In the last few weeks I have flagged a number of questions as Off Topic and recommended migration to Super User. Most of these questions were closed, though, not migrated.

Can somebody help me understand that rationale? If a question is flagged, does it not attract moderator attention? If it doesn't, what is the use of flagging?

Does a migrate flag by a knowledgeable expert get superseded by a 5 x close vote of members who don't understand what the question is about?

Is the question better off being closed here at Stack Overflow rather than being migrated to Super User, where it might spark more expert attention in a setting with experts who actually understand what the question is about?

I find it rather short-sighted to close a question, just because it does not belong here, ESPECIALLY if the question has already been flagged for migration.

Why are questions that are flagged for migration not just migrated as per the recommendation of the experts who understand the topic? Why can members who clearly don't understand the topic overrule the migrate flag and have the question closed? If the folks who voted to close had any understanding of the topic they would have flagged for migration. If they don't understand the topic, then they should not vote.

I feel that a migration request flag should supersede a "me too" close flag, especially if the migration flag came first.

  • 1
    I don't think it's a duplicate. That was a very localized question, referencing a particular Q. I am raising a point about the general policy.
    – teylyn
    Jun 14, 2013 at 9:44
  • Migration will only ever take place if the question is any good. There is a "don't migrate crap" rule so to say. I don't know which questions you've been flagging, but if the one linked from your previous question is similar, this rule might well have come into effect. Granted, SU might be different from SO (I don't participate, so perhaps such poor questions for SO are fair game there), and I don't know if mods of the target site were asked if migration would be accepted, but it might have played a roll.
    – Bart
    Jun 14, 2013 at 9:46
  • So you guys here shoot down a question because it does not fit SO standards, regardless of whether it fits the standards on a site that is recommend as suitable? Isn't that a bit short sighted? Shouldn't that Q be migrated and then let the other site decide whether it's a fit or not? According to your own words you don't know what a good SU question is, so how can SO close a Q at SO that was recommended for migration to SU??? Shouldn't SU decide if it's a fit and if it is not, close it? How can SO determine that a Q is not a fit for a site that is not governed by SO custom? Arghh!
    – teylyn
    Jun 14, 2013 at 9:52
  • 1
    The "don't migrate crap" request has come primarily from the other sites. For example at one point people at Serverfault got really fed up with all the sub-par questions migrated from SO.
    – JJJ
    Jun 14, 2013 at 9:54
  • Calm down. All I'm saying is that this might have happened. Not that it did. It's a comment, not an answer. A moderator might have well asked a mod from the target site whether or not they would accept it. I don't know. If they didn't accept it, migration does not happen. As @Juhana says, that rule came into effect as the result of target sites being upset over poor questions that got migrated. Not the other way around.
    – Bart
    Jun 14, 2013 at 9:58
  • I did not flag "crap" for migration. These were valid questions, just did not belong on SO. They were perfect fits for SU, wording, title, subject matter. Still, they got closed at SO instead of being migrated. That is frustrating. Why should I waste my time flagging if a few people who don't understand the subject matter can then overrule the migrate flag and get the Q closed?
    – teylyn
    Jun 14, 2013 at 9:58
  • 10
    For what its worth, in regard to that specific question - I contacted SU moderators who looked at the question and didn't want it there.
    – Oded
    Jun 14, 2013 at 10:40

2 Answers 2


When the community closes with five votes, this will dismiss the flag as helpful and no moderator will ever see it. That is one possible reasons why the question was not migrated. This behaviour of the flag system has been critizized and is likely to change in the future. For now, if you're convinced that the question is good and you are sure it is on-topic on the target site, flag it again for migration after it was closed (unless your flag was declined, that means a mod saw it).

Questions older than 60 days can't be migrated. And in general, only reasonably good questions are migrated as a matter of policy. No sense in shuffling bad content around the network. Especially questions that are not constructive or NaRQ are in almost all cases closeworthy on the target site as well.

Personally, as a moderator I don't act on a rather large percentage of migration flags due to the reasons I listed above.

  • 1
    That is counter-productive. Someone posts a Powerpoint GUI question at SO. I flag it to be migrated to SU. Then 5 aspiring SO would-be developers who don't understand PowerPoint flag it to be closed. Then the question gets closed. Now I need to remember that I flagged the question for migration. I need to find it again, need to figure out that some nitwits closed it and then flag it again for migration? Get outta here.
    – teylyn
    Jun 14, 2013 at 10:03
  • 1
    Users that post to the wrong site in the first place are usually the kind of user that post crappy questions as well. The kind of user that puts some effort into writing their question usually noticed in time that they are on the completely wrong site. And the automatic dismissal of flags is annoying, but I hope this will be fixed in the big flag refactoring. Jun 14, 2013 at 10:07
  • I guess I have to practice at exercising the SO arrogance. People of all ages and skill levels use computers. If they dare to post a question at the wrong site, you can (a) shoot them and make sure they never come back, (b) help them find the correct place to ask their Q and get on with their lives. It seems that SO favours option (a). How do you justify that arrogance?
    – teylyn
    Jun 14, 2013 at 10:11
  • 10
    @teylyn Do you have any intention to constructively discuss this? Or are you simply on an anti-SO rant? If there is a problem with the system, we'll gladly think of ideas how to address them. But the whole "nitwit", "arrogance" business is not necessary.
    – Bart
    Jun 14, 2013 at 10:25

Migration. But only on questions where it applies.

If the question is bad, migration isn't a "better way" to do it. It's the wrong thing to do. I've seen a lot of users wrongly migrate stuff because they felt that closing was a crueller fate.

To be clear, migrate only when:

  • The question is off topic for your site, on topic elsewhere, and doesn't have any other problems. It shouldn't be a bad question.
  • or when the OP asks for it and it's on topic on the destination site

And mods have a lot more flags to tend to, That being said, this probably had to do with the auto dismissal of the flag. The flag system is being revamped, so this will probably get fixed then. In the meantime, I suggest you re-flag the question with a custom flag asking for migration.

Why can members who clearly don't understand the topic overrule the migrate flag and have the question closed?

Only moderators can see the flag when visiting the question. 10k users can see it in the 10k queues, but not in an overlay.

So I guess that the members didn't know there was a flag.

A few more caveats:

A lot of users who are question banned post on other sites. If their question is migrated to their original site, the migration is auto-rejected.

From what I've seen, most of the questions that get asked on the wrong site are terrible. Not saying that being asked on the wrong site automatically makes it terrible, but it's quite common.

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