For example, there is this question about headphones while programming. It was posted on Stack Overflow, where there was another question just like it (about headphones for a noisy office. 3 people voted to migrate the question to SuperUser, where it does not belong. Like the author said - programmers who work in an environment where they want to drown out sounds using headphones, audio enthusiasts, and gamers all have different needs. Since it was about programming, it rightfully belongs on SO.

However, 5 people voted to close the question, including myself. 3 people voted as "belongs on SuperUser" (which is clearly not true) and 2 people (I was in this camp) voted as exact duplicate with the older question as the duplicate. Now, it's on SO where the original author might not get the help he needs and it's not linked to the SO question that it is a duplicate of.

I think this proves the idea that users with the close power should not have the authority to migrate questions. The solutions that have been posted in the past can be found here. I'm fond of the idea of having a community say "this doesn't belong here" (eg - not programming related on SO) and having a queue for moderators (the star moderators) to go through and decide if it's appropriate to leave and keep closed or move. I'm also fond of having the community of the other site (mods or high rep users) vote to accept/reject questions that are pending moving, and if accepted, only then the question actually moves.

But what can be done?

  • 1
    I can't speak to its validity on SuperUser, but the referenced question really doesn't belong on StackOverflow. That question is just a variation of the boat-programming. This doesn't invalidate your concerns, though. Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:07
  • 1
    I think the question is about programmers, not programming. The fact that they're to drown out a noisy environment can easily be specified on SU instead. Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:12
  • Ian Elliott: I disagree. For example, an audiophile wants the highest quality sound possible, while a programmer might want something that's good enough to hear the music, but also cheap. Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:36
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    Uh...I don't necessarily think programmers classify as a distinct group of headphone consumers. Some are going to be audiophiles and others are going to be cheap. The only thing that may unite them is a desire to drown out other noise, but again so do people who travel on planes and use computers. I would personally agree with having it on SuperUser, but that's just my opinion.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:39
  • So specify that. Anyone is perfectly capable of understanding that distinction without being a programmer, unless of course somehow reading is now a task only conceivable by programmers. "I need headphones that are good enough to hear the music but also cheap. I'm not an audiophile." Was that so hard? Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:42
  • So, I'm kind of beginning to see that this question might belong on SU. But it brings up a good point that it's too easy to let 5 random people who might not even agree where to put it, move a question from one site to another. Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 23:05

2 Answers 2


Simple solution would be to only migrate questions when there is unanimous voting in favor of migration to a single site (no splits between sites allowed).

For questions that are closed which had "migrate" as a reason (but not the unanimous), I think you could add those in the queue for a moderator to look at and make a judgment call on.


I like the idea of having posts flagged for review, either by the mod or by the community of the receiving site, but perhaps this should be separated from the closing system entirely? This will allow the question to continue to receive answers even while it's in migration limbo.

Although the question may be off-topic on the origin site, there's the possibility that someone might be able/willing to help, and there's no reason to prevent them from doing so in the meantime, since it'll end up in the right place in the end.

And if the question's a duplicate, it can be closed for that reason before the migration occurs (although the migration review flag should be retained in case it can be reopened on the proper site)

Edit: Another proposal: Perhaps when a question is voted for a migration, a cool-down timer would start, and a 'pending-migration' tag would be added. During this interval, the question is still open, and high-rep users can vote to abort or change the migration, or close the question outright (eg, if it's a duplicate or spam). If a moderator or the original asker agrees with the migration, they can force it to proceed immediately (or reduce the delay). Once the cool-down period expires without being aborted, the question is migrated per normal.

This would allow discussion around what site is best for the destination, as well as closure for duplicates, without needing moderator intervention for every migrated question. It could also be used to remove tags such as 'not-programming-related' or 'belongs-on-*' by users that have high rep on the origin site, but not on the destination site.

  • The problem is there IS no real limbo. Once it's migrated it's open and ready for answers on the other site. What you are suggesting is to allow answers to get posted on the same question in two areas, which would be a major hassle when it came to merging (you'd see a lot of duplicate answers I would assume).
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:18
  • To clarify, I'm not asking for the question to be open at the same time in two places; just that it remain open /somewhere/ while it's pending review.
    – bdonlan
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:19
  • Now you are basically advocating for the system that was in place prior to it becoming a fully open reason for the users to vote on (such as on SuperUser right now where nobody has enough rep to vote). People flag it as needing migration and a moderator like myself has to come in and make a judgment call. It sounds more like a step backwards (or just a step sideways) than a step forward.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:22
  • Perhaps the OP's suggestion of having the community of the destination site vote on whether to accept it would be good, then? Not sure how the UI would look though. In any case, some sort of cool-down period would be good, to allow for discussion. Once a question is migrated, after all, often the people from the former site who voted for it don't have enough rep to re-migrate it back.
    – bdonlan
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:27
  • I don't want to look like I am bashing any community (especially the one I am supposed to be moderating), but do you really want to trust a community to accept an answer that is being migrated when we can't even agree that the community is right in moving one out? If the people aren't supposed to be smart enough to know what belongs and doesn't belong in terms of migration, I don't see how you can turn around and say that they are going to be any better at figuring out what should come in.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:41
  • The problem, as I see it, is people are often too hasty hitting the close button. Migrations are harder to undo than regular closures, and so it'd be good to put a few minor bumps in the process to make sure everyone's thought it out well and are in agreement.
    – bdonlan
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 20:47

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