When someone votes to close an off topic question, Stack Overflow shows a list of five affiliated sites that could be appropriate for that question, namely:

Shouldn’t this list be more comprehensive and include all affiliated sites? For instance, (La)TeX questions on Stack Overflow should be redirected to http://tex.stackexchange.com.

  • 4
    Many people agree with you, and some have asked about it here before. The answer has always been that the devs feel that more than five destinations would clutter up the list too much, and that the existing five options cover most of the off-topic questions anyways. See what Jeff said to a similar question.
    – Pops
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 18:00
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    It's been 8 months since this decision and I'm really feeling that the current 5 options aren't cutting it anymore.
    – rlb.usa
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 17:47
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    In agreement with @rlb.usa, at this point either show them all or show none; the chance that the post needs to be moved to one of those five is getting slimmer every time a new SE site opens up.
    – eykanal
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 20:36
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    The five definitely don't cut it any more - far too often I need to flag something to 'SharePoint' or 'Code Review' where nothing else it appropriate.. This needs to be revisited.
    – Michael A
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 3:12
  • Can I cross-post this to ux.stackexchange.com?
    – msw
    Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 20:41
  • Ironically, tex.stackexchange.com is now on the list, while programmers.stackexchange.com is no longer there since this question was asked. I think this needs to be rethought or at least return to the old list, since at least then there were some somewhat appropriate choices, where as now, more often than not, I can't close with this option because there's never a matching site. Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 20:48

7 Answers 7


This is a duplicate... but not on Meta Stack Overflow! At least, not directly. You're a generalized duplicate of this Super User question, which to quote Jeff Atwood,

We don't ever want to show more than 5 here, because it gets overwhelming.

Thus, in order to get [a different site] on there, you'd have to make a case that we can kick one of the existing 5 off the list. Are you prepared to do that?

Is 5 a bit arbitrary? Maybe, but so would any other number. A true need to increase this limit hasn't been realized yet.

Moderators are able to migrate to any site - so flag things that belong outside of the close dialog for moderator attention. For TeX specifically, keep in mind that they do want your LaTeX questions, but be wary about old ones.

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    +1 Because you listed the Super User post. Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 18:10
  • Damn, nice catch!
    – Trufa
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 20:10
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    Re: "a true need hasn't been realized", what about the simple reason of "it's one less thing that the mods have to deal with"?
    – eykanal
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 20:36
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    It's overwhelming for stupid users, but not for brilliant mods. Do I have that right? Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 14:57

I don't understand the problem. Who said that you have to clutter the screen up with a list of sites?

I would propose that the list contains the current five items and add one more site which should be guessed based on the tags and some question content matching. Because that isn't a guarantee that the appropriate site gets chosen you can also have a text field at the bottom of that list which features completion-suggestions, like in the StackExchange chat when you try to relocate a message to another room.

You type in a a couple of letters and it shows all sites matching those typed characters.

  • I was going to suggest something similar, but you beat me to it *8-) And I now see it's also touched on in the SU post linked in the accepted answer. But I'm not sure all the current five are sacrosanct; why not have related sites as an attribute of the tag, and always generate the list from all tags, plus just a couple of fixed generic ones (meta and programmers, perhaps)?
    – Alex Poole
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 23:26
  • +1 for the site search idea. I just ran into this issue - I think the SE network has grown large enough that such a feature makes sense.
    – Mansfield
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 13:52
  • The list really need programmers.* added; and imo latex removed if the 5 list is a limit. Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 9:20
  • You can close a question as a duplicate and type in the URL to the duplicate question (because listing all questions is clearly too many :) so why on earth not just allow an "other" button that gives a text input for pasting the URL to the site?
    – Phrogz
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 21:58

I think a nice option for not cluttering the initial list is to insert an "other sites" option that opens up only if you have the need.

  • While we have other ways of doing it as well, it should be noted that diamond moderators do literally have this option coming from the standard close dialog.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 17:12
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    @Grace: That also sounds like a tolerable solution. I hope you guys aren't too confused by there being more than five options? :-D
    – sarnold
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 0:20

Would it make sense to revisit this now that we've fragmented even further into including:


If those sites really are the better Stacks* for questions on those topics, why does the migration of those questions need to involve diamond moderators?

I don't think a limit of 5 even makes sense for aesthetic reasons -- the site name + favicon should be good enough to help disambiguate among our fragments without too much hassle:

Vote to migrate picker

Bonus points for tooltips for the descriptions. (Most of us don't need them most of the time.)

* Forum is the better English word, but I don't want to further the idea that The Stack is a "web forum", as those are often useless piles of cargo-cult reasoning and hearsay. Is Stacks a better replacement?


If you need it migrated to a site not on the list, flag it for moderator attention. Diamond moderators have the ability to migrate to any site, and since this is often edge cases, the perfect time to use a moderator flag.

This can also be done after the fact, if a question has already been closed.

Also, officially paths are only added once a site graduates, however in the case of a moderator flag, we can migrate to beta sites.


How about the 5 which are displayed, are dynamic, e.g. depend on the tags or content of the question.

For example: if the question is tagged "math" or "algebra" it makes sense to show math.stackexchange.com

  • Assuming this has not been proposed before, this would make an interesting feature request. Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 13:50
  • @S.L.Barth should it be posted as a separate question to be noticed as a feature request?
    – hayd
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 15:13
  • Yes, and tagged with feature-request. Do check if it has been suggested before, or it will be closed as a duplicate. Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 15:21

At least provide an input for a small, optional text explanation with the generic "is off topic" choice.

That way, if the question belongs on a site that is not one of the preselectable choices, we could write the site name in.

The next step would be to display the "off topic" votes in the question. EG:

Closed as off topic, belongs on: superuser.com (x3), ask.com (x2) by: user1, user2, user3, user4, user5, yesterday.

  • Neat idea. But I can never remember if the TeX site is latex.se or tex.se.
    – sarnold
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 23:40
  • @sarnold: Okay, but it seems like 20 seconds of "due diligence" would clear that up before the close-vote is submitted. ;) Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 1:25
  • Or beg Benjol to extend his script a bit further. :D
    – sarnold
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 1:32