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I think there should be more Stack Exchange networks available when flagging a question to be migrated. For example I'd think that the following question:

What programming languages can I assume on a random Linux server by default?

...would be a better fit on unix.stackexchange.com instead of Stack Overflow. But without the option to mark it so, I feel hesitant to mark it.

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Flag for moderator attention instead and mention that you think it fits on Unix.SE best. –  Anna Lear Jun 23 '11 at 19:23
    
Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/77264/… –  Josh Caswell Jun 23 '11 at 19:25
    
If you're hesitant to explain why it should be migrated, why does just selecting an option without stating your case make it more worthy of migration? –  random Jun 23 '11 at 19:26
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I'm hesitant because the "does not belong here" -> "off topic" -> "selection" path seems as the correct way to report such flagging. And when something's not straight forward you doubt your method and question the correctness or the reason why no other option exists. Alas instead of searching through meta I just looked over the related posts by name and didn't see the same that I see now on the siderbar. –  mhitza Jun 23 '11 at 19:36
    
I have so many flagging cases where I run into this. I also do appreciate the don't offload our junk onto another SE site (especially since I visit a number of them). So why isn't there a migrate directly to the garbage can option? It doesn't meet SO guidelines for a question and it probably wouldn't meet any other site's guidelines either? –  demongolem Aug 8 '13 at 18:02

8 Answers 8

OK, even accepting that the actual process of migrating questions should be left to moderators, the current user-interface flow is suboptimal. So I suggest adding one more option to that dialog:

Mockup

You could do this both for the flag-for-migration case and for the vote-to-close case. The technical effect would be the same in both cases: a moderator would have to migrate the question. But the user experience would be different:

  • Selecting an option and entering text into a field feels like going forward, in contrast to the back or cancel-and-flag steps required otherwise.
  • Going forward feels like one did the right thing, whereas having to go back feels like having made an error.
  • This approach also reduces the number of clicks required to get this flagged properly.
  • Having only to enter the name of the target site, instead of a full sentence, caters for lazybusy people.

Seeing as this question here currently has , you might want to also look at this more recent answer along the same lines, and if you voted here, vote for that, too.

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Migration voting should just lead to closure as off topic. Migrations should just be stopped. The angst they cause far outweighs the utility to the OP who can easily copy+paste their question elsewhere. Moderators shouldn't be forced to make a decision either, we're 'experts' on our own sites but (mostly) lack sufficient knowledge of other sites to be accurate as well as not having the time/interest to check the receiving site to see if the question has already been asked and is therefore a dupe. –  Iain Jul 22 '12 at 21:37
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@Iain, if you downvoted this answer because you are against migration in general, please bear in mind that this answer was taking the existence of migration as a fact. So if you can migrate at all, then the user interface needs improvement in this way. I understand your point, but that's a different request you make there. –  MvG Jul 22 '12 at 21:42
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If you open this as a new question, it's almost certain to get marked as a duplicate, I'd guess. You could draw attention to it by putting a bounty on this question and linking to your answer in the bounty text, though. –  Kyle Strand May 1 '13 at 21:00
    
I didn't feel like spending repo on this, so no bounty. Instead I formulated a new question about this, and once I was ready to commit it, I found an existing one asking for pretty much the same thing. –  MvG Jul 8 '13 at 6:05
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For extra credit, have the SE software automatically build the "blessed" list out of the most common places that questions are moved to. A new SE site would start out with a blank list, then dynamically build the top five out of the places that questions are actually migrated to. –  Wayne Conrad Jan 6 at 11:58
    
@WayneConrad: Sounds reasonable, but taking the activity of the current user into account might make sense as well. In any case, both of this are different requests, so please don't mix things. –  MvG Jan 6 at 12:05
    
@MvG Have I done something wrong? My suggestion is related to your idea; it only makes sense if your idea is implemented. –  Wayne Conrad Jan 6 at 12:18
    
@WayneConrad: My experience is from bug trackers, where users report tons of related requests, then some dev has some problem with one of these, and decides to decline the whole thing. That's why I try to keep feature requests well focused. But this here is no regular bug tracker, and there is little danger of people confusing the main post with some comment on it. So my reaction was probably too strong. In any case, I don't see that strong a connection between a different method for the blessed list and that additional radio button for flagging. Both could be implemented independently. –  MvG Jan 6 at 12:57

In response to Jeff's post:

This is a "Don't Make Me Think" barrier; we don't want to present closers with a list of 12 different destinations and make them suss out which one is correct.

