I've noticed lately that many questions get migrated from SO to other sites or get closed for various reasons (e.g. they're duplicates or off-topic). It made me wonder how migration is possible. I assume that a request to migrate a question has to be confirmed by an admin of the target site. Is that so? Can someone share how it works?


2 Answers 2


Migration does not require confirmation from the target site. However, mods on the site do get to see a list of recently migrated questions.

It's entirely reasonable that a migrated question will be a dupe of an existing question on the new site. Users on the original site might not be aware of this. This process is working exactly as it should.

Other times, users on the original site may not realize that the question is not exactly on topic for the target site. In these cases the question probably doesn't belong anywhere, and will just die quietly.

  • 7
    It would be nice if those voting to migrate at least checked the FAQ for the target site (there is a link on the dialog) to see if it was on topic, but we can't expect that to be the norm.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 11:58
  • It clarifies that then. Any idea why a vote/approval from the target site is not required? I would have assumed the exchange network would benefit from this.. (could be wrong, of course).
    – amit
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 12:01
  • 2
    @ChrisF - there's reading? Nobody said there would be reading. :(
    – user27414
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 12:02
  • @amit - you could suggest that. It could be that nobody ever thought of that. Or perhaps it would just make more work for mods and slow things down. But feel free to suggest it if you feel it would be an improvement.
    – user27414
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 12:02
  • @amit - when there were only 3 well defined sites approval wasn't an issue. Now there are many sites (21 sites launched and another 25 in beta) it might be a time to revisit this. However, I don't think it's that big an issue.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 12:04
  • @amit, @Jon's - the idea of migration approval has been raised before, but not formally (i.e. via a question here on Meta).
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 12:05
  • 2
    @ChrisF and @amit - the fact that mods can see recent migrations gives them a chance to disapprove, rather than having to approve everything.
    – user27414
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 12:05
  • @Jon - being a mod (on Web Apps and Programmers) I'm aware of that ;)
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 12:06
  • @Jon , @ChrisF: the overload on the mods can be done by giving voters an ability to accept merge as well... @Jon: as a mod, what is your opinion about this?
    – amit
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 12:14
  • @Jon: my bad, I meant @ChrisF :S
    – amit
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 12:18
  • 1
    @amit As a mod, I don't mind so much. Migrations can be a problem if a lot of them happen in a short period of time and the questions are a bad fit for the target site, but that doesn't happen often. For the most part, the approval step isn't needed.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 13:30
  • 2
    We moderators see not just recent migrations, but all migrations, to be specific, to and from.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 13:32

I was about to post the following as a Question but since it would have been a near duplicate of this one I will try to phrase it as an Answer instead.

My main site is GIS Stack Exchange but I have noticed many questions perfect for it posted at Stack Overflow - about 100 for just one GIS product.

I think the best mechanism for migration would be if questions can be nominated by high rep users from either the posted or target site, and then the question nominated for migration gets reviewed by high rep users at the opposite site prior to the migration occurring.

In other words, I'd like to see more push and pull of questions between sites, to make them become (more) on-topic at the target site, and to facilitate easier migration via the review queues at both ends.

  • 3
    +1 This would certainly help reduce balkanization. As it stands now, questions too easily become refugees, pushed out, left to "die quietly". Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 14:00
  • 5
    I tried adding a bounty to get some more attention and discussion on this, but it doesn't seem to have done much. It might be better to paste as new, tagged feature-request. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 6:49
  • Thanks for trying @mattwilkie - I'll see if I can post it as a new question distinct from this one. Incidentally, I didn't know you could put a bounty on an answer so I'll have to look into how that works.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 7:03
  • One tendency I've noticed on small-to-medium sites (which are not in competition with SO, because they are non-technical) is that we usually try to respect the asker's choice of site, if the question is on-topic there. Suddenly having your question migrated to a site you've never used before can be jarring, especially for new users, so if it's on-topic at the site it was posted, IMHO it should stay there.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 16:42
  • @Kevin I think you are underestimating the specialized technical expertise that is available on some small-to-medium sites. I think the idea is to encourage all questions to appear on the site where they are most likely to attract potential answerers. For specialist topics (including coding within those specialist topics), I think that is more often than not unlikely to be the pure coding site of SO.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 22:08
  • @PolyGeo: The problem with this is that the UI for migration is amazingly bad, if the asker does not have an account on the destination site (often the case, for a smaller site). From the inexperienced user's perspective, the question just magically disappears like the Cheshire Cat, with very little in the way of explanation.
    – Kevin
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 22:18
  • @Kevin My answer is asking for the migration workflow (which I think will inevitably include its UI) to be improved but my understanding is that a migrated question does not disappear. The user simply clicks their question link at the original site and is taken to their question at its new site. Nevertheless I think more explanation around that would be beneficial.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 23:32
  • @PolyGeo: IIRC the notifications disappear and the user has no way to find the question unless they go to their profile. New users may not know they even have a profile.
    – Kevin
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 16:42
  • @Kevin Can you please provide some evidence for that. I rarely migrate nowadays but when I see other moderators do so there’s invariably a link I click to see where the question went.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 20:23
  • @PolyGeo: Yes, a link does appear on your profile and in the sitewide question list. The problem is that new users don't know how to look in those places, and cannot receive notifications from a site where they don't have an account (the question and comments are not linked to their account until they create one).
    – Kevin
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 23:24
  • @Kevin I’m not talking about my profile - the link I’m talking about is exactly where the original question was posted. If that’s not the case then I would agree there’s a problem but from what I’ve seen that link is always present for 30 days.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 12:18
  • @PolyGeo: Yes, I just said that ("in the sitewide question list").
    – Kevin
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 20:29
  • @Kevin If a user cannot find their migration stub how do they find any of their own un-migrated questions? The stub is exactly where they posted their question.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 20:37
  • @PolyGeo: I have told you this three times now: They find questions through their notifications, because the notifications generate a bright red "click here" signal.
    – Kevin
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 20:38
  • @Kevin Are you saying that these users are posting questions, not ever checking them, and simply waiting for a notification that their question has been answered, edited, commented on, etc? If so, that seems like a far from optimal way to use our sites.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 20:48

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