What is migration?
Migration allows a question that isn't a good fit for the site it is posted on to be gracefully moved to another site in the Stack Exchange network where it would be a better fit. It preserves the current revision of the question, all its answers, any comments on any post, and sometimes the votes.
When a question is migrated, a new copy of the question is posted on the destination site (the "destination question"), and the original question is demoted to "stub" status (see below).
Side effects of migration
The destination question's score is reset to zero if the origin question had a negative score. Otherwise, its score is retained, and the votes are attributed to the Community user.
- The original scores are preserved for the answers, with the votes (again) being attributed to the Community user.
If anyone who participated in the question on the origin site (asked it, answered it, or edited or commented on it or any of its answers) does not have an account on the target site, their username will be displayed as grayed-out plain text.
- If they later create an account on the destination site, their username will be linked to their new account on posts and edits, but not on comments.
Answers on the origin site are deleted immediately upon question migration. (This causes a reversal of all associated reputation on the origin site.) The answers will be visible on the destination question.
The question is left as a stub, or pathway to the new site, for 30 days, after which it is automatically deleted by a weekly script. During this time, the stub question will be locked to preserve the post in its original state, preventing comments and votes. (Again, this deletion causes a reversal of all associated reputation on the origin site.) Note that the old link will continue to redirect to the new question even after that time.
When a post is migrated, the destination question will contain a notice saying that it was migrated and contain a link to the old (now stub) question's revision history. This will be publicly visible to <10k users even after the stub is deleted.
- This notice is hidden 60 days after the question is migrated, though the entries still remain in the revision history.
When can a question be migrated, and who can migrate it?
Only questions which are less than 60 days old can be migrated; this rule also applies to moderators.1
Any user with the cast close and reopen votes privilege (3,000 on designed sites, 500 on beta and non-designed sites, or 250 if it's your own question) can vote to close a question with the migration reason and choose from a selection of up to five sites2 which are most relevant to that site. Simply load the close dialog, select A community-specific reason, and then select This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network in the community-specific reason list. This will present the list of available migration targets.3
In order for the question to be migrated, at least three of the close votes must be for migration to the same site. If the question reaches five close votes without this majority, the question will not be migrated, just closed; this includes cases where a majority of votes are for migration, but there aren't enough votes to migrate to the same site. (On Stack Overflow, which requires only three close votes to close a question, a unanimous vote of migration to the same site is required. On Hardware Recommendations, which only requires a single vote to close a question, only one user's vote is enough to migrate.)
If you don't have the privilege to cast close votes, you may flag to migrate it just as you would cast a recommend closure flag. This would put the question into a queue for users with enough reputation to review and possibly cast votes.
If the question has already been migrated from another site, you won't see the option to migrate it. Flag for a moderator to migrate it.4 (Note that there exists a special process for rejecting a migration that does not require a moderator's intervention; see What causes a migration to be rejected and what happens after? below.)
If the site isn't in the list of available migration targets, or the question got closed without being migrated, first read the below points and consider if migration is/was really the appropriate action (in many cases, it isn't). If you think so, you can flag the question for moderator attention and request that they migrate it for you. Simply explain in the reason which site you want it to be migrated. (Please specify only one site; don't list all possible sites it could go to.)
When should I consider migration, and when is it inappropriate?
Here are some basic flowcharts to help guide you through the decision on whether you should vote to migrate, or whether migration isn't appropriate:
Some important points:
Don't migrate crap! Ever. If the question is likely to be closed or deleted on the destination site anyway, don't bother migrating it. Just vote to close it normally and advise the OP of the other site in the comments. If they decide to improve the question, then they can go post it over there, or they can edit their question so it's on-topic on the original site.
Check for cross-posts. It may be possible, that after hearing about the other site, that the OP may cross-post their question onto the other site. Therefore, check the intended destination site for potential cross-posts before voting to migrate. If it has been cross-posted, vote to close it normally instead, as migrating it will make a duplicate question on the destination site.
Avoid migrating answered questions. The point of migration is to send the question to a place where it is on-topic and can get answered. If the OP already has an answer, then we've already defeated the purpose of migration and the destination site won't have anything to do with the question. Avoid migrating these questions unless they are of extremely good quality and risk deletion on their current site.
Don't migrate for the sake of migration. We only migrate questions because they are not a good fit on the original site. It is perfectly possible for a question to be good fits on multiple sites, but that is not a reason to migrate it elsewhere, unless the OP specifically requests it. As a general rule, if someone asks a question here, and it's a good fit here, it should stay here.
Be familiar with the destination site. If you are not familiar with the destination site, read through its about page and help center thoroughly and make sure the question actually belongs there. Don't just look at the name of a site and automatically assume that the question can be asked there. Each site has its own rules, and rules vary greatly across sites.
If you're not sure, don't vote to migrate it. Let someone else who is sure do that, just vote to close it normally, or ask for opinions from the community in a relevant chat room.
What causes a migration to be blocked and what happens after?
A migration can be automatically blocked before it even gets migrated if any of the following conditions apply:
If a migration gets blocked, the question will just get closed as off-topic, and not migrated.
What causes a migration to be rejected and what happens after?
A question will be considered rejected by the target community after it has already been migrated if, on the target site, it gets closed for any reason other than as a duplicate, or deleted (provided it wasn't already closed as a duplicate or merged), while the migration stub on the original site still exists (hasn't been deleted).
When a question which was already migrated gets rejected later, the entire process of the migration is reversed, except the original question will remain closed as off-topic. All the answers are returned to the origin site and undeleted, and are subsequently deleted on the target site*. Also, the rejected question on the target site will be locked, then automatically deleted 30 days later by a weekly script.
If the stub question has been deleted on the origin site (usually automatically after 30 days), migration rejection will not occur, and the question will simply be closed without any other effects.
* If the original migration was to a meta site, the answers will not be automatically deleted there if the migration gets rejected.
Anything else I should know about migration?
Comments on the question that link to the homepage of the target site will be deleted. This is to remove redundant comments that tell the author to post on that site.
Locking a question that has been migrated from another site and closed without rejecting the migration will cause the "migration rejected" notice to show up on the question, regardless of whether or not the question is actually a rejected migration. Any other lock reason notice will be ignored, and the timestamp on the "migration rejected" notice will be the time it was locked.
Moderators have the ability to clear the migration history of a question if needed. This delinks the question from the migration stub on the origin site, and makes it act like it was just posted on the destination site in the first place. This is often used to prevent the effects of a rejected migration if the original site's stub still exists, or to re-migrate a question that was previously migrated from another site.
If a question that is migrated is reopened on the origin site and subsequently re-migrated to the same site, it will be linked to the previously-created question on the destination site, rather than creating a new question there.
1 After 60 days, migrations can only be performed by Stack Exchange employees. These are performed only in very, very rare procedural cases and are usually not done on request.
2 Not every site has selectable migration paths; in particular, beta sites, recently-graduated sites, and Meta Stack Exchange don't have any selectable sites (other than the site's per-site meta, if applicable, and vice versa). On such sites, only moderators can migrate questions out of that site (as they can choose any site to migrate to).
3 Moderators may migrate to any site in the Stack Exchange network, including all meta sites, and aren't limited to just the five listed sites.
4 As a moderator, if you want to migrate a question that has already been migrated from another site, you must first clear its original migration history. Only SE staff can migrate already-migrated questions without doing so. Note that if a staff member re-migrates a question already migrated from another site, it won't be marked "rejected".