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Given the recent overhaul of the question closing process, I think this feature request needs to be revisited.

Migrate to *any* site?

Similar to how we now have a free-form option for "off-topic" closure, which is alongside the other site-specific close reasons, I suggest we add a free-form field for migration options.

So, the migration options would go something like:

  • Most popular site for outgoing migrations from this site.
  • Second most popular site for outgoing migrations from this site.
  • Third most popular site for outgoing migrations from this site.
  • This site's Meta.
  • Other... (Enter other StackExchange site's URL or shortname - e.g.: https://askubuntu.com/, https://askubuntu.com/, or ubuntu.se)

Is this something in the works already, or can it be added to the to-do list? It seems a little silly not to have this now, since we do now have the option for user-submitted close reasons.


EDIT: I've re-reviewed some of the previous questions on this topic, and it seems to me that several issues keep coming up and yet a few points still go largely unaddressed.

Commonly cited issues with allowing migration to non-standard sties:

Keeping migration options brief avoids presenting users with a dauntingly large list of options. My suggestion here sidesteps this problem by not presenting any list at all for the "Other" option. Instead of selecting from a drop-down, users should enter in the URL or shortname of a site that they are already familiar with.

Users always have the option of flagging for a moderator to migrate it for them. Quite frankly, to me, this is a cop-out. My understanding of the StackExchange philosophy on moderation is that the community should be able to handle the bulk of moderation tasks. The moderators should only need to step in when:

  • Immediate action is needed to stop abuse.
  • Higher-level privileges cannot be entrusted to the community via consensus.

One might argue that this is a case for the latter but, with proper mitigation in place as it is with all other privileges on StackExchange, I do not believe this is so. There should not be a need for a moderator to step in when a number of other qualified individuals can come to an agreement that a question needs to be migrated to a site that is not on the standard list.

Allowing arbitrary selection of migration targets may result in bad migrations. This is already mitigated in the existing system by requiring five non-moderator close votes to close the question at all, and also requiring a majority of the close votes to agree on a target site for it to be migrated. Even if this feature is added without additional measures, there will still never be the possibility of a single non-moderator user forcing a question to be migrated off to another site without others reviewing and agreeing with their suggestion.

Many users have a hard time understanding what's on-topic for the site they're on, let alone any other site. The mitigation for this is already built-in as well, though it could be enhanced a bit if it is still insufficient. As it currently stands, users have to have 3,000 reputation on a site in order to cast a close vote in the first place. Votes for migration being a sub-set of close votes means that they are also subject to this restriction. So, unless we want to throw the premise of reputation being demonstrative of community trust aside entirely, we must believe that users who can cast close votes should at least have a fair idea of what is or isn't on-topic for their site.

If it is desired to enhance this mitigation though, I think the next step would be to tie the custom migration options to the users' StackExchange network profiles. The "Other..." migration option would be changed from a free-form text field back to a drop-down selection box as some have suggested previously. What would be done differently though is that, instead of making the drop-down list include every StackExchange site in existence, the list should only include those sites where the user has 3,000 rep or more and therefore should be presumed to have a reasonable grasp on the site's topic.

I would recommend one thing though, to keep this privilege from being practically ineffective due to a shortage of people who are actually able to use it. That is to allow all users with close-vote privileges to select any migration option which has been previously selected for the question by a user who has the custom migration privilege.

Example:

A site has the following standard migration options: StackOverflow, SuperUser, ServerFault, Programmers, and the site's Meta.

A regular 3k user comes across a question they think might belong on IT Security. However, they only see the standard migration options because they don't fit the qualifications necessary to propose migration to IT Security. This user has to resort to flagging the question for a moderator and/or voting to close using some other off-topic reason.

Later, another non-moderator comes along who does have the privileges necessary to propose migration to IT Security. They put their vote in as such.

After this point, any 3k user, regardless of what extra privileges they do or don't have, who wants to put in a migration vote on this question will have IT Security added to their list of options (perhaps with a counter of how many people have voted for that migration option) alongside the standard list.

Other issues generally not well addressed in responses to previous requests for this feature:

StackExchange has grown to be a rather massive network. StackExchange now has over 100 sites, with many more on the way. Some of the sites cover relatively broad topics (e.g.: StackOverflow, SuperUser) while others are targeted to more specific niches (e.g.: IT Security, AskUbuntu) within the same or similar realms. It's becoming much more likely nowadays that a question will need to be migrated to a site that won't fit within the "top five" list.

Beta sites don't have migration options. Sometimes, even a fully-launched site won't have migration options for over a year. Adding the ability for qualified users to migrate questions to sites not in the standard list (or on absence of a list) will help smooth operations in this phase of the site's growth.

The new closure process begs for this. Now that we have the ability to specify custom close reasons, it seems rather ridiculous to not have any ability to do custom migrations. Of course, this wouldn't be addressed in any other thread on this topic because they all (or at least all the proposed duplicates for this one so far) pre-date the new closure process - many by over a year.

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    Possible duplicate of this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and... – michaelb958--Reinstate Monica Jul 25 '13 at 23:23
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    @animuson Every proposed duplicate to this question pre-dates the new closing process - most of them by over a year. I'm asking that these feature requests be reconsidered in light of this. – Iszi Jul 26 '13 at 14:59
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    Your question doesn't really bring anything new to the table that warrants a new question. The answers for why this isn't such a great idea still apply perfectly, even with the changes to the close system. Nothing has really changed in regards to the feature requests. – animuson Jul 26 '13 at 15:02
  • @animuson Added some enhancements. How about that? – Iszi Jul 26 '13 at 16:35
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    @Iszi All of the reasons in your edits are still addressed in all of the old arguments. That the site is massive doesn't change the fact that the actual data shows that, for almost all sites, there are only a handful that have a significant number of successful migrations. Looking at the hard data, the number of migrations to sites not on that list is quite small, and well within numbers manageable mod manual moderator attention. As for the changes, that the UI makes it seem easier, doesn't change the fact that it would demonstrably do more harm than good, based on past data. – Servy Aug 5 '13 at 16:06
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    Nonono, stack overflow's rejects can drown almost any other SE site. You almost had a point when you said someone had to have 3000 rep on the target site. I think they should additionally have a minimum experience of close voting/queue in the target site. Then you spoiled it by saying subsequent know-nothings could agree with their single vote. Of coure people will agree with something that looks plausible without experience of the pain of keeping the target site's policy enforced. MANY new SO users believe their question is on topic when it isn't. Same problem for any other site. Drowning!! – AndrewC Aug 6 '13 at 7:39

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