This question


seems to belong on Serverfault.

When I vote to close, I'm presented with the options:

  • is off topic
  • belongs on meta.stackoverflow.com
  • belongs on superuser.com
  • belongs on tex.stackexchange.com
  • belongs on dba.stackexchange.com
  • belongs on sharepoint.stackexchange.com

What happened to "belongs on serverfault.com"?

If the site is trying to guess the top 5 most likely choices, it is guessing badly in this case.

  • 1
    Interesting. Sad. Why was a Microsoft-specific technology site substituted for a generally useful one? – Eric J. Dec 3 '12 at 16:28
  • 7
    It's got nothing to do with Microsoft - I'm pretty sure it was simply the next candidate on the list in terms of numbers. Sadly, people would vote to migrate all kinds of garbage on Server Fault. They requested to be removed from the list. – Pekka Dec 3 '12 at 16:30
  • 1
    I can't find anything detailing how Share Point was selected as the replacement. It's simply mentioned as the replacement in Shog's answer meta.stackexchange.com/a/152596/172224 – Mike B Dec 3 '12 at 16:31
  • 10
    This has nothing to do with Microsoft and everything to do with the quality and number of migrations that happen in practice. EDIT: Dangit, @Pekka, with your speedy commenting. How can I compete with people that many time zones ahead of me? – Pops Dec 3 '12 at 16:33
  • 10
    @Popular there's only one solution: move to our time zone! We got comfy houses. Nice sights. And socialist healthcare for everyone. – Pekka Dec 3 '12 at 16:35
  • 4
    For reference, there's a long history, of SF asking for better evaluation & other changes to try to fix the migration problem. Removal was the last resort to stem the flood of, frankly, crap. (For context, migrations from SO that were subsequently rejected were averaging around 10-15% of SF's total questions/day based on the 90 day stats- that's a lot of noise...) – voretaq7 Dec 3 '12 at 23:29

It's not guessing. The list always stays the same. It's based on the best candidates as evaluated by the community or the Stack Exchange team. If you want to have it changed, you will have to ask here, on Meta.

Server Fault was removed from that list due to the number of bad questions that were migrated there by folks who didn't evaluate the questions properly.

In this case, the question is also quite vague and actually shouldn't be migrated anywhere. It should simply be closed as off-topic.

Always recall the number one rule of migrations: "Don't migrate crap!".

