Ok, after seeing the idea here, and following the chain here, and seeing it here, I think I have the best time/stress saving option for closing as off-topic.

How about we put a checkbox in the close as off-topic dialog box that will let you input a comment (as if you had flagged other), and then after you hit the vote-to-close button it will auto-flag it other with your comment?

Of course, this checkbox would be radio box option with the other five, so it couldn't be chosen simultaneous with any of those, and of course, you could still not choose it and just close as the generic off-topic.

This will save clicking out of the dialog, and then having to click into the flag dialog.

Edit: For those who think the process should be slow to discourage migrations, I'd like to point out that that isn't a real solution. If we have a problem with migrations (which I would argue against) then solve that problem, don't make the site slower to discourage that.

  • 1
    I do like the compromise, and it seems to at least begin to get at reducing the work involved in suggesting a more appropriate target site for the mods to migrate it to.
    – nbrooks
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 5:11
  • 2
    So basically this will just be the same as the custom flag box, EXCEPT: it will be in the "off topic" area (less confusing for new users), and that 10k users will be able to counterflag it, right? If so, I like it :) Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 9:02
  • 4
    Just close stuff off topic and be done with it. If you feel really strongly that something is a good question and it is a better fit elsewhere just leave the OP a comment. It's not like it's hard for them to copy+paste.
    – user147520
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 19:23
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    @Iain: Are you serious? Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 19:37
  • 1
    @BoltClock'saUnicorn: Absolutely.
    – user147520
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 19:42
  • 3
    I think this would be a horrible feature on SO. I really don't want to see people flagging it with "off-topic" or a similar useless reason... Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 12:27
  • @ThiefMaster, this entire process already happens on the sites, it just takes more clicks. This is just to streamline the process so that it is much more efficient. Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 14:34
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    The effort required acts as a deterrent to most people - this is a good thing. Mods are meant to be exception handlers so should only be contacted in exceptional circumstances. Migrations should be very rare. It has already been demonstrated that many people do not understand that only gems should be migrated so all this will do is push lots of extra work to the Mods (especially on SO when it's not really necessary.
    – user147520
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 15:29
  • I suggested pretty much the same thing in this answer. Perhaps some of the explanation of that post can be useful here? If so, feel free to copy. I don't want to edit your post without prior consent.
    – MvG
    Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 6:08
  • @MvG, I edited in a link to that answer, but you could just make an answer here. Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 8:54
  • ran into this on a math question today! Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 23:02
  • 2
    Whoa, never thought that 6-8 weeks could be turned into 5 years ... any updates as of today 2017? This could be really useful still, as many sites still have issues like this.
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 4:08
  • 1
    @DarkCygnus Hofstadter's law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law."
    – Ooker
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 17:52
  • 1
    @DarkCygnus 9 years and counting.
    – W.O.
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 6:58

3 Answers 3


I agree that having another option to post a flag without going back would be desirable. I stated as much in this answer as well. I propose an additional radio button, where the user only has to type in the site name. Something like this:

enter image description here

Obviously it would be nice to have some form of completion for that text box, but that's just details. You could use this UI (with modifications to the second line) both for the flag-for-migration case and for the vote-to-close case. The technical effect would be the same in both cases: a moderator would have to decide whether or not to migrate the question. But the user experience would be different from the current abort-and-then-flag workflow:

  • Selecting an option and entering text into a field feels like going forward, in contrast to the back or cancel-and-flag steps required otherwise.
  • Going forward feels like one did the right thing, whereas having to go back feels like having made an error.
  • This approach also reduces the number of clicks required to get this flagged properly.
  • Having only to enter the name of the target site, instead of a full sentence, caters for lazybusy people. And once moderators recognize the boilerplate text added to such a request, the'll skip it when reading as well.
  • 14
    I really like this option; I found this question after thinking the same thing, and starting to search around. "Great minds think alike"? I would add that it would be a good idea to improve this box with some language like this: "Please note that only good questions should be migrated; don't simply make this somebody else's problem". Maybe not those precise words - but reading the other answers and comments, I think it would be reasonable, and would address a valid concern.
    – Floris
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 13:28
  • For extra credit, have the SE software automatically build the "blessed" list out of the most common places that questions are moved to. A new SE site would start out with a blank list, then dynamically build the top five out of the places that questions are actually migrated to Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 12:02
  • 1
    came here looking to propose this exact solution. for example - this (stackoverflow.com/questions/21720383/…) needs to move to code review, but there's no way to event suggest it
    – radai
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 6:56
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    I was actually just writing a question requesting exactly this. Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 2:47
  • 3
    What's the hold up on this? At least the previous options were a lot better. Of the large majority of questions I moderate, I have yet to find one that needs to be migrated to sharepoint or tex; the majority belong on unix (which was an option before). Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 10:21

Migrations are meant to be for that rare gem of a question that is off topic $here and has a better home $elsewhere. In practice though it is largely used as a way of (with the best possible intentions) throwing any old question over the fence so it becomes somebody else's problem.

