I've noticed a number of questions that are being closed as "not programming related", when in reality they belong on either Super User or Server Fault.

For example, this question has three votes for closure as not programming related, which means it likely won't get migrated when its closed.

  • What should I do when I see these questions?
  • Is there anything that can be done to encourage use of the "belongs-on-__________" close reasons?

The other two have said it best, but I thought I'd add one tiny little thing to the discussion.

Close reasons go by a majority-rules scenario -- if there are 3 NPRs and 2 migrations, it's an NPR closure. Additionally, when it comes to migration, the guidance given by Jeff Atwood was, "when in doubt, don't." Not "don't close," but "don't migrate" if there's any doubt about which site it belongs on. Prudence is the better part of valor here.

For everything else I would have said, see Troggy and Neil Butterworth's responses. :)


Those of us that don't use SF and SU have no way of knowing whether an SO question is suitable to be moved to them, so we close it as NPR. And the belongs_on_ tags should be BANNED, not encouraged! Tags are not a mechanism for expressing your opinion about a question.

  • I meant close reason, not tag.
    – Justin
    Jan 25 '10 at 8:05
  • I still don't understand. There are questions that objectively are ill-suited to SO and well-suited to, say, SU. Tags are for objectively describing the contents of a question. Shouldn't you be saying "Don't re-tag if the characterization applied in your tags could be construed as subjective?". Why the special case for belongs- tags? In my experience they are used more objectively than average. Tags that I see used subjectively are best-practices (ahem), python (for some reason many non-questions), c applied to pure c++ questions,... Why not ban those? Those at least have a problem. Jan 28 '10 at 23:05
  • @Pascal Firstly, the belongs-on- tags ARE subjective, whatever you may think. And secondly there is already a mechanism for dealing with the problem - voting to move to the correct site or to close.
    – nb69307
    Jan 29 '10 at 10:14
  • @Neil I understand you don't want these tags to be used. There are valid reasons to avoid them. I just don't see how belong-on- tags can be called inherently subjective (any more than in a "everything is subjective, everyone live in their own reality" kind of nonsense. Can a Fortran question objectively be said to be about Fortan? Do we exist? If we live in the Matrix, is there such a thing as a non-programming question?) Jan 29 '10 at 15:29

What should I do when I see these questions?

Flag for moderator attention and explain the situation. Moderators love flags and can make the appropriate action. You could also leave comments mentioning how it should be migrated, but that will not result in direct action. When in doubt, flag for moderator.

Is there anything that can be done to encourage use of the belongs-on-____ tags?

We do not want the "belongs-on-xxxx" tags being used ever for any reason. They are an incorrect use of the tag system. They are currently a top candidate for the planned tag black list. Implement a Tag Black List

  • I meant close reason, but tag (my mistake)
    – Justin
    Jan 25 '10 at 8:06

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