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Related question: Why is meta.ux.stackexchange.com the only choice for migration?


As a result of the answer I received to the aforementioned related question, I thought I'd see about asking for a feature request.

With respect to migrating a question to another *.SE site, in his answer, @BennySkogberg stated:

So what do we do? Personally I post a close vote as off topic, either by the options predefined, or write my own custom close reason. After that I flag for moderator attention with the simple words "Migrate to GD.SE?". When a mod see the flag, he (there are only he-mods here) uses the dialogue above to post an imediate close and migration request (if it's a valid flag).

Being a moderator for SharePoint.SE, he showed what they have for migration:

Sharepoint.SE migration screen shot

As you can see, they have a box that allows them to type in and search for a site in the *.SE network.

My feature request is to have something along the lines of what @BennySkogberg already does, but automating it.

Here's what I would suggest:

  • When closing a question by clicking Off-Topic > This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network, the Migration modal should have a box that let's us type in and/or search for a site to migrate the question to.

  • There should be a Vote To Migrate button and when clicked, it should be just like other closing flags, in that it requires 5 votes to suggest a migration for site mods.

  • Once the 5 votes are received, the system automatically creates a flag for moderator attention with default text of Migrate to Xxx.SE? or something similar, as @BennySkogberg suggests.

  • At this point, moderators could then get together and discuss whether or not the best decision is to migrate or just plain delete it if they can't find a fit.

This way meta.ux.stackexchange.com isn't the only choice for migration and allows people to attempt to correctly close a question by choosing to migrate.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

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Migration is a delicate topic, and if I read the discussions on meta.so, I come to the conclusion that this should be a moderator only decision. The most important reason is that there is ambiguity built in some of the question where mods from different SE-sites do discuss whether or not to migrate.

This is further specified on the meta.SO post Closing/Migrating question instructions/guidance:

Belongs On {site}

This should be used when a question is clearly intended for a different site in the Trilogy. This should only be used when you can clearly identify exactly which site the question should be on.

For example:

  • Configuration of a client on a Windows domain will likely belong on Server Fault.
  • Installing Windows on a PC will likely belong on Super User.
  • Developing a tool to aggregate information from various servers via WMI and ASDI will likely belong on Stack Overflow
  • A question about why one of the above belongs on its appropriate site clearly belongs on Meta Stack Overflow.

As you can see, there is some ambiguity in most of the above samples, but they all have a fairly clear home, based on the missions of the site.

When Should This Not Be Used

I'm with Jeff Atwood: When in doubt, don't migrate. Unlike other closures, migration is damned difficult to undo. Once migrated, the original question is locked, which takes closure to a new extreme by preventing commenting. Additionally, there is the possibility (actually, likelihood) that the OP does not have an account on the migrated-to site.

This should only be used when you are 100% certain that not only does the question not belong on the site where it was asked, but that it absolutely does belong on the site you are targeting with the migration.

Of course one could argue that the users of the site should moderate its content, what does and what doesn't belong here. And we do by closing. But deciding whether or not a question should be migrated to another site is very different, and need the governance of a moderator. Users here have no forum to discuss migration issues which moderator has.

To conclude, I think current rule of the system is correct and that it should stay as is.

  • I sort of agree with both you and Code Maverick. One of the bigger issues on most Stack Exchange sites is where users leave a comment against a question saying something like "This belongs on StackOverflow" for questions that really don't belong there. That often leads to the OP going and reposting that question there and then getting shot down in flames for it being off-topic while they blame the referring site for suggesting it. If we could get a mechanism in place where users could suggest a migration without actually suggesting it to the OP that'd mitigate that issue... – JonW Feb 19 '14 at 11:09
  • ...but it should probably still be the mod decision as to whether it should be migrated or not. Code Mavericks suggestion is a bit more automated, but still not much different to the current 'flag as 'other' and suggest migration' option. Unfortunately, most of the time when posts are suggested for migration in flags or comments they really don't belong on the suggested site. Especially on UX, most of the users here primarily use UX only, not SO or other sites, so aren't in the best position to suggest a site migration as they're not fully aware of appropriate questions for those sites. – JonW Feb 19 '14 at 11:11
  • @BennySkogberg - I'm not quite sure you are understanding me. I'm not saying the users get to ultimately decide whether or not a question gets to be migrated. The whole point of my feature request is that all the user does is vote to close/migrate a question and that when the question receives enough migrate votes it will flag the question for moderator attention allowing the moderators to decide what to do, if anything. – Code Maverick Feb 19 '14 at 17:09
  • @CodeMaverick ... and if there are five close votes, the question will be migrated?! That's what I'm in doubt of. I don't think it's a community decision to migrate. I think its a mod decision. But if the five close vote don't do anything (like migrate) I think its worth considering. Looks like we're splitting hair here Maverick :-) – Benny Skogberg Feb 19 '14 at 20:15
  • @BennySkogberg - No, after the 5 close votes, the question gets flagged for moderator attention along with a note stating what site the close vote was choosing to migrate to. Then mods get together and decide whether or not they want to migrate. – Code Maverick Feb 19 '14 at 20:22

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