Now that there are dozens and dozens of SE sites, the chance that the question should be moved to one of the "blessed" sites is getting smaller and smaller. At this point, either:

  1. Remove all "blessed" SE sites, and require a diamond-level moderator to move posts; the "vote-to-close" dialog box will simply say "Off topic".
  2. Enable post moving for all users with "vote-to-close" privileges.

Either way makes more sense than the current method.

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There are only 5 blessed migration slots, of which 1 is dedicated to meta.

This is a "Don't Make Me Think" barrier; we don't want to present closers with a list of 12 different destinations and make them suss out which one is correct. There should be 4 most frequently correct destinations + meta. If you believe a pet site deserves a place in that list, prove it with data of existing closed questions, not blue sky "what if there were.." imagineering

If you feel strongly a question belongs on a site that isn't listed, then there is a way to do this -- flag them for moderator attention instead!

Can you make a case that these Unix questions are more prevalent than one of the other 4, and should displace it in the list? Do you have data to support this, in the form of a giant list of closed questions that belonged on {x} site?

(I am also disinclined to randomly migrate questions in the network unless they are of good quality, and strong fits to the target site.)

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I don't just report questions for the fun of it. I wanted to report that specific question because it's the "perfect" fit for unix.se, it's rightly covered in their faq "Applications packaged in *nix distributions". Now, I do understand your point, but after taking the 3 stepped form off reporting an off topic at least it would have been nice an message box to input another network. –  mhitza Jun 25 '11 at 14:46
    
@mhit you can do it in one step; click flag then click on the other input area and type 'belongs on unix.se', and press enter. –  Jeff Atwood Jun 25 '11 at 17:47
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@Jeff...I think the issue is that people aren't doing that. It's not intuitive. Perhaps there could be a message added to the list of migration options along the lines of "If the SE site you want to migrate this to is not listed, please flag and leave a comment for an admin" –  DA. Jun 26 '11 at 20:35
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" you can do it in one step;" You forgot the "Wait hours to days until the migration happens" step. –  CodesInChaos Jun 6 '12 at 19:46
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@JeffAtwood - couldnt you add a small "other" link to the dialog which would then list more sites? a lot of times i vaguely remember a suitable stackexchange site exists but dont really remember its name, and this way you wont really impact the usability of the current dialog –  radai Mar 13 '13 at 4:54
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hmmm who is able to say that the question would be a good fit on site X? I think only those who ARE active on that site. So the migration options should be dependent on where the user is active. –  Lukasz Apr 15 '13 at 20:09
    
@JeffAtwood Here is one example of a question that belongs on Apple.SE more than on SuperUser. Lots of people are developing Rails applications on Macs and the resulting configuration issues are entirely Apple/Mac-specific. To me that makes them more relevant to Apple.SE than to SU. As for presenting "a giant list of closed questions that belonged on {x} site" I have no idea how I would generate such a list assuming one existed. –  Old Pro May 10 '13 at 14:11
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Sorry I'm late at this party. An option would also be that the list of available migration sites is intelligently taken from the post tags... for example if a post is tagged wordpress, maybe list wordpress.SE in the list of 5. –  Tallmaris Sep 18 '13 at 9:28

Since main problem with extending this list seems to be "users are not familiar with entire network and would vote to migrate questions to inappropriate sites", I think good solution would be to let user to vote to migrate to any site where he have some good enough reputation, that, presumably, shows that he knows what is on-topic there.

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I was going to post this very same question/request in here. Based on Jeff's comment:

"prove it with data of existing closed questions"

I ran into two questions yesterday that could have been answered on other SE sites rather than outright closed:

This would have been a good question for Graphic Design or UX: web 2.0 web design

And this would have been for Graphic Design: why is everything I draw in inkscape invisible?

While I appreciate the intent of keeping the list of 'blessed sites' one can migrate too short, it is probably backfiring now that there are so many SE sites out there. The fact that I CAN'T pick those sites to migrate made me think...I couldn't figure out where the option may be. I finally flagged it and added some comments that it should be migrated, but the questions where still closed.

