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By Stack Exchange policy, "better fit elsewhere" is not a sufficient justification for closing or migrating a question; there actually needs to be a bona fide reason, stated in the Help Center, for the question to be off-topic.

Unfortunately, this kind of abuse of custom close reasons is rampant, and remains so despite attempts to educate users. (I believe that the misconception is partly perpetuated by a bad UI.) Manually fighting this meme one comment at a time isn't going to work.

I propose that custom close reasons that contain the phrase "because it belongs on" be blacklisted. That phrase is a pretty reliable indicator that the custom close reason is in violation of the policy.

  • +1 but blocking those because it belongs on, I assume, would result in users finding alternate ways to do comment. Just like blocking help resulted in finding halp, helpp etc.. – Margarine Jul 15 '15 at 20:31
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    I disagree that saying "because it belongs on" indicates a violation of the policy. Usually by that people implicitly also mean "and it doesn't belong here"." – xnor Jul 15 '15 at 20:31
  • @inɒzɘmɒЯ.A.M Presumably the error message should link them to the reeducation camp. – 200_success Jul 15 '15 at 20:32
  • Reeducation camp - Which is. . .? – Margarine Jul 15 '15 at 20:33
  • @inɒzɘmɒЯ.A.M Some meta or Help Center page. – 200_success Jul 15 '15 at 20:34
  • I back this, mostly because they're probably telling people to go crack a squat on a sister site. – Won't Jul 15 '15 at 20:44
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    @xnor Then people need to cite a valid reason for why it doesn't belong here. – 200_success Jul 15 '15 at 20:58
  • "By Stack Exchange policy, 'better fit elsewhere' is not a sufficient justification for closing or migrating a question" - citation needed. Direct link please. – cp.engr Jul 15 '15 at 22:05
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    @cp.engr Shog9's explanation of what qualifies for migration should be authoritative enough. – 200_success Jul 15 '15 at 23:02
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    Thanks for the link. Seems reasonable. I think if that blog post is meant to be policy or best practice, at least some of its content should actually be made into pages on the site(s) - or at least linked to from them. – cp.engr Jul 15 '15 at 23:18
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The catalyst (but not the only cause) for this question appears to have been one of my close votes, on a question that was obviously off-topic on SO and obviously on-topic for CR. @200_success is of the opinion that the close-vote should be the generic "too broad" (or possibly "primarily opinion-based"). I respectfully disagree.

Really, this would be a lot simpler if we could flag for any migration path directly. Overloading the "moderator-attention - other" box just adds work for everyone involved, so most good-quality migratable questions don't get migrated (the fact that the obvious off-topic close reasons are nonmigrating and you have to click harder for the migration list is also to blame).

The main justification for only showing the top 5 is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if users don't see the path, they won't use it even when it's applicable.

  • If you want to warn users to not migrate crap, give them a warning that they should not migrate crap in the migration dialog.
  • If you want to warn users that it might be on-topic in both places, warn them that they shouldn't close things only because it's on-topic elsewhere.
  • If you want to only allow migrations for users accustomed to the destination site, only allow initial migration votes from users with some reputation on the destination site.
  • If you want to provide a per-site "what should be migrated here?" readme, link it from the migration dialog! Many sites have one, but they are hard to find.

And yes, I have read the previous MSO post, Update On-Topic Help with Links to Common SE Sites. And I agree about "let's do something", because the current status quo sucks.

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This seems impractical.

  • "...since it belongs on..."
  • "...because it's better for..."
  • "...it's a question for..."
  • "...because it's in-scope at..."

and a virtually unlimited variety of equivalents I haven't thought of

Blacklisting a particular phrase only prompts people to work around it. (See all of the various misspellings of "problem" in question titles, for instance.)

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    Inability to catch everything is not a good justification for doing nothing about a very real problem. I'd be glad to have any automated method to help get the message out. – 200_success Jul 15 '15 at 20:37
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    @200 it is, because mostly people just find a way to bypass it and call the system stupid rather than trying to learn. Also, this might block some legit close reasons. Oded once set up a block to reduce spam on answers, but it failed; since the spammers figured out easy workarounds and some legitimate good answers were confusingly blocked. – Margarine Jul 15 '15 at 20:59
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    @200_success, I sympathize. But, at risk of being pedantic: This answer doesn't propose doing nothing. Rather, it argues against doing the specific thing you requested (blacklisting a very specific phrase). One can oppose your specific proposal without necessarily supporting doing nothing. Also, one can oppose your specific proposal even if one agrees that it's a real problem. So, I think it's possible you might be reading things into this answer that aren't stated there. Ultimately, one must decide whether the benefits of your proposal outweigh the costs. – D.W. Jul 15 '15 at 21:38
  • @D.W.: Indeed. It may very well be a problem, but I don't think the proposed solution will really help. – Fish Below the Ice Jul 16 '15 at 14:57
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The phrase "belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network..." is used because (as you know very well), the UI of closing dialog uses it.

Banning a phrase that is built into UI makes no sense.

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    The UI is bad though. The "close" reasons you reference aren't in fact close reasons. They're migration votes. Questions "closed" through these reasons aren't closed, but migrated. Questions closed with the custom close reason are always just closed. – nhgrif Jul 16 '15 at 0:40
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    So maybe we need a better way to propose migration. The choice is either selecting from a very limited list or flagging for moderator attention. – Barmar Jul 16 '15 at 19:51

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