This question is related to Move questions between Stack Exchange sites but as I don't want to bring back a 7 years old topic for an improvement, allow me to make a new one.


We are all aware of newbies that don't get the SE concept of "one website by topic", and post everything on SO. No a big mistake, but probably one of the best ways to get a lot of down-vote and some more or less bad comments, until a good angel moderator moves the question to the correct site.

If you've got enough points to cast a flag Flagging > Closing > Off-Topic > Migration seems a good answer (even if I was not expecting Migration in the Closing section to be honest).

But I'm facing this choice :

migration flag

As you can guess, the vast majority of off-topic questions do not belong in one of these sites.

Could we improve this list a bit?

Adding a search field would be the best probably, like we have for Flagging > Closing > Duplicate

Other solutions could be:

  • put the Communities of the user (I'm more likely to check questions on subjects I know, even when not on the correct site)
  • bring back the most common migration sites for the current site
  • put a full list of SE sites (not the best)

Removing this part of the flagging board

As said in the comments :

migrating questions is a good thing -> I don't necessarily agree with that

I can understand this point of view : if the question don't belong to this site, we close it and ask the owner to make a new one on the good site.

Different answer but same problem : this tool is useless and should then just be removed, and the help center guidelines updated to something like "flag as off topic, or ask a moderator to move if already have a good answer"

How does it work now?

  • You have the good site on your list and can cast a migrate flag;
  • Or you have to flag a moderator and ask them to manually move the question, based on your single flag and the feeling of the moderator.
  • 6
    There's an assumption in your post that migrating questions is a good thing. I don't necessarily agree with that.
    – Oded
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:01
  • 6
    I'd rather argue we should just stop migrating altogether. Get it wrong? Figure out where your post does belong and repost it. Us making it easier (and even then getting it wrong pretty often) is not teaching anyone anything.
    – Bart
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:01
  • 1
    It's not a good thing, but it's something that you'll have to do on a daily basis. you can't expect everyone to get right how SE work. and I face question that don't belong on SO and should be moved. I tell this to the OP, but what the point to delete and repost if ~2k can just cast to move ?
    – Blag
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:05
  • 1
    @Oded in this case, this option should just be removed : it's useless now in either way
    – Blag
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:06
  • You'll force them through the same process they faced on SO, where they are provided with information on what the new site is about. Migration (afaik) doesn't have that effect. Magically their question is fine (one would hope) on the new site, so why bother learning what it's about. But it's besides your request, so let me not derail it.
    – Bart
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:06
  • it's something that you'll have to do on a daily basis? Really?
    – Oded
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:07
  • @Oded usually a least twice a week for myself, yes. Mostly about DBA and Ask ubuntu, sometime code review, But I don't always flag as the flag option is not really good -and we are back on this question-.
    – Blag
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:10
  • @Bart where they are provided with information on what the new site is about -> you expect them to read the second time what they don't get right the first one ? I'm a bit less optimistic about users and guideline concept... (but maybe it's only me)
    – Blag
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:19
  • The solution to our shared pessimism isn't "ah well, they'll never learn, so let's just move it for them" however.
    – Bart
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:34
  • @Bart I was more looking after our work to keep sites clean than trying to move mountains and find a way to enlighten users (other than setting them on fire...); For now on off-topic, I usually don't do anything, lacking the good tool to use.
    – Blag
    Dec 19, 2016 at 16:39
  • 2
    Setting users on fire? Now there's something I can get behind. Maybe consider that as a feature request? ;)
    – Bart
    Dec 19, 2016 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


(even if I was not expecting Migration in the Closing section to be honest)

One of the rules of migration is that, in order to be a candidate for migration, a question must be off-topic on the site it's posted. That's why custom close reasons such as:

I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on [somesite.se]

Makes no sense: being on-topic elsewhere doesn't automagically make a question off-topic where it's asked - so if you're closing a question because it belongs elsewhere, you're Doing It Wrong™.

Truth is, migration is broken, pretty much by definition: if a question must be off-topic where it's posted, then it should be closed as such, with a valid close reason. But then, once it's closed, even a moderator can't migrate it; it has to be reopened and then migrated.

The single most important rule of migration being Don't Migrate Crap™, I have a number of problems with your proposal.

It sublimates the migration paths. [codereview.se] is witnessing poor recommendations pretty much every day, and that's without a SO-to-CR migration path. Migration paths are important: they're the reason you're only seeing very few sites to migrate to. They're quite literally a shield for smaller sites that would otherwise easily be drowned in bad migrated content, due to SO's size. Code Review gave a go for a CR-to-SO migration path, and refused SO-to-CR. Allowing free-for-all migrations can be quite reasonably expected to rapidly turn into an utter mess.

It makes it sort-of OK to ask questions that don't belong where they're asked. Each site has its well-defined scope, refined and matured with passing months and years; users are rightfully expected to read the links that are given to them when their question is closed: links to relevant meta topics, help center pages, and whatnot. If you're too selfish to be bothered to read the information that's there telling you exactly what is and isn't on-topic on the site you're on, then why should the community be bothered with your question? It should be outright closed, and your next off-topic post should be closed as well, and the one after, until you either block yourself from asking, or read the frakkin' links. If the off-topic question is reasonably on-topic elsewhere, then hey, why bother - just ask anywhere and the good folks in that community will migrate it where it belongs, right? No, not right.

But then again, this tool is useless and should just be removed, [...]

Agreed, the tool is more or less useless and should just be removed.

[...] the help center guidelines updated to something like "flag as off topic, or ask a moderator to move if already a good answer"

Nope. If it's already answered, then someone answered an off-topic question. A typical Stack Overflow answer makes a very, very, very, very, very (did I say very?) poor answer on Code Review - migrating an answered question means existing answers get removed at the destination site, and the answerer gets to lose the rep earned (or re-gain the rep lost from downvotes cast for answering an off-topic question?) on the source site.

Off-topic questions should be closed [with a valid, existing close reason, not some made-up BS "belongs on site X" reason], period.

Migration? IMO should be only for exceptional cases where the question is a textbook-perfect candidate for the target site. And that doesn't happen very often. And the best people to know that are on the target site, not on the source one. So assuming migration is just a fact of life-on-SE we have to cope with, IMO the current situation where only a moderator can migrate to a site without a migration path, is perfectly fine: they have the power to decline the flags, or to enact them. And meanwhile the OP learns that their question is off-topic where it's posted, as comments and close votes pile up.

  • Thanks for this answer; I was not picturing the problem like this. So yes, removing this tool is probably the good option; I was not aware of answers lose on migration, but seem logic; (this question seem way more disputed than expected judging by up/down count...)
    – Blag
    Dec 19, 2016 at 16:27
  • @Blag I might have phrased that wrong - answers do not get automatically removed upon migration; the target community must spot them and deal with them per the target community's answering guidelines. Dec 19, 2016 at 16:29

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