I often find questions on SO that would clearly be a better fit on Database Administrators, where I am a moderator. My vote to migrate from SO to my own site is considered equal to anyone with generic VtC privileges. It is not difficult to collude, and this has happened multiple times (both me getting others to help migrate a question, and others enlisting my help), but it shouldn't be necessary and just slows down the inevitable.

As a moderator of the destination site, it is curious that my vote is not binding, and I am wondering if it is possible to make it so, as long as:

  • The moderator of the secondary site has earned, at minimum, VtC privileges on the source site. Or, to minimize the potential for a large number of mods from having this ability, perhaps even trusted user (20K) on the source site. This will drastically limit the number of moderators of smaller sites who can take questions from SO; it will also limit the ability of SO moderators to take from the smaller sites. On our site, I don't think we have many SO moderators who have VtC privileges (I could find out with a lot more manual research); we certainly don't have any trusted users that are moderators on any other site.

  • There is already an established migration path from the source to the destination. As of November 6, 2013, this includes the following sites for Stack Overflow: meta.SO, SuperUser, dba.SE, TeX, and SharePoint. For most other sites the list is far, far smaller - for example on dba.SE we can only migrate questions to our own meta and to SO. And of course the smaller sites individually have a small number of moderators. So this really affects a much smaller portion of the moderators than pointed out in a concern below (300+).

  • Optionally, there has to already be some number of VtC votes (of any type), perhaps 2, for a moderator to place a binding vote. This will prevent a moderator from making unilateral decisions about questions without there being some minimal evidence from the community that, in some way, the question doesn't belong on the current site. However, this is not a hard requirement for me. I am willing to live with it if it is necessary for the feature request to pass.

With linked accounts it should be technically feasible to see that I am a moderator on the destination site, and in that case only (in addition to the above requirements), forego the need to collect more VtC actions before migration.

For clarification, this feature change is probably only necessary on SO, but if that makes it more difficult to implement, having the rules everywhere - given the above restrictions - shouldn't be harmful, because the number of use cases where it would affect a smaller site in any way will be quite low.

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    No, you can't steal our questions. My precious. Get your own. (+1) – Servy Nov 6 '13 at 19:40
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    @Servy don't worry, we only want the good ones. There'll still be plenty of, um, other ones left over. :-) – Aaron Bertrand Nov 6 '13 at 19:40
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    @AaronBertrand You mean the garbage ones, right (99.5% of SO questions)? – Kermit Nov 6 '13 at 19:43
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    Why should you be able to unilaterally take? Maybe the original site also wants the question, so if you think migration is called for you should comment, VtC, and/or talk with a moderator on the site where the question currently is. – Monica Cellio Nov 6 '13 at 19:51
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    @Monica because I know enough about both sites to identify when a question is a better fit (and I ultimately get all such questions anyway). And really, we're talking about 3-4 questions a week, on a busy week. I can't imagine any mod on SO is going to want to bother spending any valuable time arguing over such a small percentage of their volume. – Aaron Bertrand Nov 6 '13 at 19:54
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    But you're asking for a change that would affect 300+ moderators across the network. I'm not prepared to say that every moderator knows what's best for every site from which he might want to grab questions; are you? – Monica Cellio Nov 6 '13 at 19:56
  • How would you handle mods whose SO user don't have vote-to-close? – mpdonadio Nov 6 '13 at 19:57
  • @MonicaCellio Then make a mod's vote count for 3 users. The point being that requiring 5 votes to migrate is just silly. – Kermit Nov 6 '13 at 20:00
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    What about if the post has collected at least 2 close votes of any type. That should be a signal that it isn't appropriate on the source and trust the mod's judgement that it is appropriate on the destination – psubsee2003 Nov 6 '13 at 20:02
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    @MPD well, I think that a moderator should have two abilities: (1) to recognize that a question is a good fit on their own site and (2) to recognize when that question is not a better fit on the original site. So I think that the moderator has to have earned VtC privileges on the source site. Updated my second paragraph, thanks. – Aaron Bertrand Nov 6 '13 at 20:02
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    This makes sense to me. Personally, if a question has been flagged for migration from someone I recognize as a moderator on the target site, I do so without even thinking about it. – Brad Larson Nov 6 '13 at 20:19
  • Thanks @BilltheLizard, I've expanded on the requirements. – Aaron Bertrand Nov 6 '13 at 21:04
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    @BradLarson Not to pick on your personally, but I think that even in those cases you should be considering whether or not the question still belongs on SO. Just because a question is a fit elsewhere doesn't mean it has to be migrated. Also related: blog.stackoverflow.com/2012/03/… – Adam Lear Nov 6 '13 at 21:21

