPegram I'm pretty sure we've already tripped over that rail many times. :) – Adam Lear Jan 18 '12 at 6:15

Yes, you might as well put "too localized" before "off topic". Here "off topic" is a catch-all for all other reasons why a particular question doesn't belong on a particular site (though some questions closed as "exact duplicate" arguably do). Only then can you decide to apply the "belongs on..." close reason and re-evaluate the five close reasons to that site to decide how to migrate. So the workflow becomes:

  • Exact duplicate on Stack Overflow?
  • Not a real question?
  • Not constructive on Stack Overflow?
  • Too localized?
  • Off topic on Stack Overflow?
    • If so, maybe it belongs on, say, Stack Exchange Site A. Not constructive on Site A? (Some sites may have a different policy on constructive questions than others.)
    • Off topic on Site A?
    • If the test passes, migrate to Site A
    • .. and so on for Sites B and C (if necessary: only sites that make sense for the question must be considered) ..

Looking at the comments I will suggest this as merely a workflow preference, not a suggestion that the close reasons should indeed be reordered.

share|improve this answer
There's nothing especially notable about Programmers.SE in this context. Programmers.SE was originally billed as "Not Programming Related," but that's not the case anymore. Programmers.SE is a site in its own right, not a diversion for questions that are too subjective for Stack Overflow. – Robert Harvey Jan 18 '12 at 17:09
I was just using Programmers as an example. Not all off-topic questions need to be migrated to Programmers, but others may be a good fit for Webmasters, Android Enthusiasts, or other sites. It definitely depends on the question. – Peter O. Jan 18 '12 at 18:21
Your new work flow for migrations has too many moving parts. I don't think it's fair to expect most users to check for duplicates on the target site before migrating, and "Not a Real Question" should already be established before migration is considered (NaRQ is not site-specific). – Robert Harvey Jan 18 '12 at 18:28

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