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When is it appropriate to add a comment to a question indicating that it may be a better fit for another site on Stack Exchange?

I recently added a comment to a question indicating that it might be better suited to the superuser group and promptly got told off by two of the admins for doing so. I had also flagged it as such for moderator attention.

I just want to know if such a comment is a breach of etiquette and if not, what would be an appropriate/approved format if any?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This practice should be discouraged for a couple of reasons:

  1. If the question is on topic for the site on which it is posted, it should remain there and not pushed off onto another site. It is not relevant whether it might also be on topic for another site. As long as it is on topic for the site on which it is originally asked, that's sufficient. For more on this rationale, please see this recent blog post.

  2. Users who post these comments often encourage askers to re-post their question on the other site, which results in an exact duplicate if the original question is later migrated.

    Since we already have built-in support for the migration of questions to another site where they are a more appropriate fit, there is absolutely no reason to counsel askers to take steps to move the questions themselves.

  3. Most of the people who leave these comments do not understand the scope of the site they're suggesting. That's not a slight against these people—there are a lot of different communities that make up the Stack Exchange community, and someone cannot be reasonably expected to be experts in all of them. Moreover, just because you're an experienced user with lots of reputation on one site does not mean that you're knowledgeable about all the other sites.

    Unfortunately, if you leave a comment for a new user that suggests their question might fit better somewhere else, the new user will often trust your counsel and re-ask their question there. This just creates extra work for the trusted users and moderators on the other site.

    This concern is reflected in the fact that it takes a super-majority of 4 users to migrate a question to another site. If only 3 or fewer users agree on a migration target when voting to close, the question will not be migrated. Instead, it will simply be closed as off-topic.

If you think that a question would be a better fit on another site, you have two possible options:

  1. Vote to close the question as "off topic" and choose one of the unlocked migration paths displayed in the close dialog.

    If you don't have sufficient reputation to vote to close, then click the "flag" link, select the "does not belong here" flag reason, and then choose one of the unlocked migration paths.

  2. If you think that the question should be migrated to a site that has not been unlocked as one of the destination paths in the close dialog, you will need to flag the question for moderator attention and request that it be migrated. To do this, click the "flag" link, select the "other" option, and indicate which site you think the question should be migrated to and explain why you think the question would be a better fit there.

    Moderators are expected to consult with the moderators on the target site and verify that the question is acceptable there before deciding to migrate it.

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Thanks for the answer. I appreciate it! I may have erred on the third point in this case. So in summary, flag it but don't add a comment. –  Chetter Hummin Apr 29 '12 at 9:25

When is it appropriate to add a comment to a question indicating that it may be a better fit for another forum?

When it is a better fit and is mostly off-topic on the current SE site.

However - if the post is on-topic to the site and is likely to get an answer, it should remain there.

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I had thought that, but the comments posted by those 2 admins made me reconsider that. Thanks! –  Chetter Hummin Apr 29 '12 at 9:02
    
@AmitBhargava - Not knowing the context makes it difficult to tell. By the way - what do you mean by "admins"? High rep users or diamond moderators? –  Oded Apr 29 '12 at 9:03
    
A diamond moderator was one of them. Part of the message I got was "Don't add comments and push people around". Hence, my doubt in the process. –  Chetter Hummin Apr 29 '12 at 9:05
    
@AmitBhargava - Again, not knowing what you posted makes it impossible to tell. If the tone of the comment was aggressive, then I can see why you got the responses you did. –  Oded Apr 29 '12 at 9:06
    
Thanks again. I did not feel that my comment was aggressive, but I will be careful not to post such comments in future unless I can be sure they will not be misinterpreted. –  Chetter Hummin Apr 29 '12 at 9:08
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@AmitBhargava - All I can say is that without the context of the question and the comment, we don't have enough information to tell you exactly what went wrong (though diamond moderators can see and one may answer with full details). –  Oded Apr 29 '12 at 9:11
    
it doesn't really matter. Thanks for the help and advice! –  Chetter Hummin Apr 29 '12 at 9:12
    
@Amit: Do you have a link to the question? Have the comments been deleted? –  Cody Gray Apr 29 '12 at 9:38
    
@TheEstablishment I did delete my comment and I was in the wrong on point 3 of your answer. Is there a way I can send you a link to the question? –  Chetter Hummin Apr 29 '12 at 9:45
    
@Amit: You can just paste a link to the question into your comment. But only moderators can see deleted comments, and I'm not a moderator on Stack Overflow. –  Cody Gray Apr 29 '12 at 9:46
    
@TheEstablishment Well, no purpose served by raking up dead issues, so I'd rather not post the link here. I merely posted this question to gain a better understanding of why the two respondents felt so strongly about my comment. Your answer has gone a long way towards this. Thanks again! –  Chetter Hummin Apr 29 '12 at 9:49

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