The question here (deleted; record) was migrated from Stack Overflow to our site. It was moved by a moderator of Stack Overflow and per the [currently deleted] comments there, the migration was proposed by a user using a flag. During my conversation with that moderator (say M1), I concluded that their site policy on migration doesn't respect the on-topic guidelines of destination site. From M1:


Our current policy is to migrate content that has been requested to be migrated and let the destination site reject if it is not.

(The question here doesn't have answers useful to my question. The answer here has very good recommendation about migration but the view count of the page indicates that it may not be a policy accepted by many. Beyond them, I failed to find community consensus reflected in the noted quote. I can't confirm whether this is M1's personal policy or a policy privately or publicy created by all elected Stack Overflow's moderators or created through community's consensus.)

Let me simplify the quote. It is not their business to find whether the post would be on-topic on the destination site. If the post is not on-topic to them and a migration has been requested, they would throw the post on destination site and latter has to deal with whatsoever comes to them, including but not limited to crap i.e. purely worthless stuff.

Any moderator of a site is a representative of that site to other network sites and the outside world. By the very nature of the authority they handle, a moderator would and should know all that is needed to run the site (that includes sound understanding of migration) and is alone in a position to define what is good for the site and what's not, to a certain extent of course. So if I (a user from the network), hear from a site's moderator, anything about a policy of their site then I've no reason to disregard their word. Correct?

Let's come back to the issue now. In the midst of 2014, a trusted user of our site requested users from Stack Overflow to not migrate posts which are already off-topic to us. It was answered by a Stack Overflow's moderator with the following reason with regard to the localized issue of that question:

Not entirely sure why, or why a moderator accepted that, but that's what started this. We usually decline these flags, so this is probably just an honest mistake.

Given that quote, the policy M1 uses may have been framed up after Jun 16, 2014. Please comment the link if you know where the policy is.

From FAQ for Stack Exchange sites: What is migration and how does it work?

Things to consider when migrating questions

  • Don't migrate crap! Ever. If the question is likely to be closed on the destination site anyway, don't bother migrating it. Just close it normally and advise the OP of the other site in the comments. If they decide to improve the question, then they can go post it over there, or they can edit their question and have it migrated later.

  • Avoid migrating answered questions. The point of migration is to send the question to a place where it is on-topic and can get answered. If the OP already has an answer, then we've already defeated the purpose of migration and the destination site won't have anything to do with the question. Avoid migrating these questions unless they are of extremely good quality and risk deletion on their current site.

  • Don't migrate for the sake of migration. We only migrate questions because they are off-topic on the original site. It is perfectly possible for a question to be on-topic on multiple sites, but that is not a reason to migrate it elsewhere. As a general rule, if someone asks a question here, and it's on-topic here, it should stay here.

  • Be familiar with the destination site. If you have never even visited the destination site before, read through the FAQ thoroughly and make sure the question actually belongs there. Don't look at the name of a site and automatically assume the question can be asked there. Each site has its own rules, and rules vary greatly across sites.

  • If you're not sure, don't migrate it. Let someone else who is sure do that, or ask for opinions from the community in a relevant chat room.

Use the migrated question with the quoted FAQ and the following is what you get:

  • Don't migrate crap!: It was off-topic and completely of no use to an end-user, hence crap to us.
  • Avoid migrating answered questions.: It was already answered on source site. Furthermore, per the first point, the question was not in a position to get answers on our site, let alone helpful ones.
  • Don't migrate for the sake of migration.: It was flagged for migration by user(s) and later closed as off-topic by M1 when it was and still is on-topic to them (record).

    Thankfully, our site's moderator showed concern for the author. He appropriately handled the question on our site and later voted to reopen it on Stack Overflow.

  • Be familiar with the destination site.: Given the actions, I don't think anyone involved in migration of that question alone, from Stack Overflow to our site, appears to have correct understanding or awareness on what is not to be posted on our site.

    What's more painful to know is that that they're actually advising us on how to handle their garbage. For their information: We already know how do deal with garbage! Why tell us what we already know?

