I recently started using Stack Exchange and its various affiliates and was wondering if questions and answers have to be migrated between sites?

Example 1:

The following question on Stack Overflow "Backup database in SQL Server 2008 (Compatibility Level 90) restore to 2005" should be, if I understand correctly, on the Database Adminstrators site.

Example 2:

The following question "Move database from SQL Server 2012 to 2008" is probably better off on the Database Adminstrators site.

Is my assumption correct? Or is this just a simple case of "old content will never be migrated to other Stack Exchange sites"?

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    Questions that are older than 60 days cannot be migrated. The rest can be flagged for migration, and if enough people or a moderator agrees, chances are the migration will be made. – Martijn Pieters Nov 16 '12 at 12:00
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  • @MartijnPieters Thanks for the feedback. This means that eventually "all your data are belong to us" will not be upheld? Because if for example the dba.stackexchange.com site gets split into msdba.stackexchanage.com and oradba.stackexchange.com then all previous Q and A's will be split and/or duplicated over multiple sites? – John aka hot2use Nov 16 '12 at 12:06
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    @hot2use Because if for example the dba.stackexchange.com site gets split into msdba.stackexchanage.com and oradba.stackexchange.com What? Why would that happen, it doesn't make any sense? – yannis Nov 16 '12 at 12:10
  • Okay. I will rephrase my question. In the beggining there was void and then superuser.com was born. Over the years various sub-sites emerged, which results in Q and A's that used to rightly located on superuser.com can now be asked and answered on e.g. dba.stackexchange.com. Now somebody might suggest a Microsoft SQL 2012 stack exchange site, because of its (don't laugh) huge popularity? After a few months there would be an information gap, because Q and A's would be no longer answered on dba.stackexchange.com but instead on mssql2012.stackexchange.com. – John aka hot2use Nov 16 '12 at 12:20
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    @hot2use Ah, I'm starting to get what you're saying. Well, a topic doesn't automatically become off topic on a site just because another site popped up. – yannis Nov 16 '12 at 12:37

New Stack Exchange sites are created through Area 51, if you are not familiar with the process, check out the Area 51 FAQ. Proposals that are duplicates of existing sites show up all the time, and they are (almost always) quickly closed. If all questions that could be asked on a proposed site are on topic on one or more existing sites, then the proposal is pointless.

MSSQL2012 Stack Exchange, your example, is not a proposal that would progress to a full site, anything you could ask about MSSQL2012 you can in either Stack Overflow or Database Administrators. But why does Database Administrators exist in the first place? Well, it does overlap with Stack Overflow, but not completely. If you check the site's FAQ, they welcome some topics that don't really seem to fit Stack Overflow (you'll need to talk with a DBA.SE regular for more details).

But overlap exists, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. There are two ways to deal with overlap, the first is to declare a topic off topic for the one site and direct questions to the other site. This is something both communities should agree on. The second way is simply for the topic to remain on topic on both sites. It's a good enough solution and when a question that could fit both sites appears in one, we simply let it stay where it was originally asked. Unless it goes for a while without a satisfactory answer or the asker specifically asks for the question to be migrated.

Older questions are a bit more troublesome, as more often than not they have completed their cycle in the site they were asked. Even if they become off topic at some point, there isn't really much value in moving them to a new site, especially a younger one. Younger sites, especially betas, are in need of every question they can get, and migration of older questions might seem a good idea on the surface, but it really isn't, for a younger site the key to success is keeping its audience engaged and, well, entertained, and questions that are already sufficiently answered don't really help.

  • Thanks for the response. This is half the answer. Great! I appreciate it. I have read the FAQ for all sites I am currently subscribed to and the Area 51 FAQ. I was just pondering with the thought that some information could go missing in the future, or does the Search search all stack exchange sites? ;-) – John aka hot2use Nov 16 '12 at 13:18
  • @hot2use How would information be lost? We don't currently have an actual network wide search, just the custom Google search thingy on stackexchange.com. You can also use cross site filters to follow questions across sites. – yannis Nov 16 '12 at 13:20
  • Well lost ist not quite the correct word. It's more a "no longer found" thingy that bothering me. E.g. Two books on SQL 2008 one slightly larger than the other. I opt to throw out the "older" book in favour of the "bigger" "newer" book. In the older book there was some information about how to solve something, which is no longer discussed in the newer book. – John aka hot2use Nov 16 '12 at 13:26
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    @hot2use Well you don't really have to throw out the older book, it's still there, you can browse it anytime you want. Also if the information is truly relevant to both books, you'll probably find (slightly different versions of) it in both of them. – yannis Nov 16 '12 at 13:29
  • True, but you can't keep hording loads of books (favourites). Eventually you kick out a few old ones to add new books (favourites). I do realize that Google will still find old information and old information doesn't become obsolete just because it can't be found. Analogy: At work we like to kick out old server applications because they get replaced with newer or different software/hardware. If you aren't careful you lose data during migration. If you keep the old system eventually nobody will use it, because the link on the Intranet gets deleted, or the client application doesn't work... – John aka hot2use Nov 16 '12 at 13:52
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    @hot2use I think the analogies are becoming increasingly confusing ;) SO is still around, we didn't kick it out because newer sites appeared (well I did, but I'm weird). – yannis Nov 16 '12 at 13:55
  • Here is the link for the old Microsoft Site 1996:link ...but where are the pictures? :-) My question has been answered I'm just taking my thoughts a few steps further. – John aka hot2use Nov 16 '12 at 13:56
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    @hot2use Yes, but the old microsoft site is dead, Stack Overflow is not. All it's content is continuously maintained. Also, even when a beta SE site is closed, you still have access to a data dump of all its content. – yannis Nov 16 '12 at 13:58
  • And I didn't kick out any servers. But nevertheless they may eventually become obsolete. :-) Thanks for your time. – John aka hot2use Nov 16 '12 at 14:00

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