I originally posted Getting a custom programming enviroment back after reboot on Server Fault as an unregistered user. It was almost immediately migrated to Super User for some unexplained reason, setting off a cascade of issues.

  1. The question was a real question from a real system administrator regarding a real laptop used as a development environment at a real workplace. Yet it was moved from the "site for system administrators and desktop support professionals" to the site for "computer enthusiasts and power users" pretty quickly without discussion or explanation. Since the original question page was deleted, there seems to be no way to find out the original justification or my original mistake, so I'm likely to repeat the same error again.
  2. As an unregistered user, I immediately lost control of the question. Someone helpfully suggested a way to recover from this but 1) it didn't work, and 2) I had trust issues with already with OpenID due to my past experience with a buggy client. That's why I was posting as unregistered (that and I was still trying to get a "feel" for the site and culture).
  3. I lost the ability to refine the question. I could crudely do this by posting "answers", which then required the effort and time of someone else to convert them to comments.
  4. I lost the ability to reward the people who spent time and effort trying to answer my question.

There's no question at all that sometimes questions do need to be migrated, though I'm sure this instance was an error. Is there a way to mitigate the suck when we do so?

  • The problem is that you started off as an unregistered users. If you're registered, you wouldn't run into these issues. Using disposable email address makes it that much harder. Jul 31, 2011 at 2:47
  • @Sathya No, as I clearly stated, my issues began when the question was migrated, not when I was an unregistered user. Clearly, unregistered users add value to the sites and the accounts act as a "trial run" for many users, I'd guess. Otherwise, they would have been phased out by now. Aug 5, 2011 at 2:26

2 Answers 2

  • If you don't like OpenID, you don't have to use it to work as an authenticated here on the SE network. You can register an identity directly with StackExchange and use that their network of sites in place of your own OpenID or other authentication.

  • It's unusual for the original question to be deleted right away in the case of migrations. Usually that is only done with spam or notably bad posts. Some mods on SF got a little excited there I think. Also it looks to me like your question should have / could have stayed on ServerFault, so I don't know that you necessarily did anything wrong. This might be a learning opportunity for SF mods as much as anything else.

  • it's not that I "don't like OpenID". At the time I didn't fully understand it. There's the initial "wait, you want me to give this brand new site I've just discovered my facebook password?" angle which goes away after a bit of education, but my issue at the time was that I was using a buggy php script. I would have to close my browser to logout. Regardless, if the site design "hates" unregistered users, perhaps they should not be allowed to post? They clearly contribute something to the site, so perhaps the migration issues should be addressed, because questions will continue to be migrated. Jul 30, 2011 at 18:01
  • 1
    >Some mods on SF got a little excited there I think. -- ya think? I bet they went something like "as an uber-system administrator and desktop support professional, I've never had to support old cranky hardware, so let's sent it over to the site for 'computer enthusiasts and power users', I'm sure there will be plenty of people there who can relate to this question!" Aug 3, 2011 at 3:36

As far as I know, there is the plan to allow the site receiving the migrated question to vote for the migration too. That would change the way the questions are migrated, when it gets implemented (and if it gets implemented).

As for the issues for the migration you report, I don't see in which way accessing the original question would help. Normally it is possible to access the original question from the migrated question, but it seems that in this case the original question has been deleted; even in the case it were not deleted, the original question is not editable anymore, it is not possible to leave comments, and it is not possible to vote for re-opening it. You could flag it for moderation attention, but I don't think they would re-open a question that has been migrated.
The other issues you report are caused from the fact you are not a registered user; if you want to have control over a migrated question (e.g., you want to be able to edit the question even when it is migrated) then you have to use the same registered account on both the sites, the one from where the question is migrated and the one where the question is migrated.

  • unregistered users are identified by cookies which are site specific. I'm thinking of some kind of cross site communication that auto-assigns the migrated question to control of the OP when s/he follows the redirect to the new location. Thus they can edit their question if it gets migrated. Jul 30, 2011 at 19:50
  • "The other issues you report are caused from the fact you are not a registered user" it is your opinion that unregistered users losing control of their question when a third party migrates the question is the expected and desired behavior of the site? Is that the way the stack exchange sites ought to work? really? Jul 30, 2011 at 19:54
  • Non registered users are not maintained between different SE sites, and anonymous users have limited privileges, which don't include having their questions attributed to themselves, when they are migrated. There isn't a way to know if two anonymous users in two different SE sites are really the same user. If you create an authenticated user, then you can ask to merge the questions you asked with the anonymous account to the ones you ask with the authenticated account. There is nothing that can do that automatically.
    – apaderno
    Jul 30, 2011 at 20:02
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    a non registered user arrives back at Server Fault to find his question migrated. Before he gets automatically forwarded, Server Fault has a back-channel communications between itself and Super User. When the user lands on Super User, he is automatically given the the cookies needed to take control of the question. This can be done securely, as long as you have a secure back channel between the two sites. Jul 30, 2011 at 20:36

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