tl;dr - Let the target site vote on whether or not to accept a migrated question into its community in order to help enforce the Don't Migrate Crap idea.

Even with limited migration paths, quite often (that is, far too often) a question gets migrated to a site when it really should have just been closed on the original site. We have the Golden Rule of Migration (ie Don't Migrate Crap) yet it still happens wasting time for those in the target community, leading to confusion for the OP, a waste of clicks by those who stumble upon the question in the future, etc.

Occasionally a diamond mod on the source site will post a question to the potential target site's meta asking if that community wants a particular question or if should just be closed on the target site. This is great, and I would love it to happen more often. But, it's rare (at least in my experience).

What I propose is a mechanism for target communities to reject migrations before they are finalized. The process would work something like this:

  • The community where the question is posted votes to migrate the question (no change from current functionality)
  • A notice is presented to the target community (possibly similar to the pending edit notification) saying that another community wants to migrate a question to them
  • Members of the target community review the pending migration and vote on whether or not to accept the migration
  • If the migration is accepted it is completed as it is today.
  • If the migration is rejected then the question stays on the original site and is closed as Off-Topic. Or, even better, with an indication that the migration was rejected by the target community.
  • 5 votes to accept or 5 votes to reject completes the voting (ie- first to 5 wins)

I would think that those with the Vote to Close privilege on the target community would be given this new Review Pending Migration privilege.

I also think that ALL migrations should be given this review, regardless of being migrated by 5 community members or by a diamond mod.

There would also be the question of whether or not migrated questions could then be closed on the target site, or at least whether or not they should be closed within X amount of time from being migrated. I could go either way on this one.

Again, nothing about the migration mechanics would change with regards to any existing answers, votes, comments, etc. That all stays the same. This is just a proposal for a migration holding tank, if you will.

My hope is that this will lead to more scrutiny when migrating, especially if there is a notice on the original site saying a migration was rejected. It should also help to reduce the gray area between some migration paths such as Stack Overflow <--> Programmers and Server Fault <--> Webmasters or Dba.


1 Answer 1


This is similiar to Show mods all network posts with pending migration votes to their site, except you have people voting instead of a mod just doing it. You're also requiring that all migrations be processed this way, which in my opinion is a fatal problem. Questions can't sit in limbo for hours until enough users have voted to accept it; it's going to confuse question askers when they could just as easily delete their question and repost it on the target site without incurring a migration delay. I like the idea of letting sites preemptively reject a migration before it happens, or reject it afterwards by closing (which should really result in reversing the migration), but forcing sites to accept every migration adds a lot of overhead to a previously frictionless process

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    I can't say that I agree that the process is frictionless as it is. Otherwise we wouldn't have to keep barking Don't Migrate Crap. I see your point about questions sitting in limbo. I also think, though, that given the velocity of close voting we'd have a similar velocity of migration reviewing. There could also be an indicator on the original question that it has been identified as off topic and is pending migration to the target site.
    – squillman
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 20:18
  • @squillman By frictionless I mean "easy", not "makes people happy". Right now migrating posts is easy, because making it hard will just dissuade people from using it. People can already post whatever they want on any site without anyone checking on them, but you're making migrating between sites require special approval, even though 5 people have already weighed in that they think it's a good post for that site Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 20:24
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    Ok, I get what you're saying. Yes, I want the friction. My point is that the people migrating it on the original site don't necessarily have any clue what is or is not relevant for the target site. And, on top of that, WAY WAY WAY too often absolute crap questions are migrated that should just be closed on ANY site.
    – squillman
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 20:39
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    I want it harder to migrate in order to avoid the frivolous migrations. For the people who are asking good questions and just got it in the wrong place, well, read the FAQ. Waiting for your pending migration is a little smack on the wrist for that. For the people who are asking absolute crap, go away. No pity for you that your migration is pending.
    – squillman
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 20:41
  • @squillman Personally I think sites comically overreact to this stuff. SE 2.0 sites act like they're drowning in a deluge of bad migrations, when it's amazing if they get one/week (other than Programmers, which actually does get abused on a regular basis). Even if migrations were a huge problem, there has to be a better solution than "force users to manually approve all of them, forever". Sites get an awful lot of bad questions in general -- should we just expand this to "users need to approve all questions"? Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 20:42
  • @squillman Mods are educated enough about this (or ought to be), so maybe when a question is closed for migration by users it should be closed and mod-flagged, rather than closed and migrated, so the mod can decide whether to migrate it or not? Still has the limbo problem though.
    – user154510
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 20:44
  • @MatthewRead Mods can already watch the list of incoming migrations if their site has a history of bad ones, that seems sufficient Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 20:48
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    @Matthew That's a though. I think I'd rather keep it with the larger group of users with Vote To Close privilege than to pin all the migrations on diamond mods. I personally don't see the limbo bit as a problem, though. At least not on the original trilogy sites and some of their close brethren. I think there is enough velocity on those sites that a migration wouldn't be pending for too long.
    – squillman
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 20:51
  • @squillman That's what people said about suggested edits -- one's been in the SO queue for 5 hours so far Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 20:52
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    @Michael There will always be exceptions. From my experience the vast majority of suggested edits fly through the review queue. At least on SF.
    – squillman
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 21:06
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    @MichaelMrozek Questions can't sit in limbo for hours - agree, this would likely be a problem. I think it can be resolved if review is made non-blocking, as suggested eg in this feature request: "migration gets rejected only if target site reviewers were fast enough to counter-vote"
    – gnat
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 6:40

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