One of my questions—Topical tag cloud generator for researchers/academics—was migrated to a site I'm not a member of and have no intention of signing up for. Thus I can no longer interact with it. It was migrated with about 5 upvotes and an answer with 4 upvotes (that I never had the chance to upvote). I shall speak of it using the past tense, may it rest in peace.
Seemingly it was migrated after @EnergyNumbers put forward in a comment that it was a "boat programming" question. His comment got some upvotes and (I guess) close votes started to appear afterwards and it got migrated somehow (I don't know the process). Hence this seemed to be an important comment.
I did not know what "boat programming" meant before but based on the discussion here, @EnergyNumbers was putting forward that my question was analogous to asking "What is the best boat for an academic" ... the argument being that adding "for an academic" doesn't make a question about boats a relevant question. Now I had previously added discussion to my question specifying the reasons why a generic tag cloud generator would be insufficient, and why I was looking for something specific for academic papers. One could argue that it was still a boat programming question since one could argue why a programmer needs a certain type of boat ... it needs a good coffee machine for example.
The other part of the comment was that it was a "shopping question", which I understand is like asking (as an academic) for your favourite x from a set of well-known X or something. I would argue that my question was not asking for one's favourite anything from a set of well-known anythings. It was looking for software packages to extract and visualise topics from research papers. Others could argue it was a shopping question I guess because I was asking for things.
The last part of the comment was that it was relevant to another StackExchange site—Software Recommendations—where it eventually migrated.
Was it a "boat programming" question? ...
Was it a "shopping" question? ...
Was it ...
I went looking through the FAQ to see what I missed. I didn't really find anything. I mean I can see that one could make arguments that my question was doing X or wasn't doing Y in the FAQ but far from anything clear-cut and far from anything umpteen other questions (including highly voted questions) on the site do.
But okay, I tried to take as given the explicit/implicit premises applied to my question, akin to a perfect storm:
- boat programming: making a generic question and sticking "for academics" after it;
- shopping: "my favourite X is x', what's yours?";
- software request for which there is a dedicated SE site.
... and apply it to other questions on the site. Here's just some (not-so-)quick examples where I roughly tried to use my question as a yardstick (of course I'm biased, so make up your own minds):
Software to use for creating posters for academic conferences? (28 upvotes, 11 answers.) [Boat programming. Shopping. Software recommendation.]
Mapping connections between topics covered in academic papers - does such a tool exist? (3 upvotes, 1 answer) [Shopping. Software recommendation.]
Tools for data organising and processing (5 upvotes, 2 answers) [Boat programming. Shopping. Software recommendation.]
Saving handwritten notes for future reference (18 upvotes, 9 answers) [Boat programming. Shopping. Software recommendation.]
Software to draw illustrative figures in tables (57 upvotes, 12 answers) [Boat programming. Shopping. Software recommendation.]
Is there an open source tool for producing bibtex entries from paper PDFs? (6 upvotes, 1 answer) [Shopping. Software recommendation.]
Searching for a quotation manager (10 upvotes, 3 answers) [Shopping. Software recommendation.]
Issue tracking when writing a paper (19 upvotes, 3 answers) [Boat programming. Shopping. Software recommendation.]
Note taking software: referencing text to searchable keywords (2 upvotes, 1 answer) [Boat programming. Shopping. Software recommendation.]
Do you find a computer-assisted qualitative data analysis tool useful? (2 upvotes, 1 answer) [Boat programming. Shopping. Software recommendation.]
Internet Git repository for collaboration on a paper (18 upvotes, 3 answers) [Boat programming. Shopping. Software recommendation.]
I am not arguing one way or the other that these questions are off-topic for this site. I'm trying to highlight that the reason(s) my question was commented on/voted to close/migrated apply to many other questions.
None of these questions have been migrated. None have close votes. None even have comments along the lines of the ones I got on my question.
Likewise there's the (
software) tag itself (which I didn't see until later):
Queries related to various software used in academia. Questions shall not address highly technical aspects of the software but shall address features/issues highly relevant to academia.
In any case, aside from being confused, I feel like I have already spent too much time on this and other topics. I'm not going to be engaging on this question. But maybe it helps give examples of something or other. I dunno.
Having come to the end of this long meta-question whose effort–reward ratio is seemingly vanishingly small, irrespective of what you thought of the question itself, all I can put forward is the request to not view moderation tools as nails for which you have the hammer, and to moderate with clarity, consistency and common sense ... and reluctance.