Clicking on a migrated question now leads to an immediate header redirect to the target site.

For a new user, this must be utterly confusing. They asked a question on one site, and suddenly end up on another they don't know anything about, and usually don't have an account on. The explanation why this happened (migrated from is small and extremely easy to overlook.

I also find it slightly annoying myself, and going against my instinctive expectations when browsing the site. The decision of switching over to a different site should be left to the user. Forcing this upon them feels wrong.

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The auto-deletion on the source site makes it frustrating to look at a questionable migration, because I can't see if it was a community voted migration or whether a moderator acted on it. –  Rebecca Chernoff Jan 2 '11 at 21:51
@Rebecca yeah. Plus, the feature probably removes all "favourite" markers on the question that were set prior to migration. –  Pëkka Jan 2 '11 at 21:53
@Rebe: what auto-deletion? Click the "migrated from..." link and view the original. –  Shog9 Jan 2 '11 at 23:07
@Shog9, Only mods / 10k users on the original site will be able to see it. If I try to view the source of a question on WA that was migrated from SU or SO, I get Page Not Found as I don't have 10K on those sites. –  Rebecca Chernoff Jan 2 '11 at 23:20
@Rebe: I just viewed the originals of questions migrated to SO from SF and Stats.SE - I don't have significant rep on either site, but the questions showed up without a problem. Migrated questions can be deleted without disrupting the redirect, but I don't think it's automatic (at least not yet). –  Shog9 Jan 2 '11 at 23:23
@Shog9, perhaps I (and a few other mods I've talked to) aren't correct about what is happening then. Of the questions from the list of recently migrated questions, I can't view the source of any I've sampled. Maybe these are all being manually deleted? Hrm. –  Rebecca Chernoff Jan 2 '11 at 23:32
Ok, I did find a couple that I can view on the original site. So this seems to be a separate issue. Sorry for the sidetrack. –  Rebecca Chernoff Jan 2 '11 at 23:40
This raises another question, if it gets migrated, can't the migration script look to see if the account is associated to that site, and if it's not, autoassociate them? –  jcolebrand Jan 20 '11 at 18:57
As an aside: as for browsers the redirects are a 301 Moved Permanently, I assume search bots will see the same. I guess folks coming from up-to-date search engines do not even see the old site in the results. I like that. –  Arjan Jan 20 '11 at 19:18
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4 Answers

I kind of disagree.

On the one hand, I agree it's a little bit confusing to get sent to a totally different site.

But on the other hand, most users aren't going to care where the information is, they just want to see the information now, period. This is really important, IMO.

So I think if anything should be changed, I would suggest a hybrid solution: instead of immediately redirecting, the original question could be shown, but auto-redirect after a short period of time. A prominent message would tell the user what's going to happen: "This question has been migrated to <target site>, you will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds."

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+1 This I could totally live with. You can stop a meta redirect with the ESC key if you want to review the original question, or wait a few seconds to see the migrated version. –  Pëkka Jan 2 '11 at 22:50
I'd suggest a revision to your proposal - that the auto-redirect happen immediately, but if the owner of the question is the one being redirected, a small &owner=1 gets appended to the migrated URL which triggers one of those dropdown messages (like when you're auto-logged in) advising the user that their question has been moved to a more appropriate website. –  Mark Henderson Jan 21 '11 at 3:59
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The explanation why this happened (migrated from is small and extremely easy to overlook.

So move it above the question, under the title, Wikipedia-style.

Or don't - it'll still be easy to miss if you're not looking for it, and most users probably aren't looking for it. Which kinda kills the rationale for throwing it in their faces.

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The site is designed around the wanted behavior, asking your question on the wrong one clearly isn't.

So should we maintain a broken workflow, just for the ease of use of a user, who didn't know where to ask his question? Do we need to show everybody this dead end page? I hope not, because after him I hope lot's of other users will see the question too.

As for the mods being interested in who migrated the questions: stop caring! Migrations don't happen by accident and we should assume that every migration is a correct one. If a lot of questions get wrongly migrated, then we should educate our users as to how to behave, not maintain some broken workflow.

Besides with the new notification system, you would expect a user to still get notified if any activity occurs on his question. Therefore removing the necessity of maintaining the original question.

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it's not the ease of use for the user alone, it's for everyone who happens upon the question. The page doesn't have to be a dead end: A timed redirection could lead to the same result, but with less confusion for everyone involved. –  Pëkka Jan 3 '11 at 0:06
I like this answer... Trying to avoid confusing confused users is pointless. –  Shog9 Jan 3 '11 at 0:08
@Pekka: A timed redirect is only useful if you're visiting the question for reasons other than reading it (or reading the answers). Otherwise, it serves only to interrupt you in the middle of reading. Most users are probably here to read. The current system provides a link back if you really want to view the original. –  Shog9 Jan 3 '11 at 0:10
@Shog well, I can see your points, especially the Wikipedia reference. Still, in my eyes, the automatic redirect is a more broken workflow than having a page in between, because you're switching sites and UIs in the process. I don't like it, and I can't see the huge burden in having the user make one more click to a different site. We'll have to agree to disagree –  Pëkka Jan 3 '11 at 0:19
Again: you shouldn't have to care about the original question, because it serves no purpose. –  Ivo Flipse Jan 3 '11 at 8:39
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Here's the text from my duped feature request on this:

I just had it happen to me that I clicked on a closed question on Super User and it immediately directed me to Stack Overflow, where it had been migrated. So I have no idea who did the migration, and if there had been edit history, I'm not sure it would have all gone over. If ALL of the information isn't moved with the question, then please don't make the link take me directly to the other site.

Another point is that since I don't know up front if the question was migrated, I won't know whether to right-click on it to open it in another tab, as opposed to opening it in the same window. I want to keep my Super User window on Super User.

Edit: Now it's getting ridiculous. I clicked on a link to an SO question and got a "page not found" page on Webmasters. SE is going to end up being a graveyard of dead links.

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Clicking an extra link isn't hard and auto redirection in this case degrades user experience (a little) imho. –  abel Jan 20 '11 at 18:58
The "redirect to deleted question" thing bugs me a bit... I'm thinking the site should kick you back or something if that happens. –  Shog9 Jan 27 '11 at 17:00
@shog9, Do up a FR on that specific point and I'll throw you a vote, and help you in your push to 50k. –  Lance Roberts Jan 27 '11 at 17:02
after thinking about this for a bit, I feel the correct solution is to allow destination sites to reject migrations. If the question was actually off-topic, there's no point to redirecting at all; if it wasn't (but was just a bad question...) then 404 should be fine (since it probably should be/have been deleted on the originating site anyway). –  Shog9 Jan 27 '11 at 17:29
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