  • 4
    And remember, if you do come across a high-quality question posted on SO that belongs on SF, you can always raise a mod flag and use a custom reason. Mods aren't restricted by the "five most likely targets" menu. – Pops Dec 3 '12 at 16:32
  • Everyone keeps mentioning this 'list of best candidates' but noone seems to know where it's located. – Mike B Dec 3 '12 at 16:40
  • @MikeB I don't understand … it's located in the options dialog when you vote to close? It's always the same list unless someone on Meta.SO petitions to have it changed. – slhck Dec 3 '12 at 16:43
  • 1
    This person has a valid problem that generally is handled on Serverfault, even if the question is not well formulated. They would be in a far better position to help him formulate a better question than I am. Perhaps it would have been more useful overall to assist with differentiating Serverfault vs Superuser (I'm a casual user on both, so don't really know where to draw the line sometimes) and to build in some mechanism to get this kind of question at least directed to the right Stack Exchange forum on a consistent basis. – Eric J. Dec 3 '12 at 16:43
  • @slhck Not that list. I'm asking for the empirical research that shows the reasoning behind promoting Share Point to the Move-To screen instead of (for example) android.SO, drupal.SO, or math.SO – Mike B Dec 3 '12 at 16:45
  • 3
    @Eric Maybe Server Fault don't want people who need that kind of assistance in how to write a decent question first. SF are explicitly addressing professionals in their FAQ, that's a slightly different audience than SO's – Pekka Dec 3 '12 at 16:48
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    @Mike: see here this stackoverflow.com/tools/posts/migrated/stats (and note that that rejected % for SF has been getting steadily worse for some time now - internal data suggested it wouldn't be getting better soon). – Shog9 Dec 3 '12 at 16:51
  • 1
    @Shog9 Thanks, exactly what I was looking for. Is there any additional discussion as to how Sharepoint (60questions @ 3%fail), replaced ServerFault(977 @ 46%), instead of DBA(306 @ 4%), tex(142 @ 14%), and codereview (91 @ 7%)? I know there's been tons of discussion about why ServerFault should be removed.. but I can't find anyone speaking to why Share Point was selected as the replacement over some of the other choices. – Mike B Dec 3 '12 at 16:59
  • 4
    @MikeB DBA and TeX are already on the list. Code Review is still in Beta so it was not an allowed selection choice for migration. – Grace Note ModStaff Dec 3 '12 at 17:00
  • 4
    @EricJ SF has far fewer users that SO and far fewer active votes and VtCers. But the /Review system made it possible for more people to see the questions with close votes and deal with them. – Ward - Reinstate Monica Dec 3 '12 at 17:38
  • 2
    FWIW, that question would almost certainly have gotten closed on SF. As it is, that question is crap, missing critical details. Many of the questions migrated SO->SF were not followed by the OP to SF, which meant any attempt to save the question were pointless, and that's likely what would have happened in this case. – Ward - Reinstate Monica Dec 3 '12 at 17:59
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    @EricJ.: The /review queues did it. Prior to this questions got in but only got eyes when people stumbled upon them. The /review queue brings them all together in one place ... the rest is history. And the question in question is crappy and would certainly be closed on SF. It doesn't mention the OS, whether is HW/SW raid etc - it's unanswerable. If you think it's suitable to migrate then you need to think again. – user147520 Dec 3 '12 at 22:47
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    @Pekka We don't mind people who need assistance writing a good question, but lousy questions get closed with a pointer to instructions on writing good ones. What we did mind is our sister site (Stack Overflow) dropping lousy questions on us, rather than closing them and leaving a comment for the OP along the lines of "You may want to ask this on Server Fault, but you need to do X, Y, and Z to make it a good question first or they're not going to be able to help you". Removing SF as a migration choice really was a last resort... – voretaq7 Dec 3 '12 at 23:01
  • 1
    @EricJ. Server Fault is unique in the trilogy in that it is explicitly for professionals -- one can be a "beginner professional", but it is assumed that they have someone above them (a mentor) to help answer trivial questions, or at least the basic skills required to use Google. If they come to Server Fault with a question we expect them to be exceptional, or at least relatively bright (per the text on the WAG graph you cited). – voretaq7 Dec 3 '12 at 23:19
  • 2
    @EricJ. I'm also not sure where you got the impression we don't want beginners - the majority of the questions we field every day are "beginner" questions (often the same 5 or 10 basic "how the internet works" questions, over and over and over and over and over again). A well-formulated, well-researched question which includes enough information to let us answer it is always welcome. Poorly thought-out, unresearched, unclear questions bereft of any vestiges of research/troubleshooting help no one - they just create clutter/noise. The "Broken Windows" theory applies here... – voretaq7 Dec 3 '12 at 23:23

The step to remove us from the SO migration targets wasn't asked for by 'us' lightly, nor was it given lightly - @shog9 looked into this for some time before agreeing that it was the right thing to do. See this SF.Meta question to get an idea of how the decision was arrived at.

Professional sysadmin questions are welcome on Server Fault. We make no distinction between people who are new to the job and people who have been doing it for so long they can remember when Unix was a strange new idea.

Where we are strict is in the standard of the questions we expect people to ask - we dislike "Hai! I can haz server spec for mai youtube clone?" questions as much as SO dislikes "Gimmie teh codez", and we are strict about enforcing that; possibly overly so where it impacts new sysadmins, true enough :-( but that doesn't mean they're unwelcome.

Taken from our FAQ:

Frequently Asked Questions What kind of questions can I ask here?

Server Fault is for Information Technology Professionals needing expert answers related to managing computer systems in a professional capacity.

To a greater or lesser degree, that's been the mission of SF for about as long as I can remember, and where it hasn't always been applied consitently in the past we've lost a number of high rep site members who have become fed up with a stream of low-quality questions.

To give you an example from SO.meta of the sort of questions we have to deal with (directly as well as migrated in the past, I hasten to add), look at the "free hosting" question. Sadly, a lot of people who frequent SO have migrated questions of the level being discussed there to SF in the past.

The problem isn't all of you, the minority who participate in meta discussions and see the discussions about "don't migrate crap" and "pay attention to what you're doing in the review queue", but the majority who have enough rep to participate in SO but who don't really join in with the community.

