The close vote dialog currently only permits our own meta to be chosen of the "this question belongs on another site" reason.

It really should let any appropriate SE site be nominated, but should definitely include the most common ones for us:

  • Biology
  • Gardening
  • Pets
  • Skeptics
  • Brewing
  • Crazythingsonlyanonmyousinternetpeoplewouldevereventhinktoaskbecausetheyarecompletelysilly

Edit: if we cannot have the common migration targets enumerated, then this option should be removed completely for this site, as it is a garden path UX failure. The user selects Close - Off topic because - belongs on another site, and then is forced to choose meta which is almost always wrong, so they have to back out and then flag with a manual other reason.

If we are going to force them to manual commenting on closure reason, and manual flagging for moderator attention in order to get migration done, then the false pathway should not be there.

  • I've seen the "migrate anywhere" suggested and declined before on other sites, I think that list is limited to five and they have to be commonly used (and accepted) before someone will add them. For other sites (which I guess is any on Cooking.SE at the moment) I believe the recommended option is vote to close as normal and use the flag other to suggest to a moderator it should be migrated elsewhere.
    – PeterJ
    Apr 9, 2014 at 3:46

1 Answer 1


Well, putting aside for the moment the argument over whether or not this should be allowed, it's definitely not a bug.

Sites have specific "migration paths", which are a reflection of which off-topic questions actually get asked. Stack Overflow used to collect a lot of tech-support questions and some sysadmin questions, which now belong on Super User and Server Fault respectively. New migration paths, like DBA, got added partly because those fledgling sites really needed the questions, and it was too convenient to just keep asking on the (much) higher-traffic site.

If we see any questions about pets here, they must be extremely rare. What you're calling biology questions (I assume you mean the obnoxious "prove to me that 2 hours of bacterial growth is really dangerous, otherwise I'm going to eat this rotting steak" questions) aren't really biology questions in the sense that they would be accepted on the Biology Q&A. The science Stack Exchanges are intended for academics and researchers and don't want to be flooded with random "popular mechanics" nonsense.

The idea is, migration is only allowed when two sites are clearly overlapping and one tends to attract a large number of questions that should go on the other. And even then, migration is only allowed to continue when the originating community has a good track record for migrating questions that are on-topic for the destination site.

I have serious doubts that most of the community here is familiar enough with the rules on Biology, Skeptics, Brewing, etc. to responsibly choose which questions should be migrated there vs. which should simply be closed. Migration doesn't mean "we think this might be more on topic on your site", it means "somebody posted this on site X by mistake, it definitely belongs on site Y instead." It's a strong statement that very few of us are really qualified to make.

Even the moderators can't just migrate to other sites willy-nilly. I have no idea what the specific rules are - probably something to do with time or votes - but we only see the "belongs on another site" option for a small number of questions. So flagging for moderator attention isn't necessarily going to help either. Just close them.

Generally speaking, off-topic questions also tend to be poor questions anyway and could do with a rewrite rather than a migration. In these cases the low quality trumps the low relevance. So that further narrows down the set of useful migrations - we should only be migrating questions that are definitely on-topic on the destination site and reasonably clear/succinct enough that they wouldn't need to be edited (much) on the destination site.

Given all this, how often would we really need to migrate questions to other sites, even if we could?

  • 1
    If all that is true, then the whole option should be removed as a WTF useless option.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 10, 2014 at 1:56
  • @SAJ14SAJ: What's your reasoning on that?
    – Aaronut
    Apr 11, 2014 at 1:21
  • The sites we actually migrate things to, including Bio just yesterday, cannot be chosen. Meta is the only choice, and it is almost never required. So why does the option exist at all?
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 11, 2014 at 1:24
  • @SAJ14SAJ: It doesn't, for many questions. For others, it's just built-in to the system. Some sites have more migration paths than others.
    – Aaronut
    Apr 12, 2014 at 1:11
  • @SAJ14SAJ I tend to agree with Aaronut here; we see so few questions that actually warrant migration that it's no big deal to just get mods involved. And I'm not saying you'd do this, but people really do misunderstand site scopes all the time. I've seen people suggest non-exercise nutrition questions should go to fitness more times than I've actually migrated a question.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Apr 18, 2014 at 6:05
  • I am complaining about the garden path ui, not about getting the mods involved. @jefromi it is frustrating to go three levels down and discover you have to back out.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 18, 2014 at 10:37
  • @SAJ14SAJ: That's a different complaint, but a valid one. Before there was a concept of multiple migration paths, "belongs on meta" was a close option on the first screen. You might want to suggest on the newly-branded Meta Stack Exchange that if there is only one possible migration target, it should be in the first menu, instead of having to go one level deep to find nothing there. But I wouldn't suggest removing the whole option.
    – Aaronut
    Apr 18, 2014 at 12:11

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