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My question is going to speak specifically about Joomla Stack Exchange, but many of my statements will seamlessly correlate to other programming-related Stack Exchange sites (such as WordPress Development, Drupal Answers, Code Review, Ask Ubuntu, Database Administrators, and on and on).

Joomla Stack Exchange (JSE) would invariably benefit from having more questions.

So what's the challenge? Joomla support seekers are in a 3-way split between the archaic Joomla Forum (JF - since 2005), Stack Overflow (SO - since 2008), and JSE (since 2014).

JF and SO have already gained critical mass after years of established operation and they have their own "gravity". JSE, on the other hand, really struggles to gain traction.

Fun fact: SO has 3x as many Joomla questions as JSE!

What can be done to give JSE more of a fighting chance? For starters, we need better awareness* from Stack Overflow users and features to improve the recommendation and automation of page migrations.

*A screenshot will be provided lower in this post showing that even high-rep devoted SO users don't even know that JSE exists!

As a diamond moderator on JSE, I find myself scanning SO pages for new questions that are seeking Joomla support. The only tool that I have to usher users to post on JSE is to tediously leave comments under questions to request the posting of Joomla questions on JSE.

Unless a question is asking for software recommendations, I cannot close questions as needing migration to JSE.

I know that I can flag SO diamond moderators to request migration to JSE, but:

  1. SO moderators are already overwhelmed by their daily flag queue (and they are supposed to "do as little as possible"),
  2. SO moderators can only migrate pages that are less than 60 days old, and
  3. perhaps the OP doesn't want to ask their question on JSE for whatever reason.

So what would I like?

  1. Before an OP can initially post a question, programmatically scan on the question tags. If any of the tags contain the word "joomla", then prompt the user that it may be more appropriate to post the question on JSE. "Your question contains tags for Joomla. Would you like to post your question on Joomla Stack Exchange instead?"

  2. As a volunteer, I would like a clickable option next to the question's close option that will allow me to recommend that the OP migrate the page to a site that specializes in the niche topic. It is entirely possible that the question could be appropriately migrated to multiple sites (just like close vote reasons); in which case, I'll need to decide which SE site would be best suited.

    Any migration recommendations would appear publicly under the question as a comment (like close vote/flags) -- this would improve Network awareness. Subsequent volunteers that also encourage the migration could upvote the comment to show their agreement.

    As for the OP, the recommendation(s) would be a large/obvious button (somewhere) that says "Would you like to move your question to Joomla Stack Exchange?". Clicking on that button would force the user to register on the site if not already an account holder, and move the question and all answers. Giving the OP the indefinite* privilege to move the question would be great.
    *Perhaps limit how many times a page can be moved to stop any ridiculous multi-stop tours of the network.

    If the OP does not manually accept the recommendation to migrate, but the OP has registered on the recommended SE site AND there are, say, 4 upvotes on the migration recommendation comment, then let the system automatically migrate the page.

    If the OP hasn't registered on the recommended SE site, but the recommendation comment has 4 upvotes, issue a ping/message to the OP which tells them that the community feels signing up to the recommended SE site is appropriate and would permit migration. Once registered, then the OP's page(s) would be automatically migrated.

  3. I am interested in (but feel it is an unlikely request) having all Joomla tagged questions on SO migrated to JSE. The minor risk with this is that not all Joomla tagged question actually belong on JSE. For instance, a question might ask about how to port a Joomla site to a WordPress site -- this is more appropriately posted on WordPress Development SE. We can mitigate these few occurrences case-by-case in our community and re-migrate questions as we encounter them.

    Not only are there reasons to pull content to JSE, there are reasons to push content out of SO...

    Enter image description here

    If we can't have a bulk migration dump, then can we have a newly migrated question (which is 60+ days old) every 45 minutes? This will be a sensible pace by which our community can carefully tend to the incoming crop. This "fresh" content will be much more entertaining than the pages that get regurgitated/bumped by the system now.

  4. Grant me special powers as a diamond moderator to selectively harvest/migrate historic (60+ days old) Joomla questions from SO. Limit my migrations to 10-a-day if you like. I feel that I am suitably qualified to responsibly choose SO questions that are more appropriately kept on JSE.

