Every day, people post questions on Stack Overflow that need migration to SF, SU, or meta (which, by the way, sucks since a lot of those people don't have access to SU yet). People seem to have a tendency to downvote these questions, even if it isn't necessarily a "bad" question (which is when downvotes are sanctioned, correct?).

Why is this?

  • define "accepted practice" – hayalci Jul 26 '09 at 21:00
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    A practice that is generally accepted... – Hooked Jul 27 '09 at 4:45
  • Password for Super User ewok.adventure – Brad Gilbert Aug 14 '09 at 0:41
  • tfw your question gets marked as a duplicate of two questions posted after yours...seems like a flaw in the StackExchange triage algorithm. – Hooked Nov 2 '19 at 3:55

It is not accepted practice, but it is quite common, unfortunately.

A commentator on Kip's answer mentions that the people asking questions in the wrong place (i.e. So instead of SF) obviously didn't read the FAQ. I understand this as saying that not having read the FAQ is grounds for downvoting, basically as a punishment.

I completely disagree with that point of view. I think we should not downvote questions that are candidates for migration, because that sort of behaviour is disruptive and counterproductive. Only in very exceptional cases is a downvote justified.

If you want to encourage the right behaviour, you should point people in the right direction and give them a little nudge (by voting to migrate the question, and leaving a comment saying please read the FAQ, for example). Downvoting as a punishment does not entice the desired behaviour, in the contrary. People will feel offended and may even react with disruptive behaviour (starting a flame war, spamming the site with OT questions, aquiring a little reputation so they can leave mean comments, or downvote randomly). We don't want newcomers to go away feeling that SO sucks, you know, the people there are really narrow minded. We want them to stay and become valuable members of the community. Only people who don't want to become one of those members should be encouraged to stay away from the site. In my opinion the downvote on a question should be reserved to those cases.


Naw, man... you got it all wrong!

It's not accepted practice to down-vote OT questions. Some people just don't care for them, and some people down-vote things they don't like.

Best thing to do is, kick off the migration as quickly as possible: once the question is moved, it's locked and can't be voted on anymore...


A side-effect of this down-vote behavior could be questions are migrated, retaining their negative score, and then not show up on the home page, due to score filtering.

We'll have to discuss it, but resetting a negative score on a migrated question might be helpful - migrated questions can start on a level playing field.

If the migrated question has no merit, the down-votes will return (and another close), so this wouldn't be a large change.


It is kind of a punishment for not asking the question in the right place to begin with. (Not saying I necessarily agree with it, depending on the circumstances.) With the kinds of subjective/discussion questions that belong on Meta, in particular, I think people still have the gut reaction to downvote those things into oblivion, forgetting that there actually is a place for them now.

  • 1
    Your question gets moved if it isn't posted in the right place, hence whoever asked it did not read the FAQ to see what questions are acceptable. This is void however if the post is older than the site where it should be moved. – Ian Elliott Jul 26 '09 at 4:29

I think a lot of it depends on what Rep you have.

If I see a question on StackOverflow titled: "My iPod won't charge - help me ASAP!" then I would vote to port it over to SuperUser (because I have enough Rep that I can) but for many, many StackOverflow users they don't have enough Rep to do this (yet) thus all they can do is down vote the question to show that the question doesn't belong here.

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    That's not all they can do. They can also flag for moderator attention. – Brad Gilbert Aug 14 '09 at 0:45

Anyone has access to SU if they want it, but I see your point.

I think it sucks when people are downvoting and voting to close at the same time.

  • 3
    I downvote and vote to close all the time. But I never downvote and vote to migrate. I think there's a big difference, so it should be noted. – Eric Jul 26 '09 at 2:51
  • I wish someone would invite me to the beta. I do not feel comfortable asking anyone from the SO community to invite me. – Hooked Jul 26 '09 at 3:08
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    @Hooked: I hereby invite you: blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/07/… – Eric Jul 26 '09 at 3:10
  • lol. Thanks for the invite, Eric! +1 – Hooked Jul 26 '09 at 3:25

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