Let's pretend there's a question asked on Stack Overflow (as if they ever are). The question is asking if there is a better way of doing something. Clearly the question belongs on Code Review. You go and click the "close" link only to be greeted by the words "(too old to migrate)" next to the "off-topic" selection. You look at the question's age. 2 months. You look at the view count. It's around the 100s. "That's kindof low" you think to yourself. Finally, you look at the vote count: +1/-0. Hmph.

A question belonging on Code Review that is too old for migration that has a low view count and a score of 1. Why can't it be migrated? It's older than a month, but that doesn't answer the question. Why can't it be migrated? Because it's "too old":

Yes, "too old" is a good reason not to migrate. Old questions are of very low value, and when old questions go from SO (with the matching crazy high views/votes) they're very disruptive to smaller communities: piles of free rep and badges for the owners of the migrated posts, the question looks disproportionately good via upvotes, the tone of the question/answers are from another site...

Hmm. So the reasoning is that it's disruptive and the many badges and rep from votes are unproportionate. That doesn't sound like a reason to prevent questions from being migrated just because they are old. It seems that the real reasoning is a (ridiculous) precaution against questions garnishing a lot of activity.

If that's the case, why not decide migratability based on the amount of activity the question has received. Maybe we could allow any question to be migrated in the one month period, but after that, determine migratability based on activity?

  • given the recent meta-discussion: I find this discussion useful so I'm upvoting, but I disagree with its basic premise that old questions with low votes and views are worthy of migration. – John Dvorak Aug 20 '13 at 6:28
  • if a question is +1 after two months, is it really worth keeping it open? – John Dvorak Aug 20 '13 at 6:30
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    @Jan just because they have low views and votes doesn't mean they are bad. It just means no one really looked at it. It was probably posted at a bad time and was drowned out by the flood of bad questions. – Cole Johnson Aug 20 '13 at 6:31
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    This is interesting Cole. Would you agree that an eventual cut off by age would be appropriate? Remember that the point of migration is to get a question in front of a community that is better equipped to answer it, and at some point, that becomes a moot point and we're just organizing stuff in bins. I'm not inherently against sensible shuffling, but at some point we just need to let the dust settle. – Tim Post Aug 20 '13 at 6:34
  • @TimPost yes. A cutoff should exist. How long should it be? 4 months? If you haven't found a solution by then, I doubt your working on it still. – Cole Johnson Aug 20 '13 at 6:36
  • @ColeJohnson I find it appropriate to consider one month sufficient for this – John Dvorak Aug 20 '13 at 6:37
  • @ColeJohnson The impetus to tweak comes from the number of times that we've had to manually bypass the cutoff, which hasn't happened in appreciable frequency. That said, the reason I find the discussion you opened interesting is because I was hoping for a criteria not solely based on age, that wouldn't require a diagram in order to explain to users when this was implemented, and this made me start thinking about that again. – Tim Post Aug 20 '13 at 6:46
  • @TimPost I thought moderators can't override the age block? – Cole Johnson Aug 20 '13 at 6:47
  • @ColeJohnson The SE team can, for extraordinary circumstances. – animuson Aug 20 '13 at 7:06
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    If we are able to reset the votes (not just downvotes) of migrated questions, then I think the age might be less of an issue when it comes to whether the question can be migrated – Old Checkmark Aug 20 '13 at 7:52
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    @TimPost “The impetus to tweak comes from the number of times that we've had to manually bypass the cutoff, which hasn't happened in appreciable frequency.” That's because having to request creates a hugs additional barrier, and moderators routinely deny such requests without passing them on to the community team, and in the already very rare cases where a moderator makes a request to the community team, it's usually denied anyway. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 20 '13 at 12:37
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  • @Gilles - a hugs barrier is a good idea. It could solve a lot of the hurt feelings over closed questions. We should implement that. – JDB still remembers Monica Sep 3 '13 at 17:15

I agree that the metrics should be re-examined. Some questions get a lot of attention/votes within a couple days, even though they may be off-topic, so the purpose is kind of defeated.

Case in point:
How to pair socks from a pile efficiently?

(Discussion: Is a question asking for an algorithm to sort socks into pairs on-topic?)

Granted, this situation is rare, but, if the concern is over votes/views, shouldn't the algorithm be about votes/views rather than age which is, at best, mildly correlated?

In response to this:

A cutoff should exist. How long should it be? 4 months? If you haven't found a solution by then, I doubt your working on it still.

Have you ever looked for a solution to a problem, found someone asking the exact same question 2 years ago which has gone unanswered and broke down in tears? I have. So has this guy:

Wisdom of the Ancients

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    +1 for the good answer and xkcd – Cole Johnson Sep 3 '13 at 17:27

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