  5. Give me a private JSE-moderators-only form which I can submit lists of SO question ids that I feel should be migrated to JSE. Then SO headquarters can determine if/how they want to migrate batches of questions.

Look, ultimately, I want my community to blossom at an accelerated pace, but I just don't feel like I have all of the necessary resources right now. Any progress on migrations will improve our community's activity and encourage new users to come to JSE too.

Please tell me that some fraction of this plea will be entertained. I am fully open to compromising on any of the terms for the sake of progress. If we don't intend to honor SE Network sites for their niche topic expertise, then why do we bother to have them? I feel we should have more good eggs in fewer baskets so that researchers can more easily find what they need.

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    I sympathize with your situation. However, I think the party-line response is "it is your responsibility to create and cultivate an active community for your site; the new policy is that Area 51 proposals must come with evidence of a ready and active community to be considered". I don't think the company is going to prioritize any technical or UX work to facilitate this in any reasonable timeframe. – Dan Bron Jul 19 at 18:05
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    Various things should have been done when this was still in Area 51: meta.stackexchange.com/q/147833/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/q/92836/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/q/76713/282094 - now that you are up and running you have the option of Community ADs: math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/29670/… - I think after some discussion / feedback your question could use some focus. – Rob Jul 19 at 18:57
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    I wasn't around when this was in Area51. I want Community Ads, but can't have them yet because we are in Beta. joomla.meta.stackexchange.com/q/386/12352 this is another way that I am hamstrung. – mickmackusa Jul 19 at 19:04
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    I see some Unclear close votes. What exactly is Unclear? I want better migration tools; then I listed some suggestions. Nothing irritates me more than spending a bunch of time crafting a Meta question only to have it silenced before getting anything out of it. What a waste. – mickmackusa Jul 19 at 19:49
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    At a glance, points 1 and 2 seem ok to me. Points 3,4,5 do not appear to give the asker the option to ask their question on SO rather than Joomla.SE. I think that, whatever their reason may be, it is not desirable to mass migrate questions without the authors' consent. (I'm aware moderators can migrate individual posts to other sites without the authors' consent. I try to avoid doing that.) While the current situation on sites with overlapping scope is broken, IMO the current migration system is part of the problem, so I don't think more migrations will be the solution, or even an improvement. – Discrete lizard Jul 19 at 20:09
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    #1 could make a good "feature-request", #'s 2 & 3 are covered by this question (and follow the duplicate link), #4 and 5 are a bit of meta.stackexchange.com/a/168002/282094 and meta.stackexchange.com/a/94570/282094 - essentially taking from elsewhere. --- Probably a focus on one idea, and a clear argument why (just) that is going to be enough. A "just gimme something" question (I understand this is a "discussion") isn't always as well received as: here's the problem, here's the statistics, here's the desired implementation. – Rob Jul 19 at 20:14
  • Code Review doesn't want automatic migrations, I think you know that as a regular there. We simply can't handle the flood that would cause. I can't talk for what would benefit Joomla or not, but speaking for CR, please absolutely don't. A lot of them are of such low-quality value we don't want them either way, automatic or not. – Mast Jul 20 at 7:30
  • I wonder if I'd have a better shot at asking for all joomla tags to be blocked on all new questions on StackOverflow. In other words, force users to post on JSE or they can post on SO without access to any joomla tags. A prompt could come up if they try to add a joomla tag which would say: "Stack Overflow is now diverting all new Joomla questions to Joomla Stack Exchange." – mickmackusa Jul 20 at 7:37
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    #1 is already possible: tag warnings (also come in yellow-ish color). – rene Jul 21 at 5:42
  • @rene Yes, please. – mickmackusa Jul 21 at 5:45
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    One possibility would also to integrate JSE into SO. That might not be the preferred option for many, just adding it here for completeness because it may also allow to keep a critical size of the community. – Trilarion Jul 21 at 9:24
  • @Trilarion I have answered a comment which asks why users benefit from asking on JSE versus SO. – mickmackusa Jul 21 at 9:26
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    I think my next move is to get into contact with the other CMS SE moderators and see if they agree that this kind of treatment would benefit their sites as well. If [whatever progress is made] is good for JSE, then is should also be appropriate for WordPress Development and Drupal Answers. – mickmackusa Jul 21 at 9:59
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    Not all questions are good. Sometimes, having a small community can be an immense benefit. – S.S. Anne Jul 24 at 2:45
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    @YaakovEllis review concluded, conclusion eluded? – Luuklag Jul 24 at 7:18
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I think that focusing on the questions is the wrong approach. You don't need questions, you need community members that go to the Joomla site before Stack Overflow. If users start getting more comprehensive and friendly answers on JSE than on SO, they will switch over and probably tell their friends. Smaller specialized sites shouldn't try to compete with SO on volume of content. I realize this doesn't directly address all of the things you've brought up - I'm trying to offer some advice for the more general "How can a small site overcome the 'gravity' of an existing overlapping larger site?"

