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I think the system needs to start proving a slight disincentive to migrate questions relative to simply closing them. I believe this is necessary since it seems like questions that are off topic seem to somewhat frequently be dumped from one site to another where it is not on topic.

I think it is necessary because a close-to-migrate vote is slightly different then most of the other close reasons. In most of the other close cases the poster can modify his question and it can be reconsidered by the community he posted in. A migrated question cannot be fixed, and if the author had selected the correct audience, but just ask the question badly then there is not hope for getting the question back.

I think that a close-to-migrate vote should cost the caster 2-5 rep unlike any of the other close reasons. If a person has next to no reputation on the destination they may be simply guessing that it is appropriate and not actually know.

If possible an exception could even be made for the rep cost for migration. If the person voting had the more then ~3k on both the source and destination then maybe there doesn't need to be a cost. If a person is established in both communities they probably know what belongs where and reasons for a disinterested would not really apply.

Another exception could be made so that there is no rep cost migrating to the meta.*.

Even if this change was applied retroactively I doubt there would be that much of a rep loss for most people.

I am not sure why people thing that a migration shouldn't come with a rep cost. We loose rep to downvote which tries communicate they question/answer is not useful. Why shouldn't there be an equal or greater cost to take a bad question and dump on some other site. If the question is well written and actually belongs on the other site I will gladly accept small rep cost. If the question is badly written it probably should just be closed as offtopic/not a real question. A small cost may encourage people to be sure that something belongs before trying to migrate.

I think a change like this will become very important if migrating to Stack Exchange is enabled. As nunber if sites increase the likely hood of questions being migrated that are not on topic is just going to get worse.


Some recent migrations probably shouldn't have happened.

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I really wonder If there is any way to track the downvotes/upvotes per person per primary site used. I bet that the vast majority of the downvoters primary use SO instead of SF/SU –  Zoredache Jul 27 '10 at 18:48
+1 Because many people voting migrate don't know much about the site they are voting to migrate to. But I disagree with your solution. –  nb69307 Jul 27 '10 at 18:50
This is a problem, but I don't think it should cost rep. Maybe it should be required that you have a linked account with a certain amount of rep on the target site before you can vote to migrate to that site? (Just to show that you have at least a minimal idea of what goes on at the target site.) –  Bill the Lizard Jul 27 '10 at 18:50
@Bill How much are you thinking? Gotta be more than the association bonus, of course. So 250? 500? More? I could get behind that idea, though. –  dmckee Jul 27 '10 at 18:56
@dmckee: I was thinking 1000 on the target site, but 500 should probably be enough. I'd say anywhere in that neighborhood is proof enough of cluefulness. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 27 '10 at 19:05
@Bill Calibration point: I'm in the low 800s on SF, and it seems, may not be clueful enough... –  dmckee Jul 27 '10 at 19:13
Here's a good example of this problem: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/4139/… The question really should have been closed outright, rather than migrated. It's worthless. –  Paul McMillan Oct 21 '10 at 1:51
Also, +1 very much for the idea of requiring rep on the target system to migrate a question there. I think 1k or so would work reasonably well. –  Paul McMillan Oct 21 '10 at 1:53
Actually, a mis-migrated question can get fixed. Not as easily as I would like, and it requires mod intervention, but it can be done. –  Al E. Mar 13 '11 at 15:40

6 Answers 6

up vote 15 down vote accepted

One of the key problems with migrations is that there is no easy way for the receiving site to give feedback to the users who migrated a question. If I wrongly migrate questions to for example Super User, I will just keep doing that none-the-wiser.

There could be some sort of moderation or feedback system for the close reasons. If you close a post but everyone disagrees with you, you should get told about it. If you migrate a post and it gets migrated back, you should get told.

I don't know if there should be reputation awarded/deducted for correct/incorrect usage of close reasons, or if it should just be messages or another solution, but I feel some sort of more direct feedback is necessary if we want to help each other improve our usage of the tools we have. I think if we had this feedback then more people would start use the tools correctly.

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This is a good concept in general. It would be nice to have some sort of feedback mechanism for any of my actions that seem way off-mark compared to what the rest of the community thinks. –  Paul McMillan Oct 21 '10 at 1:54

I disagree.

Migrating is a janitorial task just like other closes. It is thankless in and of itself, but none-the-less provides a valuable community service.

Correct use of migration is important, but that is a training issue.