    From M1 (record):

    [Flag] or vote to close the post as off topic. Once it's closed, it'll reject the migration. That's how the workflow is handled.

  • If you're not sure, don't migrate it.: Do I now even have to explain this one?

Per the system, I'm neither an experienced user, nor a trusted user or a moderator, so I cannot hope to raise my issue (follow M1's suggestion, that is) on Meta Stack Overflow since the issue I perceive is a community's issue not my personal one.

Thus, regardless of your reputation points, if you find my issue substantive, the defense put forward strong and appropriate without ad hominem attack against anyone involved, then by all means:

  • please remind Stack Overflow that we're a small site with much smaller number (still relevant) of active close voters and that we already have huge and unavoidable issue with regard to development/programming questions posted here almost every single day
  • that, given the first point, we're not in a good position to handle, but regardless neither do we intend to handle extra garbage
  • that they should dispose their garbage in their own territory and because their policy forces us to handle their own garbage which is a burden on us and completely unjustifiable, that we kindly request an exception to our site in their migration policy - the same policy briefly hinted by M1.

Caution: before you post on Meta Stack Overflow, please make yourself aware of this attitude which is nothing but a more shortened version of the policy I heard from M1:

Can't you just reject the migration?

Just so you know, after the conversation (read: disappointing) with M1, I've started wondering whether I should change my stance here: Should development questions be put on hold or migrated to SO?

  • 2
    "including but not limited to crap" is the hard one here – and yes, I've heard that argumentation before (about "let the target deal with it"). Granted, SO has a much higher load than we have. But if they can't cope with that, putting the load on their sister-sites is the wrong way – the right way would be approaching staff asking for re-inforcements, have an election, and end up with additional mods to deal with the high load. So I'm with you: Sure we could "just reject", but it shouldn't come here in the first point. We're not elected "SO housekeepers" (with all due respect) ;)
    – Izzy Mod
    Jan 20 '16 at 7:40
  • Seeing that this case happened because of a single binding moderator vote, I'm afraid the issue is actually on the migration process itself. I agree the onus is on the flagger & voter, but it's hard to make people behave to what the community wants. Instead, I'm blaming the migration process itself. I thought there's migration queue that 10k/mods could approve/reject on the target site, but it appears to be wrong (there's only list of recent migrated posts on admin/mod tools). If only this feature was implemented...
    – Andrew T. Mod
    Jan 20 '16 at 9:43
  • @AndrewT.: Is that a comment from a regular SO user or a regular Android.SE user? :) (pun intended) I had this thought of proposing a technical fix but I dropped it while framing the question since not much has been done to remind them with our problem and if they are not reminded then they might not bother for a fix (such as the proposed fix you linked). And the biggest problem I see is that the representative of that community uses the process wrongly and does not see that they are forcing destination site to deal with their mess. This can't be fixed by any technical means.
    – Firelord Mod
    Jan 20 '16 at 9:53
  • Aww, I'm a trusted user. That's the nicest thing anyone's called me all day.
    – Dan Hulme
    Jan 20 '16 at 10:37
  • @DanHulme: You and other veterans who have posted such incredibly conceptual and useful answers on main site are the primary reason I decided to contribute and stay on main site. And I've mostly learned (good or bad) from the actions of all the long-time users.
    – Firelord Mod
    Jan 20 '16 at 10:40
  • 5
    Can't you just reject the migration? Can't they just not migrate? I don't throw my trash on my neighbor's lawn and then tell them to just clean it up. SuperUser appears to have the same attitude as this SO moderator, and it sucks. IMO if they can't be bothered to check whether they should migrate, they should definitely not bother to migrate at all. Jan 20 '16 at 17:21
  • @MatthewRead: thanks for your input. Yes, I'm also aware of Super User's attitude and we've received crap from them in quite a number in last few months (perhaps it has been always like that). That said, I didn't bring this up because I remember Izzy once raised this issue to an Super User moderator in their moderator only chat room so I though that might have been enough.
    – Firelord Mod
    Jan 20 '16 at 19:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .