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I'm active on several SE sites, and on a couple of them I've tried to a few times to flag posts to move to another site (that I use actively) that isn't listed in the "off-topic" migration sites. On the busier sites at least, I've had little, if any, success with this.

Finally (leaving aside my poor judgement) I figured the reason might be is that the moderators are very busy and I am simply wasting their time by raising such flags. I have also started being able to review close votes and I noticed on this question that a user had taken a different approach and had simply voted to close it with a specific comment, in this case

This question appears to be off-topic because it is about statistics and probably belongs to stats.stackexchange.com

To me this seems like a great way of approaching the problem of closing the question and letting the questioner know it belongs elsewhere. Moreover it's community based and doesn't use the moderators time. Is this a common or recommended idiom in using stackoverflow?

(related:

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You may find this question enlightening, especially animuson's answer. I've completely stopped suggesting migrations. –  Louis Apr 6 at 23:44
    
@Louis thanks a lot, that confirms what I suspected -- I just wish it were clearer so I hadn't wasted my (and the mods) time. I don't flag for migration very often due to lack of success; quite often I comment suggesting the user might flag it themselves or delete and repost onto the other site. But I like the idea of a custom close reason as it seems to work (and avoids the possibility of two live posts if the user is too lazy to delete on the original site). –  TooTone Apr 6 at 23:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

First off, don't vote to close unless the question is actually off-topic. There tends to be a fair bit of overlap between various Stack Exchange sites, particularly when you're writing code in the domain of statistics, mathematics, computational science, computer science, etc. - but that doesn't mean questions need to be kicked all over the network!

And please don't bother flagging every question you see asked that could possibly be appropriate for a different site. If it's off-topic, you'll do far more good with a comment and/or close-vote and if it's on-topic you usually don't need to do anything (but a comment might still be ok).

Generally, if a given question is on-topic where it was asked, leave it be:

Be a bit jealous of your site – don’t blithely turn askers away simply because their question could be asked somewhere else. Don’t hit them over the head with your scope, help them tailor their question to fit into it – and if that means your site’s scope overlaps a bit with another site’s, so be it.

That said, if a question is truly off-topic, a custom close reason pointing them to a more appropriate site is a great way to help the asker out. Even if the question is already closed, leaving such a comment might aid them - or others with similar problems - in finding solutions. Just make sure you're making a good recommendation: I see far too many people suggesting Server Fault for... basically any OS configuration problem, many of which aren't even off-topic and most of which would be better asked on Super User (or Ask Different, or Unix & Linux).

Save flags for truly exceptional situations:

  • Off-topic questions with great answers that would be lost without migration.
  • Borderline questions that you've answered and wish to be able to share with your peers on a different site.
  • Borderline or wholly off-topic questions that you've asked but can't delete because someone was kind enough to answer.
  • Etc.
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I would only flag for migration if it was a really, I MEAN REALLY awesome question.

Otherwise, I'd vote to close with custom option like you mentioned.

I do a few of these custom options normally when I see a question that belongs on CodeReview instead of SO. Like this :

This question appears to be off-topic because it is about improving working code. Please consider asking this at http://codereview.stackexchange.com/ instead.

I don't really ever flag for a question to be migrated, since the original questioner will see my comment, and if they want to post it there they will.

Also, it helps close the question that does not belong on the current site, since other viewers will see my custom close reason comment and will likely vote to close for the same reason.

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