The question Routing problem (no ping) was migrated from Stack Overflow to Server Fault. However, the OP (ComputeALot) has no account on Server Fault.

I believe we should try to help users when a question is salvageable, and I think this could be the case if we could still talk to ComputeALot from Server Fault.

What is the best way to deal with this kind of situation (without closing as NARQ, which is certainly an option)?
I am not sure we should automatically create an account for him on ServerFault; however, it would be nice if you could send clarifying questions after the migration.

  • So you're suggesting that we should be able to leave comments on the original site, even after a question has been migrated? Commented May 23, 2011 at 3:47
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    @Cody Gray, I'm not 100% sure what the solution should be. I think it's better to leave comments on SF that get sent to the SO user, but I'm not sure whether the comment system could support that. I'm soliciting suggestions for how to deal with this situation Commented May 23, 2011 at 3:49
  • I unlocked the question and left a comment in this specific case, but I agree that a more general solution would be nice. Commented May 23, 2011 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


According to Jeff's comment on this answer, users already get a notification that they should associate their user accounts when logging on to the other site:

new accounts get a topbar notification reminding them to associate, with a link to the associate page. Short of going over to their house and clicking the buttons for them, not sure what else to do.

So, the next time the user revisits the original question, they will be automatically redirected to the site that is its new home, and prompted to associate their accounts. If, somehow, they fail to be redirected to the new site, they will see a banner at the bottom of their question indicating that it has been migrated elsewhere, with a link to that question on the new site. From your example:

migrated to serverfault.com by Mitch Wheat, Bill the Lizard♦ yesterday

This question belongs on our site for system administrators and desktop support professionals.

Once they've associated their account on the new site, they will automatically regain ownership of their question, just as if they'd asked it there originally.

I'm not really sure what else we can do other than automatically creating an account for someone on the target site whenever one of their questions gets migrated, and I'm just not convinced that this is necessary. How often do you really see this being a problem? From the linked question, it looks like you're simply assuming that it might be an issue, rather than actually having seen it become a stumbling block for new users.

  • @CodyGray I see a fair number of users fail to associate accounts for questions migrated to Programmers. No idea where the point of failure is, though.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 3:57
  • Yes, I am making the assumption; but I see this happen frequently after migrations between Stack Overflow and Server Fault. Commented May 23, 2011 at 3:57
  • @Anna: What do you see happen instead? Do you mean that the user never returns to the question at all? Or that they create a new, unassociated account to access the question? (I've never personally had a question migrated, so I can't say from experience how intuitive the process is.) Commented May 23, 2011 at 4:00
  • @CodyGray They create a new account and (usually) post a non-answer to respond to the answers they've received after the migration. At that point we can't associate accounts to fix it because the question is still not owned by any user. Seeing this over and over again is what prompted me to ask this here on meta. Admittedly, not a good idea, but still.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 4:03
  • It's very bizarre to me how/why users would log in with a different OpenID than the one they use(d) on the original site. I don't change my name when applying for a new job, or introducing myself to a new group of people. Commented May 23, 2011 at 4:06
  • @CodyGray Some of the users are unregistered on the source site. I've no idea what's supposed to happen in that case in terms of account association and transferring question ownership.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 4:11

The theory is that the user goes back to the original site to check on their question, sees that it was migrated, and signs into the new site with the same OpenID. The user then associated the accounts and regains ownership of the question.

If the user never comes back, the question effectively becomes abandoned. In that case, even being able to message them without an account wouldn't do anything, since they'd not visit the site to see those messages.

  • Please elaborate on how the OP should know that the question has been migrated. Does the migrated status show up on their StackOverflow user page under "Questions"? Commented May 23, 2011 at 3:54
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    @Mike The question itself will say it's been migrated (and provide a link to the new location). The title will also change to include [migrated] and that will be visible from the question list in the user's profile.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 3:55
  • Anna, ComputeALot is not registered; and I can't see the [migrated] question in his user profile. In fact, his profile shows that his last activity as December 2010??? This seems a bit odd, I'm not sure what to think. Commented May 23, 2011 at 4:02
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    @Mike You've got the wrong user. Here's the right ComputeALot. You can get to the original question from SF by clicking the "stackoverflow.com" link in the "migrated from stackoverflow.com" banner on the question below the body/above the answers.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 4:06
  • Thank you for pointing that out, I will edit my question Commented May 23, 2011 at 4:07
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    @Mike That said, I'm a bit hazy on what happens if a question from an unregistered user gets migrated. Far as I know, they should still be able to associate accounts, but I'm not sure how that'd happen.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 4:07
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    @Mike: The user ComputeALot has two different accounts with the same name. The one you linked to, and the one he used to ask the question in question. Still not sure what to think, of course. I can't understand how or why this happens. Commented May 23, 2011 at 4:07
  • @Cody: I think it happens when there are two different OpenIDs generated. I see such things from time to time generating suggested edits; whenever I see it, I always approve the edit (if it's not spam) on the grounds that users should be able to change their own questions. Commented May 23, 2011 at 9:54
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    @Donal: Yes, I agree completely. The question is, how do they manage to create two different OpenIDs? The whole point of the OpenID system is that you reuse the same account to log into multiple sites, especially those that are all on the same network and have identical log-in pages. Commented May 23, 2011 at 9:58

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