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Okay, I understand the need to close off-topic questions but it is not helpful to simply close the off-topic questions without referring people to the proper place (referring them to the FAQ only tells them which questions are allowed on that site). Referring folks to the correct sites can help the Stack Exchange community and help new users find the sites they are suppose to be using. Granted, it's a bit late to tell them which site they are suppose to use but it would be helpful to them later when they have similar questions and will be helpful to anyone viewing the question.

I've read a few other questions seemly related to this but it mostly dealt with the limited options available to mark the correct sites for the questions. I'm saying Stack Exchange should show which site people are suppose to be using when it is closed as off-topic. Perhaps though a voting system which general users or users who marked it as OT can use.

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There is a useful little link under (almost) every question on the site. It says "add comment" –  Jim May 25 '12 at 13:13

1 Answer 1

We already have precisely this feature. In fact, we do one better—we automatically migrate the closed question to a more appropriate site on the Stack Exchange network. The asker doesn't even have to lift a finger. When they try to visit their question, they are automatically redirected to their migrated question on the new site.

For example, this question was recently asked on Stack Overflow and was migrated to Server Fault.

Anyone with close vote privileges (users with 3k+ reputation and moderators) can vote to migrate questions. This functionality is built into the close vote dialog. Likewise, anyone who can flag questions can choose the "it doesn't belong here, or is a duplicate" flag reason and suggest a more appropriate destination site.

Of course, what you've probably seen are a number of questions that got closed as simply "off topic" and were not migrated somewhere else. That's because either:

  1. The question was just a bad question. It was either poorly asked, not constructive, lacked sufficient context and details, or something else. And we don't migrate crappy questions because that would be like dumping our garbage on our neighbor's lawn—not very nice. Those questions get simply closed as "off topic" without the migration part.

  2. The question, no matter how it were posed, is not on topic for any site on the Stack Exchange network. We don't have sites for all possible topics, at least not at the present time (you can propose new sites via the Area 51 site). Moreover, certain rules as set out in the FAQ are hard and fast rules that apply everywhere on the network. Questions that run afoul of these rules don't fit anywhere just by their nature. Examples of this include questions seeking a recommendation, such as a for a book, website, programming language, or brand of computer. For more on the types of questions you should not ask on Stack Overflow (or other sites in the Stack Exchange network), please browse the answers to this question.

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Wait, what? 3k+ can't VTMigrate--they can only VTC offtopic. –  Manishearth May 25 '12 at 4:34
    
@Tim I'm like 99.9% sure they can, unless this has changed recently. I don't have 3k rep on any site to verify. –  Cody Gray May 25 '12 at 4:40
    
I'm 99.9% sure they can't-- I'm a 4k user on Phy.SE, and I can only VTC offtopic. Yes, there's an option "belongs on Meta.Phy" but no general migration voting. Though I think that SO has more options. –  Manishearth May 25 '12 at 4:42
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3k can vote to migrate to a select list of most likely related sites, those not on the list are moderator forced @tim –  random May 25 '12 at 4:43
    
@random: Aah.. The sites I have 3k on don't have any related sites (except metas), so I got confused I guess :/ –  Manishearth May 25 '12 at 4:51
    
Very helpful post. Are closed questions immediately moved when closed or it is something that runs at certain times? I have a question that was closed that has not been moved. I'm starting to think that it could fall under your number two category but I can't be sure. –  Err May 25 '12 at 5:05
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@Err They are immediately moved. Not sure why that one wasn't migrated to Super User. It would have been a better fit there. –  Cody Gray May 25 '12 at 5:09
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@Err For a question to be migrated 3 or more users have to vote to migrate it. If there is no consensus, it is simply closed OT. You can moderator flag it and ask for it to be migrated if you so wish. –  Diago May 25 '12 at 7:15

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