The notion that folks with more experience on the site should have an easier time closing things is interesting. It might be tricky to implement, but I definitely see some advantages there.

The notion that folks with experience on multiple sites should have an easier time migrating isn't bad either, but I think it makes more sense to grant them additional options rather than more close vote "weight".

All that said, the big problem with this suggestion is that it adds a bunch of rules to the system that serve only to support a behavior that has caused confusion and frustration in the past and contributed to changes that make it harder to migrate. The folks with 20K+ who don't have their own site to moderate aren't benefiting at all - they still need 5 votes to close rampant duplicates, no-effort nonsense and off-topic questions that no one wants.

I would at minimum add an additional restriction to the criteria you've outlined: no answered questions. As you may or may not remember, we had a bit of a problem a while back with folks migrating questions to DBA where the asker was long gone and the answerer had little interest in seeing his answers relocated for no good reason. In response to this, I wrote:

Along the same lines, don’t attempt to scavenge on-topic questions from other sites by asking the moderators there to migrate them to yours. Again, there’s no harm in leaving a comment suggesting that a question would be a better fit somewhere else. But focus on the questions that aren’t on-topic, or aren’t getting answered – snatching someone’s question (or answer) away without any forewarning is a slap in their face.

So now we're talking about 20K+ users who also happen to be mods on one of the (at most) 4 sites where there's a migration path, with outstanding Off Topic votes and no answers... Aaaand... This thing is so locked down that I can't really justify the time it would take to implement and the complexity that would result from it. But you knew that - you said yourself,

we're talking about 3-4 questions a week, on a busy week

For 3-4 questions a week, the system we have now can suffice. Major changes need major benefits to go with them: a tiny handful of people interested in shuffling around a tiny handful of questions doesn't cut it.

  • FWIW, I am talking about new questions, so I agree with your restriction on no answers, and would even add posted within some recent time frame. But given your edit I'm not going to bother modifying the question. :-) – Aaron Bertrand Nov 6 '13 at 21:59

A moderator on a site has a great deal of control over the content on his own site, as he should, but this should not grant him special privileges on other sites. As a moderator you already have special access to the moderators of other sites, so you can ask them directly, or use a custom flag reason to request migration (explaining that you're a mod on the proposted destination site), or vote and comment like other users do. Questions that must be urgently and immediately migrated are, I would wager, vanishingly rare; there is no need to accelerate the process. (And for SO in particular, how often does it take more than an hour to get a moderator's attention in the Teacher's Lounge?)

A moderator (or any other user) from outside a site is not automatically equipped to know what is in scope on that site, what the site's policies are, and so on. That you in particular have this knowledge of SO in particular doesn't matter; there are more than 300 moderators across more than 100 sites on the network, and the change you are requesting would affect all of them.

If SO is a special case for you, and you think the community would trust your judgement if only you had a special bypass to migrate/close questions, then a solution is available to you: run for a moderator position on SO, and then you'll be able to do these migrations at will.

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    I think that SO is a special case. It is after all, the greatest (in number of questions, users, traffic) of all the other sites. – ypercubeᵀᴹ Nov 6 '13 at 20:21
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    If this question is specifically about SO, then tag it that way and I'll withdraw the answer. By default a change in behavior affects all sites, and my concern is for the others (including the ones I moderate). – Monica Cellio Nov 6 '13 at 20:46
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    +1. I totally agree with this. If you feel it should be migrated then a flag would be appropraite – Walker Nov 6 '13 at 21:21

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