Sites can set up a migration path as part of the question closure process, which will allow users to pick JSE from a list when they choose "This belongs on another site" as a close reason. When should we consider adding a default migration path? You may want to go through that process to see if you can get JSE added to the list of migration targets to allow new questions to be migrated without moderator intervention.

If you want to pursue migrating questions from SO, you need to be able to clearly articulate when people should ask on JSE instead of SO. A post on your site's meta is helpful, so when the question comes up (and it will), there is already a comprehensive and well-thought out answer to it. Here is ELL's version of that post - How do I determine whether a question fits on English Language & Usage or on English Language Learners?.

One thing that helps manage the overlap between English Language Learners and English Language and Usage (even though there is a migration path set up) is letting authors of questions posted on EL&U that were a good fit for ELL know that ELL exists and that those sorts of questions would be welcomed by posting a friendly comment on their question. It's even better if you can direct them to an existing Q&A on JSE that would help. That may not get that one question migrated over, but it often gets many of the author's future questions posted directly. I don't think that "You should post this question on this other site you've never heard of before and delete it from here" sorts of comments work well. It's better to invite them to check out the community than to focus on getting their content.

I think a mass migration of questions would actually be bad for JSE. Editing posts is only a small part of making sure content on a site is good quality - the bigger part is educating the author about what is well-received by the community so that quality can be sustained as the site grows. If you're editing a year old question by an author that never heard of JSE and may never come back, it's not as effective as showing the author of a new post how things work so their next question doesn't have to be improved. And more often than you might expect, new users who were given that sort of help with their first question turn around and give the same help to other new users. A site should constantly be "growing" highly engaged users. Focus on that, and the content will mostly take care of itself.

I understand that populating the site with a lot of content quickly will attract people much faster with less effort than the things I'm suggesting. The difference is the fast and easy method attracts more 'web traffic' than potential community members. People find their answers with Google and never really engage with the site. That may lead to other problems in the long term, like not enough high reputation users to keep the moderation queues from filling up.

You might also look for help on Community Building. A smaller SE site's biggest advantage over other online forums is that it is part of a huge network where millions of multi-talented people can join the site with literally one click. The more communities that active JSE users engage with, the more potential community members become aware the site exists.

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    I am already doing everything that I can think of to manually drive users to JSE. I am tediously commenting on new joomla tagged questions on SO, but this endeavour does not scale well. I think clearly any SO question that has a joomla-* tag should have JSE added to the list of migrations -- again, not that I see many that actually need to be migrated. Our review queues and mod flag queues are currently all zeroed out -- having more content to review will allow our users to be more active. – mickmackusa Jul 20 at 22:22
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    Yes, people do search from Google, with SO having 3x as many pages versus JSE, researchers will only find JSE 25% of the time; and the snowball grows. This is completely ignoring the fact that JF has 1000x as many threads than JSE. I don't think I even have a snowballs chances of getting Google to chance their algorithm, so the rich will get richer in the current dynamic. – mickmackusa Jul 20 at 22:23
  • @mickmackusa that unfortunately is not how migration works. There are 5 slots for SO to be filled with migration targets, make a case that JSE has more questions that should be migrated then any of the current 5 and you might get SE to change it. – Luuklag Jul 21 at 6:54
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    @mickmackusa I empathize with your frustration. I think JSE needs to prioritize getting a default migration path set up on SO to start getting some of the new questions and their authors moved over. It's a real problem that pretty much everything that is on-topic on JSE seems to be on-topic on SO, but I've seen plenty of people accept "it would be better if it were on the more specialized site" migrations. A default migration path also alerts SO reviewers that JSE exists and wants those questions, so you might end up with more people helping direct users and questions to JSE. – ColleenV Jul 21 at 13:47
  • Yes, comprehensive answers would be a unique selling point (very much in contrast to Stack Overflow). – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Jul 23 at 16:49
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The problem here isn't really any technical aspect of the platform, it's the general definition of the scope of SO and the decision on how to handle overlapping sites.

