I flagged this question: Tetris-ing an array with a note:

Should this not be moved to codegolf? It is that type of question...

And I got the response:

declined - Too old to migrate.

What does that mean? CodeGolf did not exist when this question was posted, and now it does, so it should be migrated

We have done this before countless times, especially with many questions which used to be on Stack Overflow and now are here on meta.

As shown by the selected answer here: Should we migrate old questions?, We should be migrating old questions.

  • 3
    Well, meta is different. I believe programmers specifically asked us to stop migrating super-old SO content (even though it might have been on-topic for there) because stuff from 2008 all has like a kajillion votes on it, which swamps new content even though it's from a difference place. I guess the same thinking applies to other SE sites.
    – AakashM
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 13:40
  • @AakashM see the linked question in my OP
    – Naftali
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 13:40
  • 9
    This should not be migrated because I would lose repz. REPZ! REPZ! MAH PRECIOUS REPZ!
    – Pekka
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 13:40
  • @Pekka haha oy... :-P
    – Naftali
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 13:41
  • @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA 80 views last active 2 years ago doesn't smell like current consensus to me, but let's see :)
    – AakashM
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 13:42
  • @AakashM another answer by Jeff Atwood along the same lines.
    – Naftali
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 13:44
  • 3
    What is the point of flagging mods to migrate an old question that is on-topic and already has a bunch of answers?
    – user1228
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 13:57
  • @Won't how is a code golf question on-topic on Stack Overflow?
    – Naftali
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 14:08
  • @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA: Its code, isn't it? Programming, and all? They were on topic before CG existed. That doesn't necessarily mean they are off topic now, its just that we have a site dedicated for this. Again, answer my question--why bother trolling old questions that are on topic (even ever so slightly ones) for migration?
    – user1228
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 14:11
  • @Won't usually a Stack Overflow shows some effort on the OPs part. No offense to Pekka, but that question does not cut it, and is Asking the SO community to do the coding for him, which is not constructive on Stack Overflow. I did not troll at all, someone posted their answer in SE chat and I noticed that it had no reason to be on SO.
    – Naftali
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 14:13
  • 2
    @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA: Please don't flag old, answered, on-topic questions for migration.
    – user1228
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 14:21
  • 8
    @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA: it is on topic. Barely, yes, but on topic. Would we migrate if asked today? Yep. Do we have to spend all this effing effort on old, answered, on-topic (barely or not) questions? HELL NO. It is low priority. Handling flags like this requires disproportionately more effort for their value. Therefore leave it be.
    – user1228
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 14:25
  • 1
    @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA - seriously, why are you wasting our time with this? Vote to close and move on, please.
    – Kev
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 15:46
  • 1
    @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA: Quoting @DavidZaslavsky (cannot find link, from memory) "The existence of another SE site does not change on-topicness of a question". Sites can have overlap regions (as a Chemistry mod, I've already had to deal with these with Physics and Biology). The general rules for dealing with these is that they be moved to wherever they shall get a better answer (unless the tone of the question clearly tells you which site it ought to be on). The tetris one has some good answers (though @pekka hasn't accepted any). It won't be helped much from migration. Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 15:47
  • 3
    @Manish yeah. I'm sure the question is well answered. (just explaining why I haven't accepted any yet)
    – Pekka
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 15:50

4 Answers 4


Yes, "too old" is a good reason not to migrate. Old questions are of very low value, and when old questions go from SO (with the matching crazy high views/votes) they're very disruptive to smaller communities: piles of free rep and badges for the owners of the migrated posts, the question looks disproportionately good via upvotes, the tone of the question/answers are from another site...

For an example, let's look at Difference between UI and UX (10k only), an old Stack Overflow question migrated to User Experience. The answers are from programmers, and it shows. It really really shows. The top voted answer is a couple of links to Wikipedia and a "Well I guess it means this". As a mod I've strongly considered deleting this question and starting over.

There's not much you can do with an old question. The asker has probably moved on, the answerers don't care, and all the voting in the world (practically speaking) won't fix that terrible answer being highly upvoted and accepted.

Note the "yes" argument is from a 3 year old question when the network was considerably smaller. The mood seems to have settled much more toward letting communities organically grow, and tossing old questions, especially to Beta sites, doesn't help them do that.

