At the moment, whenever you vote to close, you get a set of static exchange sites that you can say where the question belongs.

Now, more often than not, the site you have in mind is not actually on that list.

Wouldn't it be better if:

A) We could type in our own, which was backed with an autocomplete listing all the sites.

B) The dialog took into account the question tags and tried to suggest more "appropriate" sites (where applicable).

I'd go with A personally though.

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    This has been suggested many, many, many times. The answer has always been "no". – JJJ Mar 28 '13 at 8:59
  • For (A), sort-of similar to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/77264/…, but we shouldn't really be suggesting migrations to sites we don't know, and if we know them we know their names and don't need autocomplete. For (B), the same thing again. – AakashM Mar 28 '13 at 9:01
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    @Juhana - As far as I get it, it was always rejected because all precedent request wanted to add some site to the list. This would add a single field for all present and future sites, so I don't think that the "too much clutter" answer still apply. – BlueSoul Mar 28 '13 at 9:09
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    The objection is not about the visual clutter but that there are simply too many sites and people can't know what is on-topic on a site they're not familiar with. Too many invalid migrations. And the mods already have an autocomplete list so it's not a matter of implementation either. – JJJ Mar 28 '13 at 9:14
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    Note: the dupe question actually propose something different from this answer. The original question proposed to add a link "more" which will display the full list of sites. Here the user is proposing a single text field with autocomplete, like the one mods already have. Difference? First will add noise to the page, second will just add a field. – BlueSoul Mar 28 '13 at 13:24

Moderators already have the text field with auto-complete in their off-topic dialog. Not giving this tool to regular users is intentional. Migrations tend to get much worse if the users proposing to migrate don't actually know anything about the target site. Sites with non-obvious scopes (from their names) tend to get a lot of bad migrations if they are in any migration path.

Only showing a few alternatives helps to avoid bad migrations, as it preselects site that have some overlap with the source site. This increases the chance that the users migrating know something about the scope of the target site and also restricts migrations to targets that generally make sense due to this scope overlap.

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  • so mods already have this? That would mean that it is indeed intentional to not give that "power" to every user. Btw, just to know - do you have some data/info about how users workaround this? I had the impression that if an user wants, he will use the custom text flag to specific a custom migration target. Do you know if someone considered if the time lost from a custom flag actually had some weight on this decision? – BlueSoul Mar 28 '13 at 9:31
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    Migrations are poorly understood by many users, and I've witnessed quite a few discussions among the mods an SE on avoiding bad migrations (I'm a mod on Skeptics and Biology). Far too many users suggest migration when they have absolutely no idea about the scope of the target site, and many user also suggest migration when the question is not actually off-topic on the source site. SE has restricted migrations in several ways recently, they are discouraging migrations more and more, so a feature that would encourage users to propose arbitrary migrations makes no sense. – Mad Scientist Mar 28 '13 at 9:35

Based on this answer from Grace Note to a related question, seems that the main reason behind all migration target expansion requests begin rejected in the past was "we don't want to clutter the popup".

Jeff said:

We don't ever want to show more than 5 here, because it gets overwhelming.

Thus, in order to get [a different site] on there, you'd have to make a case that we can kick one of the existing 5 off the list. Are you prepared to do that?

Currently the "accepted action" when a site isn't available in the "Magic 5" list is to flag the question with a custom text flag and leave a notice for the desired target. Could be enough for most case, except that the "flag category" is not so clear (NOTE: I don't have the req. rep to see the flag review page, so I don't know if this makes much difference).

Your proposal would solve the problem of clutter. A single autocomplete field, like the one on the data dump query site, would be enough to target any site forever and ever, and won't add much noise to the popup.

That said, as other user explained to me in comments and such, it would seems that the problem today switched from "too much clutter" to "too many wrong migrate flags". If that is true, your solution won't do any good to the system: having a field would only allow "arbitrary" migration to increase, thus increasing the number of wrong migration.

It would seem that currently we are actively trying to discourage migration. If that is the point, any request that would make migration request easier is bound to be rejected.

I still think that in some case your proposal could help. Maybe we could insert some high rep requirement? Don't know. We need some staff member to elaborate on the current situation.

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