  • 1
    It seems the core issue is that "don't migrate crap" could not be effectively solved, so instead the solution "don't migrate anything" was implemented (very few people will flag for moderator attention to migrate a deserving question). – Eric J. Dec 3 '12 at 23:59
  • 1
    @EricJ. That is indeed what happened. Education had been tried repeatedly (see my comment on the question above), and failed spectacularly (witness the ever-climbing rejection rate) so the nuclear option was exercised. As perhaps the only SF moderator who was advocating for keeping the migration path and trying further education to fix the flood of bad questions even I could not argue with removing us when the reject rate exceeded 50% – voretaq7 Dec 4 '12 at 0:23
  • 2
    @Eric: the more troublesome problem is simply that far too few people understand what "crap" means with regard to Server Fault. Between questions that, as Rob mentioned, are the SF equivalent of "Plz Send Teh Codez" (but on-topic, and - strictly-speaking - legit migrations) and questions that should've stayed on SO but since they contained the words "server" folks thought they were helping by moving, this tool was doing more harm than good. The crux for me was simply that SF gets vastly more good questions asked directly on the site than they do migrated. – Shog9 Dec 4 '12 at 0:24

Posting a quick answer here, because something vortaq7 said in a comment needs emphasizing: if you see a question that's off-topic for SO but on-topic for SF, vote to close it as off-topic, and then leave a comment directing them to Server Fault:

Unfortunately, your question isn't about programming or programming tools, so we can't help you here. However, our friends over at Server Fault probably can - be sure to search before asking and read their FAQ for help on constructing a good question.

Right there, you've done more to be helpful than you would casting a simple close-to-migrate vote. You're teaching them how to fish rather than trying to cram the fish down their throats.

And if you don't feel like being that helpful because the question is confusing and poorly-written, well, closing it as off-topic and letting it sit won't do any harm then either.

  • 2
    Hmmmm. your nicely worded paragraph makes me think of a third possibility: maybe SO should re-introduce the "belongs on Server Fault" close reason, but instead of migrating questions there, close as off-topic and show that text automatically? – Pekka Dec 4 '12 at 11:39
  • @Pekka that's probably easier to do for all migrations to all sites than for just one "special case" site. – Rob Moir Dec 4 '12 at 12:10
  • @RobM true, but arguably, SF is a special case because of its huge proportion of problematic migrations. It would be counter-productive to take away all the migration abilities and putting the entire burden on moderators – Pekka Dec 4 '12 at 14:04
  • @pekka I know, I certainly wouldn't fancy that job myself. I'm simply suggesting that its going to be painful for someone either way – Rob Moir Dec 4 '12 at 14:08
  • @Pekka If this works out as intended there shouldn't really be much of a migration burden on SO moderators (because you guys shouldn't be flagging lousy questions for migration, and if you are I assume your mods will yell at you to cut it out). The core problem with lousy (user) migrations has been that the feedback loop is never closed - Users don't find out their migrations are being rejected. If a mod deems your question unworthy of migration they reject the flag and the user gets a message so they know they messed up. – voretaq7 Dec 4 '12 at 17:18
  • Isn't this just encouraging double posting of questions, and multiplying the crap. – Ryathal Dec 6 '12 at 20:04
  • @Ryathal: As opposed to migration, which duplicates the post without requiring the author to lift a finger? No, I doubt it. – Shog9 Dec 6 '12 at 20:09

General Advice: So flag for moderator attention instead, and type in the text "Please migrate this to Server Fault". What's the problem?

For this specific question: Vote (if you can) or flag (if you can't) to close as "Not a real question" till it's edited to include more information. And comment saying that more info is needed. Once it is edited into a decent question, it may then be possible to think about migrating it.

  • 1
    @Charles False. – Servy Dec 3 '12 at 17:41
  • Aha, indeed. "Moderators can still migrate to SF on request, for those rare high-quality questions that are simply asked on the wrong site." -- source. – Charles Dec 3 '12 at 17:43
  • 2
    @Charles - Yes, we can migrate stuff wherever we want, because we're not limited to the list of five sites. However, we sometimes get these migrations wrong ourselves. Server Fault is a particularly picky audience, so I tend to be reluctant to move things there. – Brad Larson Dec 3 '12 at 18:05
  • 2
    @BradLarson Server Fault is definitely a picky site to migrate to (I personally hold inbound migrations to the same standard as new questions - that means a fairly aggressive close-until-it-can-be-fixed policy), but anecdotally SO moderators tend to get the migrations right more often than not. And of course if there's ever a question that someone thinks might be a good migration candidate but they're not really sure on it can be dropped in the comms room - if it's a good fit we'll say so. If it sucks we'll tell you why. – voretaq7 Dec 3 '12 at 23:26

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