Five years ago we were making a lot of new sites. Some of them are not doing so well, and a few have been closed after going to beta. While I realize that closing beta sites is not aggressive as it was in the early years, there are still some sites that are likely to be closed in the not too distant future.

Would it be possible to attempt to migrate some of the best questions to an existing site, before a beta is closed?

As a specific example ebooks is not doing well, but it has some very good questions and answer that would potentially be in scope at superuser, under the tag ebook. These Q&As have lasting value, and migrating them would be good for the larger SE community.

I was thinking that when a beta closure was undeniably going to occur; maybe some kind of email outreach to users that are still active across SE, giving a couple of weeks to instigate migrations as appropriate.

The bar to keep a site going (and viable) is quite low, so don't be too quick to write off a smaller community as somehow unfit to host their own content.

Larger sites aren't inherently more entitled to someone's work than any other. Unless a question has been deemed off topic by the host community, we simply have no cause to remove someone's content and transfer the reputation and ownership that goes with it to another.

And suggesting we prompt folks to "move out" early is no better.

A site (and community) is more than just a collection of interchangeable text. There's a sense of ownership and belonging and the curation of a community who created it. Having a third party decide it's time to pack up your stuff and move it somewhere else isn't how this should work. If it ever comes time to decide a site is no longer viable (rare these days), that's when it's appropriate to step in to help the community transition to other accommodations.

  • Again I am not suggesting moving content from a site until a un-revocable decision has been made to shut it down. When that decision is made, then actively work to migrate. It is not sufficient to post a notice on the meta that no one is visiting and silently close it down. – James Jenkins Nov 30 at 20:52
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    @JamesJenkins Then yes, we already do that. – Robert Cartaino Nov 30 at 21:01

Where would you move them to that is appropriate?

The questions under consideration to save would have already have been moved if they were inappropriate for their current site and appropriate for a different site. The fact that time may be running out for a given site is irrelevant to a particular question's appropriateness somewhere else.

Moving the questions would only result in moving them to a site where they were inappropriate and not a good fit. It would be a waste of time to move them and then immediately close them as off topic.

The only way of doing it, that I can see anyway, would be to create a junk site that has no subject other than the place where good random questions get saved. But having a site without any specific subject seems against the Stack Exchange model in general. They would be difficult for anybody to deal with—and it seems to me they would just take up space for no good reason.

So. If a question on one of these time-limited sites should be migrated to a more appropriate site, then it should be. Regardless of time limits. As is the case with any question on any site. But saving questions just because they are good questions about a subject that doesn't belong anywhere else—that doesn't make sense.

And the suggestion of going through all of these and finding a next best fit for a few seems a bit counterproductive as an overall initiative.

  • In my example superuser has a tag ebook, potentially everything at the site ebook is in scope at superuser under the tag ebook – James Jenkins Dec 1 at 10:20
  • @JamesJenkins First, the answer provided was meant for every site. Questions about a specific site only should be on that site's meta. (You indicated you had asked there first, but if it's only appropriate in one case, an answer here won't work well.) Second, it's still a problem for the same reasons. You can't just assume that every question is fine—you'd have to manually go through them all or still risk a large number of inappropriate migrations. – Jason Bassford Dec 1 at 14:50
  • Roberts comments under his answer, says that do it now when closing down sites. – James Jenkins Dec 1 at 23:19

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