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I asked a question on Stack Overflow, it got a few up-votes and one answer. I wrote a comment in response to the answer but couldn't submit it because my question had been migrated to Super User (the answer appears to have disappeared in the process).

I'll admit not 100% clear-cut in terms of which site it belonged on, but it would have been nice to have been given the benefit of the doubt rather than having the knee-jerk reaction of the instantaneous migration. I asked it on SO because it related to Java development (seems that some people agreed that it was a reasonable question because they voted it up).

Another example is this question, which seems to me to be clearly directed at programmers even though it relates to hardware. In this case the asker isn't even a Super User user so moving it isn't particularly helpful. Yes, he can become a user, but I don't feel that this hard-line demarcation of topics is constructive.

So, my suggestion for migration etiquette is:

If a question falls into an area of overlap between two sites, leave it on the one that the submitter chose. Migration should be reserved for cases where a question clearly doesn't belong, because otherwise it negatively impacts the user experience (of the asker).

EDIT: Another example of over-zealous migration.

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@Dan - Please note that once a question is migrated, it can only be sent back if the original question is reopened by the moderators on the source site. In the case you have flagged, if I do send the question back to SO, it becomes an endless loop since it points back to the original. Therefore the only way this question could be moved back is by e-mailing the team directly. I have also flagged the question accordingly. – BinaryMisfit Sep 18 '09 at 21:30
That last one should have probably moved to Server Fault. None of those questions really belong on Stack Overflow. – Brad Gilbert Sep 18 '09 at 21:33
@Brad - I agree. I was commenting due to the question being flagged on SU. However, since the community has not voted to move it back, and it actually has answers on SU, I am extremely reluctant to move it back even if it was possible. I think it is fine for SU, and I stated that originally in this question. – BinaryMisfit Sep 18 '09 at 21:36

The decision to migrate will always be a judgement call. No matter what an individual thinks about a decision, the community or moderators may still come to a different conclusion. For overlap questions I think it needs to be case by case.

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+1 The 10K+ users and moderators have a very good sense of what goes where. It is rare for the decision to be reversed. – BinaryMisfit Aug 28 '09 at 19:09
My suggestion is merely to give the submitter the benefit of the doubt in the case of overlap. By asking on Stack Overflow I was more likely to get the attention of Java programmers who may have been able to provide more helpful follow-up information. – Dan Dyer Aug 28 '09 at 19:14
@Diago ah, now here. There's plenty of 10k moderators that don't have a clue where questions belong – theotherreceive Aug 29 '09 at 13:47

Your question got migrated and so did all the answers. You can get it on SuperUser and keep things going there. If you feel it was wrongly migrated, then flag the original for moderator attention and they can make a call on it.

If your question gets migrated everything gets deleted and it gets locked on the original, but everything is persisted on the new question posted on the destination site.

There is no way that you can have some sort of mechanic to test for "overlapping-ness", so if you feel as if it should stay, then talk to a mod or convince your peers to see your way. Other way just go to the other site and continue on and get your answer.

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The exception is if it is migrated as you are writing an answer. – EBGreen Aug 28 '09 at 19:06
I've always had a habit of doing a quick copy of whatever I write in an answer if I'm afraid of losing it due to something like that. I can definitely see that as a frustration though. – TheTXI Aug 28 '09 at 19:08
I have that habit as well. :) – EBGreen Aug 28 '09 at 19:09
+1 Not sure why you got downvoted. However communicating with the moderators is always a good idea. – BinaryMisfit Aug 28 '09 at 19:10
There was an answer on SO. It's still visible on my responses page but is not on the closed SO question or on Super User. – Dan Dyer Aug 28 '09 at 19:13
If the answer was submitted after the move it would not show on SU. It is most likely a timing issue. – BinaryMisfit Aug 28 '09 at 19:14
What if I feel it was wrongly migrated? "Does Platform A have support for Language X is a programming question. It doesn't belong with "where is this tool bar in Windows 7" type questions – Rob Allen Aug 28 '09 at 19:19
@Diago: The answer was on the SO question before the migration (the question was showing Close(4)). The close/migration happened while I was writing my comment in response to it. – Dan Dyer Aug 28 '09 at 19:21
If you feel the migration was wrong then flag it and explain in the text box. – EBGreen Aug 28 '09 at 19:21
I think we're going to get less of this as SuperUser's intended audience starts to find its way there. Right now the same people are on SU as on SF/SO which makes a Java on Mac question viable. Once the general population takes over though, SO/SF people will be less willing to send such a question to the unwashed masses. I hope. – Rob Allen Aug 28 '09 at 19:25
Doesn't that seem a bit pompous? – EBGreen Aug 28 '09 at 19:27
@EBGreen How do I flag it? It seems there is no "flag" link for migrated questions. I don't expect flagging it to make any difference but I would at least like to register my futile protest vote. – Dan Dyer Aug 28 '09 at 19:32
You would need to flag it on SU. – EBGreen Aug 28 '09 at 19:39
@EBGreen Thanks, done. – Dan Dyer Aug 28 '09 at 19:43
Since both questions are getting answers on SU I am going to leave it to the TXI to make a call on this one. – BinaryMisfit Aug 28 '09 at 19:46

I asked a similar (but not the same) question a while back about topics that could span both the StackOverflow and ServerFault sites (this was before SuperUser was launched).

Marc our moderator said:

I think this is a narrow set of cases, though. As long as the question explains why it is relevant to the given site (i.e. there is a reason to suspect server and/or development, I can't see a problem with it being on either (or even both).

It's a judgement call. In your case the opposite could've happened, i.e. you asked the question on SuperUser but then ended up having the question migrated to StackOverflow because of the mention of Java (which people equate to programming). It comes under the category of "You're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't".

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@Kev: That's a very good point. Perhaps some cross-site experimentation is in order ;) I suspect that some moderators are just looking for excuses to exercise their powers. Are there any cases of moderators from one site sending a question back after it was migrated? – Dan Dyer Aug 28 '09 at 20:17
I tried once but it didn't work. If was trying to send a question back to SF. However be careful, these two questions where moved by 10K moderators who require 5 votes to move a question. The actual site moderators where not involved. – BinaryMisfit Aug 28 '09 at 20:20

Both examples of the questions are perfect for SU. The other users including myself have already done extensive work on the second question to make it easier to find information.

To link your account on any of the sites can be done easily enough and ownership is automatically claimed. The line for what goes where has been defined a long time ago, and the community general has to vote 5 times before migrating a question, unless one of the moderators make the move.

I see no problem with these question being moved. They will be better answered and handled where they are now, and this is the reason the option to migrate questions exist.

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