I found that on SO, there are a number of off topic closed questions that should really be migrated to elsewhere. I just wonder whether the moderators are monitoring those closed questions and do the manual migration?

Although the community can opt to migrate one question to another site if the question has more than 4or 5 votes of the same site migration, but this is not sufficient as the choices of migrations available are limited, not to mention that a lot of questions that should really be migrated ended up going nowhere because the community can't reach a consensus on where it should go.

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    FYI, migration now requires 4 votes out of 5 to succeed, not 3. If the migration path isn't really clear or the question isn't good then it should just be shut down rather than shovelling it off to another site where it's potentially going to end up as abandoned noise. – DMA57361 Aug 4 '11 at 13:26
  • OK, Edited the question for this bit – Graviton Aug 4 '11 at 13:26

We do to a degree, depending on the amount of more pressing matters that there are to attend to. I think that I can speak for most of us when I say that we really enjoy the periods of time when the flag count is low and our abilities can be put to use helping high reputation users with janitorial tasks.

During that time, the information available in our moderator dashboard becomes much less interesting than the information that is available in the 10k+ tools section. This also gives us time to help look for and deal with meta tags that have been re-introduced, dig up good candidates for synonyms, spend some time looking at the more popular tag wikis and everything else that outwardly makes the site more useful.

We have, on several occasions had conferences via chat with moderators on other sites to see if any of our famous but now off topic questions would be a good fit. Some of them were migrated, but the majority of them remain locked on Stack Overflow with a banner added by a moderator that looks something like this:

This question is available for historical purposes because it is an important part of the history of Stack Overflow. Please don't misinterpret this question as a good example of what should be asked, and be sure to read our FAQ.

More recent questions closed as off topic and not migrated by the community are usually handled that way because the question does not meet the quality that we want to send to a sister site, or we know that it would duplicate many other questions on the target site. These are naturally deleted over time by users with 10k or more reputation.

Going back to our more 'active' moderation when the bulk of our time is spent servicing flags, we're more likely to intervene in order to stop a bad migration than we are to cast a single vote to send a question to a sister site. This is especially the case when dealing with our 'greatest hits' anthology. The fact of the matter remains, newer SE 2.0 sites simply don't want questions that are several years old with accepted answers. Additionally, just like on Stack Overflow, those questions might serve as a bad example of something to ask.

At this point, I think we finally have a consensus on most of the old (and now not constructive) questions that can be found on Stack Overflow. This is good, because there really are more more productive things we could be doing when the pressure in the moderation queue gets closer to atmospheric conditions :)

To that end, I think I can say we've really done all that we can do regarding the types of questions that you mentioned, at least at this point.

  • "we really enjoy the periods of time when the flag count is low" So, does this actually happen on SO, or is it just an urban myth? – Cody Gray Aug 5 '11 at 8:10
  • @Cody It does happen. Work tends to be a big productivity drain for SO, but once in a while we're able to limit it. – Tim Post Aug 5 '11 at 8:22

I doubt it, and there's little reason why they should. Most of the questions that get closed as "off topic", rather than migrated to another site are bad questions and don't deserve to be migrated anywhere.

Rarely do I see cases where people disagree on where the question should be migrated. Usually there are a handful of people voting to migrate to one site in the network, while all the rest of them have voted to close as "off topic" without migrating anywhere at all. That's completely by design. Remember that the number one rule of migration is that you never migrate crap. That's why the rule was changed to require a 4/5 consensus before a question is migrated in the first place.

Migration is not a way for one site to dump their garbage on another site. It's a way to ensure that the select few high quality questions that just happen to be asked on the wrong site are moved to a place where they will get better answers.

If you happen to see one of these high quality questions that got missed and needs to be migrated to another site, use your flags. The moderators do monitor those, and they will make the appropriate call based on the individual question and the circumstances.


I just wonder whether the moderators are monitoring those closed questions and do the manual migration?

No, but they do monitor flags, so if you see a question that should be migrated flag it and it will be done (if appropriate of course)


I am not a moderator. So, I don't know the answer to your question.

However, I believe that it is the job of the community members to flag those questions so moderators can concentrate on better things.

Please make yourself absolutely sure that the questions are worth migrating. If the question doesn't add any value, I usually flag it for moderator's attention to have those deleted.

We don't want very low quality questions hanging around that don't fit anywhere in SE websites spectrum.


As a rule, do not expect moderators to intervene unless they've been specifically notified. Stack Overflow averages around 4000 questions a day and almost 10,000 answers (not to mention edits, comments, etc.). Moderators can't monitor everything.

The surefire way to notify a moderator is to flag. Another way to reach moderators is to post on the meta site, though Stack Overflow is a bit of an exception because its meta site doubles as Stack Exchange's central Meta.

If you see an off-topic question that you think should be migrated to another site:

  1. Ask yourself whether the question should really be migrated. The golden rule of migrations is: ask yourself do we want it? — “we” being the target site. If your reaction is we want it, because you consider yourself part of the site's community, the question is worthy of migrating. If your reaction is they might want it, then go and ask them.
    (A corollary of the golden rule is Jeff's first rule: don't migrate crud.)
  2. Check if the question would be duplicate on the target site. If you find a duplicate, leave a comment pointing to the duplicate, and don't request a migration.
  3. So you're a member of a Stack Exchange site T, you've found an off-topic question on another site S, and you want the question on your site T. Then flag the question on S to request the migration.

In your flag, it can help to mention why moderators should believe your assertion for deciding that the question is good for the target site. “I'm a moderator on T and this would be a great question for us” carries more weight than “I've just found that T exists and please migrate this question there”.

If you find a question that's high-quality (clear, constructive, interesting) and off-topic, it's ok to flag it as a potential migration. Say that the question looks on-topic for some other site, and the moderator who handles your flag will check with a moderator on the potential target site. If the question is constructive and interesting but in poor English, edit it first. Remember, don't migrate crud, even off-topic crud.

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