Most of the questions you are arguing for migration are not off-topic on SO, so there is no real reason to migrate unless the asker requests it. Migrating questions that are not off-topic is very problematic, and can easily lead to confusion and drama.

Any tools or actions beyond the current state of migration would essentially require the SO community to agree that a subset of questions are clearly better served by a different and more focused site. It would also likely require that specific topic to be declared off-topic on SO, as anything else would make the overall rules much more complex.

I don't think this is likely to happen, the smaller sites are not always better than SO, in large parts due to the incredible volume of people on SO. And migrating questions from SO to a dying site would be incredibly problematic. I could imagine this maybe for a site that was already very successful and clearly produces better answers than SO for that tag, if the topic is already on the edges of SO's scope and something the SO community isn't very keen on.

A better bet is to focus on features that make it much easier for users to discover that there are other sites than SO for specific topics.

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    I don't know that I'd say JSE is a dying site, more like growth hormone deficient. SO doesn't need this cross-section of content to maintain its awesomeness. On the other hand, JSE would benefit from becoming the one-stop-shop for all Joomla questions on SE. – mickmackusa Jul 20 at 7:44
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    What would there be to gain for an asker to post on JSE over posting on SO? @mickmackusa If you can make a compelling argument on that, then, and only then, it starts to make sense to migrate questions. – Luuklag Jul 21 at 6:39
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    The benefits to askers are many. For starters, the community is far less snarky, less likely to insta-downvote an incomplete question, less likely to insta-close an incomplete question, more likely to explain what details are missing, more likely to want to actually help versus farm unicorn points. In terms of expertise, the community is FAR more aware of the intricacies of the CMS and give better insights that include Joomla-specific functions/methods/techniques as well as best practices. Our volunteers have years of experience handling errors, bugs, and challenges. @Luuklag – mickmackusa Jul 21 at 6:45
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    I am regularly patrolling the joomla questions on SO. I don't have any definitive stats to defend the following claim, but questions on SO are more likely to go unanswered. I assume this is because, Joomla has a relevant portion of users that are not "programmers" -- these users don't know how to execute basic diagnostic checks or narrow down their question to create a mcve. SO users have far less patience in these cases and will just DV and move on. We don't do this on JSE because we know that non-programmers needs support too. – mickmackusa Jul 21 at 6:48
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    Well then point new users with downvoted/closed questions to JSE, and tell them that their question is on-topic there, and likely to be better received. Perhaps you could also make a case for adding a tag warning to the joomla tag on SO which could state that non-programming questions are off-topic on SO, and can be asked at JSE> – Luuklag Jul 21 at 6:53
  • I don't mean that the questions are non-programming or that the questions are off-topic. I would close them as my duty to SO. I mean to say that the users aren't "programmers" by trade. They may be people just trying to forge their own website for their business as a one-off project. These types of users are seldom equipped to deliver the sweetest mcve. @Luu – mickmackusa Jul 21 at 7:00
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    @mickmackusa you need some buy-in from the SO community for most of your ideas, only if the SO community agrees that Joomla questions are off-topic (or mostly off-topic) can you try to get some of this done. Migration is never adversarial, both sites have to come to an agreement about their scopes. I wouldn't get my hopes up that SE does something, I never got anywhere when I tried to convince SE to integrate overlapping sites more. But without support from the SO community you certainly won't be able to get SE to do anything. – Mad Scientist Jul 21 at 7:11
  • Yes, @Mad, CodyGray gave me the same advice. He said I need to generate support and that posting on Meta was going to be a good way to get started. Unfortunately, this question is a little too rambling/scattered and probably won't do what I need it to do. Anyhow, this is me dipping my toe in the water. I'll refine my messaging as I receive more feedback. Thanks. – mickmackusa Jul 21 at 7:21
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    I like your last line. Heck, I like it so much I'd support something like that for all sites. Finding the right site for your question is hard, but realizing this question should be asked is even harder. This is where you need to help people. I can do this manually on my site, but there's no way to do this with the volume of SO. If the company is serious about tighter integration of SO and the rest of SE (or at least the "technologist" subset), serious support for inter-site discovery is among of the first things they should try (again). – Discrete lizard Jul 21 at 11:33
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Migrating all questions isn't a good call IMO. For that part, I leave other answer for that, but something not talked inside your question is how other sites did such mass move. You need a consensus from Stack Overflow users for that part, as you would need to burn the tag joomla on Stack Overflow and make it more clear in the tag wiki that Joomla is there for those questions.

