Using Stack Overflow as the example here, but this could easily apply to any other site in the network.

Currently, we have the following off-topic close reasons on Stack Overflow (emphasis mine):

Questions about general computing hardware and software are off-topic for Stack Overflow unless they directly involve tools used primarily for programming. You may be able to get help on Super User.

As well as:

Questions on professional server, networking, or related infrastructure administration are off-topic for Stack Overflow unless they directly involve programming or programming tools. You may be able to get help on Server Fault.

There's a few problems with these:

  • It assumes the question was good to begin with. If the question is bad, then the user will do one of two things:
    • Go and ask on Super User/Server Fault/other site. This is bad as they will more than likely copy and paste the question on the other site, which creates a cross-network dupe (bad) and is crappy (double bad)
    • Ask why the question wasn't migrated (causing noise)
  • There are questions of a hardware/software nature that don't belong on Super User/Server Fault, but say, on U&L Ask Ubuntu, or some other site. If the OP just copies and pastes their question, then they've just created a cross-network dupe, and worse, it's still off topic on both sites.
  • If we close it for quality reasons (too broad, doesn't show understanding, etc), it's going to create a poor user experience; the user might clean the question up and make it a good question, only to have it migrated off the site. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it's a lot of hassle for a user that put the work into fixing a question.

That said if we're not going to get a straight up "off topic" reason (as in, this question does not belong here), can we at least take out references to the other sites so as to mitigate the above situations?

  • 10
    Another issue I see is: when I think a question should be migrated to Super User, 4 people have already chosen the You may be able to get help on Super User option, instead of the Belongs on another site > Super User option; meaning it doesn't get migrated. Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 12:31
  • 2
    @DannyBeckett - Which might be exactly what happened here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/187173/… Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 16:14
  • 7
    As a 30+ year veteran programmer but recent StackExchange user, I can't emphasize enough that "doesn't belong here" closures that do not include at least a link to a site where the question is a better fit, are extremely user hostile and assuredly account for many lost users. The close should include links for reposting to recommended sites with something like, "... Repost to Programmers, Unix & Linux?" Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 4:46
  • I couldn't agree more, the suggested sites are inadequate, and there needs to be a generic off-topic, I for one, am not sure what the requirements are for the stack exchange sites, so am forced to make a guess.. you have my vote
    – user310756
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 3:07
  • @DocSalvage Sometimes (often) questions do not belong anywhere on the SE network. Also, just because I know that a question is off-topic on SO does not mean that I am qualified to judge whether it would be suitable on SU or SF or anywhere else. I just want to close it as off-topic. It's the user's responsibility to find the appropriate place for their question. It is "user hostile" to the rest of us when new users expect high-rep users to clean up and re-route their lazy questions for them.
    – Blorgbeard
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 3:20
  • 2
    this question has 4 close votes now for "pertains only to a specific site" but I frankly feel like it ain't so. Re-titled to use something other than Stack Overflow "Remove mentions of other sites in <pick whatever SE site> off topic reasons" it would be still the same question wouldn't it?
    – gnat
    Commented May 30, 2014 at 16:34
  • @gnat We could just move it back to meta.SO. This seems to be one of the posts that got auto-migrated. Regardless, I've changed some of the wording to emphasize this shouldn't be done on any site, and that the example is SO specific, but can apply to any site. It should be eligible for reopening.
    – casperOne
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 12:53
  • 1
    @casperOne I would rather prefer to keep it over here as it looks worthy network-wide
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 12:57
  • 2
    I've removed the stackoverflow tag as that tag makes it appear to "pertain only to a specific site" (especially in the review queue).
    – James
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


The entire point of the reasons you quoted being separate reasons seems to be so that they can point to SuperUser and ServerFault.

Why go to the trouble of narrowing it to "general computing hardware and software" or "professional server, networking, or related infrastructure administration" if not to point to SuperUser and ServerFault respectively.

For that reason, it would not make sense to just remove the text you've bolded.

Since your point is completely valid, though (the reasons give too-strong recommendations for possibly the wrong site (probably because the wording is from when there were far fewer choices)), it seems like the options are:

  • remove those reasons altogether, or

  • change the bolded text to recommend a wider range of sites

(In the first case, this could be something like "You may be able to get help on Super User, Server Fault, Ubuntu & Linux, Ask Ubuntu, or another StackExchange site. The full list of sites is [here].), or

  • recommended simply consulting the full StackExchange site list

(Note that this option would mean the reasons you quote should be collapsed into one. If the recommendation is the same ("Check out this list of everything in the SE universe."), then again there is no point in distinguishing between "general computing hardware and software" and "professional server, networking, or related infrastructure administration".

  • I think we agree here. There is no need to subcategorize something if you never use the subcategories, and that applies as much (maybe more) to "crap" as it does to things that deserve migration.
    – A.M.
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 13:32

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