Side note: notice how old two of the questions you link to are? We've been working at it.

Second side note: do you have any particular (and recent) examples in mind? You know how it is: links or it didn't happen!

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I can give you lots of examples where even today things are being moved when they should not have been. superuser.com/questions/167991/… superuser.com/questions/167128/… superuser.com/questions/166646/what-is-bandwidth –  Zoredache Jul 27 '10 at 18:45
22 hours ago is old?! meta.serverfault.com/questions/498/… –  TheLQ Jul 27 '10 at 18:49
@Zoredache: I'm not highly ranked or an expert on either SF or SU, but those look defensible (though not obvious) to me. They are computer related, and pretty marginal for IT pros. BTW--usually the examples go in the body of your question. –  dmckee Jul 27 '10 at 18:50
@Lord.Q: I mis-read the links. Mea culpa. Two of them a quite old. –  dmckee Jul 27 '10 at 18:54
I didn't provide those links in the question because the third question I linked two included those links. Those questions have more the do with networking the destop computing. Which means it probably belongs more on the SF side. Some users are moving things because they are basic questions not really taking into account that some basic questions are encouraged. –  Zoredache Jul 27 '10 at 19:04
This is still very much an ongoing problem: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/4139/… –  Paul McMillan Oct 21 '10 at 1:55

This is a legitimate point. I use my best judgment about migration, but I'm not really familiar enough with SU and SF to be sure that I'm not dumping something on them that they don't want. I also don't know if the OP is going to benefit that much from the migration.

We could eliminate migration entirely, and just close as off-topic and recommend another site in the comments.

We could restrict migration voting to people who have X rep at the destination site, as Bill the Lizard suggested in his comment.

I'm not in favor of charging rep or raising the voting requirement. The primary goal is to get inappropriate questions closed. I'm not in favor of closing as off-topic and allowing people to continue to vote for migration, as that strikes me as additional complication for little gain.

We could require that 3 or 4 of the 5 close votes are for migration to a particular site. That would allow people to prevent migration by closing as "off-topic", or for other reasons, but I'd rather go easy on migration.

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Already now, if there were less than three votes for migration, it gets closed as "belongs on ..." but doesn't get migrated automatically. –  sth Aug 11 '10 at 14:47
Vote counting doesn't account for when people just pile on without caring to see it fits for migration in the first place. –  random Aug 11 '10 at 16:39

I think that Bill's comment is the best idea on how to solve this issue. Before being able to vote to migrate a question to another site you must have a reputation of say 500 or 800 or so on the other site(and have a linked profile).

This way you get a feel for what is appropriate there and what should just flatly be closed as off-topic.

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I think I might know why this question has received such a frosty reception. And it's most likely because there's not that many questions that get migrated TO Stack Overflow and the majority of this site's audience is from SO. And if you're not getting questions migrated to you that don't belong there then you're not going to have much of an idea about what it's like, and the question proposal seems stupid.

I for one believe that this is an issue, for all the reasons Zoredache mentions. Questions are getting migrated that shouldn't, simply because 2/5 people thought it should go there, and I'm guessing that for some of them, those people were simply following the herd thinking "Hey I've got these close votes, let's use them, this one has been voted for migration, that must be correct!" - It's like when I used to play Counter Strike and you'd get one player just following another player about. Not much fun when both of the players are newbies.

I don't think migration should cost rep, but to migrate I think it should need a 4/5 or maybe a 5/7 vote (kinda like Tennis?)

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I'm not huge on the idea and I'm not from SO. –  Warner Aug 18 '10 at 5:36

When we redesigned the close / migrate dialog, we intentionally made off-topic the default -- so it takes actual effort (and hopefully some reading skills?) to choose an option to migrate off the site.

Note that the links here are links to the /faq on the respective sites, too.

enter image description here

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Reading? Nah. I just look at the icons and decide whichever I like best at that moment. –  Pëkka Mar 13 '11 at 10:21
When this new dialog was introduced it did seem to make some improvement, and does seem to encourage closing over migrating more then before. I was pleased to see this added. While. I don't think my initial proposal of a reputation cost is great. I do strongly believe that creating some kind of communication channel like Mark Byers suggested would help a lot in the cases where things get migrated when they shouldn't have been. Mistakes being made is a fact of life, but we need a way to learn from them and communicate about them. –  Zoredache Mar 14 '11 at 0:06

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