So, yes, one can add custom comments to a flag to get it migrated, but if those two questions are an example, people aren't using that method.

If the SE network is going to grow at the pace it is, it'd be great to have more of these questions get to the appropriate sites rather than fall off the radar as closed.

What if there was a 6th option to the main 5 of 'other' and, when selected, either a comment field or a DDL of the other options could be presented.

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You can (and have... sorta) suggest to the authors of these questions that they ask on the appropriate site. This has an immediate advantage over migration in that these users probably don't have an account on the destination site and so won't get notified of answers, comments, etc. until they register - so migration can leave them unaware that their question has been answered until they check back. Migration is a courtesy, and users should extend it only to those questions they feel have sufficient value to warrant their preservation even if the author disappears. –  Shog9 Jun 26 '11 at 20:43
    
True. Though I feel migration is cleaner in terms of site content. Otherwise you end up with people cross-posting on multiple SE sites. –  DA. Jun 26 '11 at 20:55
    
(Granted, an even better big-picture solution would be that once you register in one SE site, you're already set up for all the others...but that's a whole other topic. ;) –  DA. Jun 26 '11 at 20:56

Moderators can migrate anywhere in the Stackexchange network, so flagging a question is the right way to get it migrated to a destination where ordinary users can't migrate to. Just use the free-form " it needs ♦ moderator attention" option and suggest where the question should be migrated to.

There is no real need for more canned flag messages as you can write whatever you want into a flag.

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If flagging is sufficient for all needs, then why bother giving 3k users the option to migrate during close votes? As it stands, SO gets a fair number of linux questions that need to go to unix.SE, but all we can do is flag for mod attention. It makes little sense to leave out unix.SE / askdifferent.SE / android.SE when we already have self-serve migration paths for SF and SU –  Mike Pennington Jun 23 '11 at 19:47
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I agree with Mike...giving 5 options implies that there are 5 other sites. If we want to keep that list short, I'd suggest adding a 6th 'other' which then could give a user a drop-down list of the full set of options. –  DA. Jun 26 '11 at 20:31
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@DA: I totally agree with you and I think it should be it's own answer. I have wanted to flag to move a post to a different site than the ones on the list a lot recently. Why can't there be a dropdown if it's not in the blessed 5? –  durron597 Nov 3 '12 at 2:40

While I fully understand the argument, that adding too many migration options is impractical simply because the people should not be able to say that something is on topic on site X without practically knowing the site X, that doesn't mean that no StackOverflow user knows other sites.

This is quite obvious and I don't think anyone would doubt it.

So the practical solution would be to give 3-4 general migration options to all (such as Meta, Programmers and WebApps) and, as additional options, the sites related anyway with SO, for the users which have at least YYY (say, 500) reputation on them.

Giving migration option to, say, Travel.SE would make no sense. I can hardly imagine any question asked on SO that would fit there. But, for example, WebApps, WebMasters, Unix, Ubuntu, Wordpress etc. are perfect candidates to such expanded list.

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The idea of being able to migrate something to any site is very appealing, especially given how many more SE sites are than at the time this question was originally asked. The presence of several overlapping sites, like questions on SO and Wordpress.SE, adds additional need as users might not be aware of one of the more specific sites, and might realize they could get a better answer elsewhere.

But given the age of this post, I am surprised no one has mentioned the 2nd issue with migration in addition to the Jeff's "don't make me think" mantra. The 2nd problem is, as a collective whole, the community sucks at migrating questions. A user with vote-to-close privileges will see a networking question and say "this should be migrated to Server Fault" without really knowing what Server Fault is all about and whether the question is actually on topic there. Then at least 3 others would see the vote for migration and also vote the same without really know if the migration path is correct.

This "lack of knowledge" migration leaves the other site to have to clean up the crap coming from SO that doesn't really belong. And most SE sites do not have substantial enough community moderation to deal with the volume.

If a solution to this lack of knowledge can be found to work reliably, I think we can trust the community (or at least a subset of the community) to migrate posts to any site without having to get 2 sets of moderators (on the original site and the target site) involved.

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