The tag joomla on Stack Overflow already states that;

Joomla! is a free and open source Content Management System (CMS) for publishing content on the World Wide Web and intranets and a model–view–controller (MVC) Web application framework that can also be used independently. Joomla questions can also be asked on https://joomla.stackexchange.com/

It should be stated more firmly on Stack Overflow, maybe that way; if both site moderators see the tag best served on Joomla:

Off Topic Warning: Joomla questions are generally considered off topic for Stack Overflow and more appropriately asked on Joomla questions can also be asked on https://joomla.stackexchange.com/

After such a move, it would be make sure any further Joomla question got closed or migrated to JSE after. It's a discussion to have on Meta Stack Overflow at that point.

Something not talked inside your question is the migration limitation a normal Stack Overflow user can cast (five sites). I can't cast close vote on Stack Overflow, so I can't name their five targets, but most likely Joomla isn't one of them, as such. Such a limitation prevents easy migration per the user, as a moderator flag is necessary for all moves. It's why talking it inside Meta Stack Overflow is a good way, as if all moderators accept to migrate, people will flag more to move to JSE after.

FYI: We did such move on Server Fault in the past for cPanel questions. We had to burn the tag and let it know to the community that webmasters.stackexchange.com was there for those questions, but it's a lot of work.

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    My next move is going to be another Meta post that includes facts and statistics and a more narrow focus. I am going to propose that CMS-specific tags be "locked" -- this way no new questions can use these tags. This is good because it still allows people the privilege of posting on SO if they so choose (just no CMS tags). I saw the meta post that talks about when code-golf was tag locked so as to route users to the new site. This would be ideal for Joomla, Wordpress, and Drupal communities as well as the people asking questions. – mickmackusa Jul 23 at 15:12
  • @mickmackusa I agree it's a good course, but, as said it's a discussion to have on MSO, as if it's a tag that can overlap two sites it's more complex than just blocking the tag. Like in my exemple on SF most question about cPanel are offtopic but sometime on rare case it can be ontopic. As such the tag is still there on SF, just a big warning on it. – yagmoth555 Jul 23 at 15:54
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Just throwing this out here:

But perhaps the JSE site could "sponsor" the Joomla tag on SO. That would be an easy way to get more discoverability.

I however don't know if tag sponsorship is still a thing on SO. I can only find one tag with a logo (SQL-server) but find no hint of any sponsorship when looking at the tag page. The google-play tag is fully sponsored, so have a look there to see what it looks like.

EDIT: I did some searching, but didn't find tag sponsoring between the advertisement options where it used to be.

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  • I have no idea what you mean by "sponsor", but if it means drawing the JSE community's attention to SO, then that is going in the opposite direction that I am interested in. I don't want less attention on JSE, I want more attention to flow from SO to JSE. – mickmackusa Jul 23 at 14:06
  • No it means that there is an icon next to the Joomla tag on SO, and on the SO Joomla questions page you can place links that can redirect to JSE. – Luuklag Jul 23 at 14:17
  • also see: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/277946/… – Luuklag Jul 23 at 14:25
  • Hmm. Thanks for showing me something that I was unaware of, but I don't quite think the intended purpose of the sponsorship feature is what I am going for. – mickmackusa Jul 23 at 14:29
  • @mickmackusa I found an example of a sponsored tag, and edited it into my answer. – Luuklag Jul 23 at 14:39

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