  • 5
    Related reading: blog.stackoverflow.com/2012/03/… (especially the last bullet point under "Respecting other communities").
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 14:35
  • 7
    I used to think that migrating old questions was a good idea - I don't think that any longer. It makes setting the tone and scope of the new site that much harder.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 14:50
  • 1
    Torch the question on UX. Nobody will miss it.
    – user7116
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 16:28
  • @sixlettervariables I have dupes to reroute...been meaning to post a Q to replace it myself (and appear highly suspicious for doing so) but never got around to it
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 16:55
  • Sure flooding new sites with old questions from Stack Overflow is harmful. But they're less disruptive if they are migrated only gradually, which is roughly the current system. An old question will only be migrated if a user comes across it and makes an affirmative judgement that it is relevant for the proposed target. Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 9:37
  • "disruptive to smaller communities" - that seems a good enough reason in and of itself. Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 17:01
  • 6
    "Old questions are of very low value" - This seems contrary to the spirit of SE sites which encourages long-term maintenance of the knowledge collected. Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 12:23
  • @ArnaudMeuret old questions on your site have some value. Old questions from other people are basically trash. It's not from your community, the original posters don't care...it's just trash someone floated over to your community in most cases. If it's valuable, it will be asked by people who care in the right community and will have a much better chance of being maintained than "oh, THAT question from Stack Overflow"
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 14:23
  • 1
    MMm I see your point, you're basically saying that if it was a good question it would have been migrated earlier but this does not account for the case of the old and good question created on the wrong site because the correct one did not yet exist. I came to this discussion from this good off-topic question which every reader wants to migrate to Unix & Linux Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 14:42
  • This is unsound reasoning. "Old questions are of very low value": false. The questions that help me the most are often years old. "they're very disruptive to smaller communities": not necessarily true. First, a question that is at the wrong site is already a disruptive presence by dint of that fact: at least post-migration it would no longer be a category error. As for rep/etc, some questions would not be disruptive at all; others could have their upvotes reset or scaled according to the relative size of the source and target communities.
    – user136089
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 18:12
  • "Old questions are of very low value" - Based on what? Tons of "old" questions are still solutions to common problems seen today. The only difference is, they're on the wrong site.. Just because the question was asked in 2009 doesn't mean the question isn't still being asked today, thus being searched to this day. When they wind up on the "wrong" site, it builds a first impression, and may cause people to misinterpret the purpose of the site.
    – Dioxin
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 1:34
  • " Old questions are of very low value" that's generalizing to a huge degree, and letting it sit as a highly upvoted Q/A on the original site does more harm than it does good. Let the other site make mince-meat out of the answers instead. I guess that Gilles explained that closing it and reasking when necessary is a good workaround, as it won't migrate the old answers including the rep. But besides that, the fact that a question is old doesn't make it bad, I don't know how you can start off with that premise. Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 17:10

"Too old to migrate" is now ingrained into the system. For example, this question can now not be migrated:

Too old dialogue on Meta Stack Overflow

This also applies on main sites, and the restriction includes community ♦ moderators. Therefore with these changes it is no longer possible to migrate the question even if it is a valid request without developer intervention which may be likely to result in flags being declined in the future.

  • I recently got a declined flag as "too old to migrate" in Stack Overflow, what happened to that system?
    – JMCF125
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 21:41
  • 1
    @JMCF125 If you raised it as an 'other' flag for community moderator attention asking to have it migrated to another site and it was an old post then I'd imagine a moderator declined your flag as they couldn't migrate the question either
    – Rory
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 22:04
  • Am I misunderstanding this or is "too old to migrate" not showing on any of the questions that are too old to migrate on any of the sites? !SO !SU !SF Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 1:50

The age of the question doesn't matter, actually (there are many voices who say that, but I've never seen any justification that the age is directly relevant). What matters is:

  • Is the question on-topic on the source site? Just because it is now also on-topic on another site doesn't automatically make it off-topic where it is.
  • Does the question (or its answers) have a lot of upvotes? Questions should not be migrated if they already have too many votes compared to the typical amount on the destination site, because that would make it impossible for the destination site to rate it correctly. This is sometimes related to the age of the question (older questions have had more time to gather votes), but not always — a 1-hour old question on SO with 50 upvotes is already too old to migrate to most other sites, but a 3-year old question with no votes can be migrated if a good destination is found.
  • Is the question high-quality, and does it have worthwhile answers? Otherwise, it's best to close the existing question and ask a similar (or better) one on the new site.
  • This is logical. It's not built off the assumption that old questions hold no value (no proof). This answer focuses on the philosophy of Stack Exchange, rather than the philosophy of "age affects value". In fact, not migrating older questions can lead to bad first impressions, which could result in more users posting on the wrong site, which is the real disruption.
    – Dioxin
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 1:40

...be extremely reluctant to migrate old, answered questions. The votes and answers on these reflect the opinions and work of the community where they originated, and in most cases they’ll be somewhat out of place elsewhere – you want your greatest hits to reflect the best that your community has to offer, not someone else’s. And, again, the migration can come across as rude: if someone has invested serious effort into an answer and has linked to it on their blog or from their résumé, then snatching it from them without due consideration won’t endear them to you. Only migrate these questions when the alternative is deletion.

Quote source: Respect the community – your own, and others’, posted Mar 22 2012.

  • 1
    "without due consideration" - But what about consideration of site intent? Should we be more worried about those specific users than the intentions of the site, which may affect an unbounded amount of users to this day?
    – Dioxin
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 1:42
  • disagree with 60 days rule for EVERY topic. Finding a good answer for a site handling specialized topics might take days to think over and do some research. Also a specialized topic has higher chances to get answer faster in a specialized community. So I think this has not been thought over deeply enough. Think of the support desk: you have 1st level who are more or less advanced users themselves, so a technical question brings you to the 2nd level, but if you go to further levels, it can take even more time. Topics and question complexity can be very different.
    – J. Doe
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 9:05

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