I have suspected this for a while, because in the review queue I often see questions people have voted to close as "not constructive" that several people have marked as "not a real question", and similar. And now I have proof.

There's a bandwagon effect going on: people are agreeing with existing close votes without thoroughly evaluating whether they're accurate.

This question that showed up in the review queue, https://stackoverflow.com/questions/12048054/clicking-xspf-file-opens-in-broswer-instead-of-vlc, is about setting up file associations under KDE:

particular question in queue

so it clearly belongs on Super User. But in the close dialog I see:

close dialog

There's no way two different people would think it belonged on Server Fault; clearly what happened is that the first person hit the wrong choice (they're adjacent) and the second followed. If I hadn't noticed this it would have been migrated to the wrong site.

Is this an important enough problem? If so, how can it be remedied?

  • 6
    So one vote constitutes its existence? Sounds like we're putting a stop to Voter ID fraud up in here...
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 5:34
  • 14
    This at most proves that users know (or care) very little about proper migration targets.
    – Bart
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 5:41
  • 5
    I've been a member of SO for 43 months, and for all intents and purposes it's safe to say that I have no idea what the difference between SF and SU is.
    – ЯegDwight
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 10:10
  • @Bart migration is actually pretty rarely appropriate. Don't migrate crap
    – Zelda
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 11:09
  • "Bandwagonning" also happens with downvotes - all over SE/SO. If you post one question and it gets one downvote, there goes your luck.
    – Fusseldieb
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


Personally I won't vote to close as off topic on Stack Overflow if I'm not sure of the target site, or "worst" case choose the general Off Topic to avoid wrong migration. However I do understand what you mean and it might indeed be happening from time to time.

What I suggest is to consider hiding the existing votes, same way that when reviewing suggested edits on Stack Overflow, I can no longer see if other user approved the suggestion before me.

I will be fine with such a change and if enough people here will think it will stop wrong migrations then it can be a good idea.

  • 2
    Are you saying that this should be hidden for the off-topic reason only? I wouldn't be in favour of doing it for everything but hiding peoples site / no site choices would be great... Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 7:25
  • 2
    @Ben yes indeed, just show total number of close votes without specifying what sites the other voters have chosen. Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 10:56

Three things to consider:

  1. It takes a super majority of 4 votes to migrate a question from Stack Overflow. If you know that the existing votes are wrong cast yours as a simple "off topic". Future closers will see this and take a closer look and hopefully won't cast incorrect votes.
  2. Migrations can be rejected by the target site. If it did end up on Server Fault it would be quickly closed as "Off Topic". This would reject the migration changing the close reason on Stack Overflow from "Migrated" to "Off Topic".
  3. There's always flagging the question for moderator attention. I know they have a lot to do on Stack Overflow, but stopping a bad migration is always a good thing.

I agree there is probably a bit of a bandwagon effect, but there are enough people who do step 1 above to make it a marginal issue at best.

  • 7
    As someone whose home SE site is serverfault, no, no, no. Enough people do not do #1 to make it "a marginal issue at best." We get flooded with questions from SO that are off topic on regular basis, and quite frequently, the crap we get is completely incoherent, yet 4 out of 5 SO users decided that not only was it good enough to migrate, but that serverfault is the trash bin of choice for SO questions. And it's not a new problem either. "serverfault.com is not your trash bin!" - Jeff Atwood, March of 2011. Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 17:28

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