Quality and topicality (as measured by those participating $elsewhere) are rarely taken into consideration - this is why for example Server Fault is nolonger a migration target for Stack Overflow. Some people have even been known to just vote-to-close the same way as everyone else because $elsewhere seems like the place to send stuff now that other targets aren't available.

If you feel really strongly that a question has a better home $elsewhere then just vote-to-close off-topic and leave the OP a helpful comment to that effect. For Example this is the one that I use when closing questions OT on Server Fault that may have a better home on Super User

Your question is off topic for Server Fault because it doesn't appear to relate to servers/networking or desktop infrastructure in a professional environment. It may be on topic for Super User but please search their site for similar questions that may already have the answer you're looking for.

I modify it slightly depending on context but note that it says why a question is off topic, where it may be on topic and also points the OP to the /search function. If after searching $elsewhere the OP can't find an answer then it's fairly painless for them to copy+paste their question to the other site. To some extent this also educates the OP as they learn that there are other SE sites and (hopefully) how to use search.

This is not a good idea - it will be abused.

  • I don't think you understand what I was trying to get across, the comment is the one that you would end up inputting for the moderator when you flag it, the OP would never see it. This is a process that is already used, I'm just trying to streamline it so it takes a lot less clicks. Since 4 other people also didn't understand the question I guess either I'm not as good as communicating as I need to be, or few people have done enough close/flagging combos to understand the issue. Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 14:32
  • 1
    @LanceRoberts: I fully understand what your proposal is but consider it a really bad idea. As a long time Server Fault user I have seen what other sites people consider to be 'gems' worth migrating in and as I also moderate on Server Fault I get too see what people there consider 'gems' worth migrating out - it's not good. That it currently takes some effort on a reviewers part to contact the moderators in respect of a 'gem' is a good thing.
    – user147520
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 15:22
  • 3
    So the process should be less efficient to require more work? Personally, I think the mods will make the decision anyway, so I don't see the benefit in extra work and time. Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 15:35
  • 1
    @LanceRoberts: If you make it easier, more people will use it - in respect of migrations this is a very bad thing.
    – user147520
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 16:04
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    So people migrating to other sites in general is a bad thing, and should be made as hard as possible. But for a fixed number of chosen sites, migration suddenly is a good thing, and the UI guides users to these. Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me. Particularly if users may start using one of the selected targets just because the reasonable target isn't listed. Annoying in particular for users who are active in more than one community.
    – MvG
    Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 6:10
  • 1
    @MvG: Just seen this: Migrating to a target just because the reasonable target isn't listed is bad migration and the people who do it should be stopped from migrating because the clearly don't get it's purpose. At least on high rep user here has admitted to that which is very sad. SF had such a problem with crappy migrations from SO that we had to have ourselves removed from the target list at one point more than 90% of migrations from SO were being closed for topicality/quality reasons. In the halcyon days of 2009 migrations may have been a good thing mof they are a failed experiment.
    – user147520
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 13:50

I agree with Lance Roberts that we do have an issue here and with MvGs proposed compromise solution.

Just one such example.

SO rules say that users should come to the site with a particular problem or question that can be answered with factual (and not opinion-based) information. So, when someone comes with "look at my code / can it be improved" questions, they're deemed off-topic. These particular type of questions would, however, fit nicely into CodeReview criteria, but there's no direct (and easy) way to suggest such migration through the flagging system.

So we are left with few options:

  • do nothing
  • leave a comment to OP about such fact, but without clear implementation path
  • flag for moderator attention

Many inexperienced users (including myself less than a year ago) would simply repost the question on CodeReview. Such action would very likely to get them blamed for cross-posting. Some new users can also be concerned with loosing their reputation gain if they are to simply delete the original question with existing up-votes and post it on a different site (from scratch).

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