Right now, when I flag something as off-topic, I can choose from a pre-defined set of "blessed" SO sites to suggest for migration.

I see there are already a lot of questions about this design choice and the prevailing opinion is Don't Make Me Think which I agree with entirely. Rather than arguing to have the list changed or a pet site on the list etc., I propose adding one more box at the bottom for "other" with a text entry to allow the flagger to put in which site not on the list would be better suited.

There can be a validation on the backend to ensure it's a valid site and not just random garbage. Most of the time I'll put the site I think it should be on in the comments to the question and then flag it, which is functional but requires more "thinking" than having an "other" box. Or a drop-down list of the missing sites for up-front validation.

Along similar lines, a suggestion to flag as "it needs ♦ moderator attention > other" rather than flagging as off-topic was made which would also serve the purpose. But that to me again breaks the "don't make me think" approach because now I have to decide whether it's off-topic and there is a blessed site for me to suggest or if I should flag it this way where I can put in anything I want.

What are the thoughts against having such an entry box? I think it would clarify the workflow and require fewer steps and/or thinking than the current system.

  • 3
    Potentially useful request, but incomplete. What would the effect of specifying an "other" site be? Would a sufficient number of matching other sites automatically migrate the question to that site? Would a single, or multiple, other flags show up in the moderator's tools, for potential migration? If they simply show up in high-rep users' Close votes review tool, as standard close flags do, what are those users meant to do with those flags? Nov 6, 2012 at 18:23
  • @MichaelPetrotta That's something I hadn't thought about because I don't know the workflow from a moderator perspective, I only know it as an end-user flagging things. I'll read about what happens on the moderator side to figure out what I think would be the process and edit accordingly.
    – tpg2114
    Nov 6, 2012 at 18:26
  • See my feature request here. Dec 31, 2012 at 5:05

1 Answer 1


But that to me again breaks the "don't make me think" approach because now I have to decide whether it's off-topic and there is a blessed site for me to suggest or if I should flag it this way where I can put in anything I want.

To me, that's just being nitpicky. The idea of "don't make me think" is that we don't want a hundred sites listed there for people to browse through trying to figure out which one is the best one for migration. In this scenario, you have three options:

  1. Select one of the common options provided in the list.
  2. Just select the off-topic reason and let it be closed.
  3. Select other and type out specifically which site if you know of a better option.

When it comes to option #3, the box is best left in the single place where it already exists. Having another box below the common options will only make people think "Oh, there are other options? Well, what are they?" If you know of another option that's not in the list and you feel the question belongs there, then you can flag it using the other. The key difference here is you already know the exact place you want it to be migrated, versus being presented with a list of options from which you don't know where it should be migrated; there is no additional thinking. It just requires you to go to a different place in the flag menu.

Sure it would require manual intervention from a moderator, but it's far better than throwing a list of every site that exists on SE out in front of people's faces. A drop-down list like this actually exists for moderators to migrate to other sites.

  • 1
    I think the issue, at least for me, is that there are 3 speeds of users. The first are the ones who pop in and ask a question and never care to contribute, I'm not worried about them. The second are the power users who have access to moderator tools and have been around to learn how everything should work even when it's not clearly documented. Then the third are people like me, who try to contribute but it's not always clear what the "best" way is. Maybe the assumption is that power users know enough to sort it out. The # of questions about this show I'm not the only one unsure of what to do.
    – tpg2114
    Nov 6, 2012 at 18:34
  • 1
    Which is not to be argumentative, if the idea is to just let moderators sort out the intentions of the user then that's cool. I am just interested in making the entire process as painless as possible from start to finish for everybody who is interested in contributing.
    – tpg2114
    Nov 6, 2012 at 18:35
  • If you know exactly what site to migrate to and are sure of it, then by all means cast an other flag. But if you're ever even slightly unsure, you should just cast a general off-topic vote and be done with it. Unsureness only results in bad migrations and irritated users at the target site.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Nov 6, 2012 at 18:37
  • I like this approach best. I question the current choice of TeX and SharePoint in the list. The thinking has already happened in most cases, is what I say. If I know where the question belongs, let me say it.
    – MPelletier
    Jan 23, 2013 at 12:43

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .