Recently, it seems that a number of questions are being flagged for migration because they are a better fit someplace else. My personal view on migration is it should only be used for questions that are off topic here. In other words, if a question is on topic here, it should stay even if it might be a better fit someplace else. What do people think about migration?

I am not sure what is up with the migrated search, but of the 10 questions I see there...

Although maybe better fits someplace else, seem on topic here.


4 Answers 4


If the question is on-topic, and the OP chose to post here, I believe we should keep the question here, even if it is a better fit somewhere else.

The one exception I can see is if the OP requests migration after becoming aware of that option.

  • 5
    I second this. In particular I do not consider “is off-topic because it is better fit for X” a valid close reason.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Apr 11, 2015 at 9:37

I think that as a community we are a bit fast on the trigger for migration, and basically agree with earthling's post. I would add that the distinction I find useful is whether the question's answers will need to be highly technical vs. more about custom and practice.

Thus, for example, in the two examples that you give, I think the "p-value" question is definitely right to migrate, because the answer is deeply technical in statistics, whereas the "link to article" question could have stayed (though it might have ended up on hold anyway as opinion-based).

Mostly, though, I think we're migrating a bunch of questions because a lot of people turn up confused about the scope of this site, apparently feeling that "I encountered this in academia" means "I should ask about this on Academia.SE." Looking at some of the other sites on the network, though, I think our frequency of migration is pretty normal.


I don't think we're necessarily migrating too many questions - because Stack Exchange is a network, I don't think there's particularly harm in seeing a question moved, and indeed the initial asker can benefit a lot from a prompt to go to a more appropriate venue for their question, and future questions like it.

I'll admit that I'm particularly pro-migration for questions that fit better on CrossValidated (the p-value question), because this isn't a question specific to academia, and is specifically a question in a technical area that has a SE site. I'd feel the same about questions about code, even if it was for a thesis (SO) or say a specific biology question.


In my opinion, whether or not a question is on-topic on Academia SE (or on any other SE site) is a bad measurement for the decision whether or not to migrate it away.

The more important factor, I think, is where the question is most on-topic. That is for the simple reason that similar questions turn up over time, and only if we have each question flow toward the one site where it is "most at home", there is a chance that the various variants of one question are eventually merged.

I say this based on the following personal beliefs of mine (here expressed in a somewhat drastical way):

  • Duplicate questions are a vicious evil to fight, even though it will be an eternal struggle and they can never completely be eradicated. When looking for some specific information, I vastly prefer one question with lots of different answers over having to open a dozen browser tabs, each of which contains what might or might not be another duplicate of the same question I am trying to solve.
  • Reviving even old, seemingly inactive questions is nothing to be criticized for; if you know something to contribute to a question or answer, do it, no matter whether the respective post was added a minute or a decade ago.

In short: I prefer increasing chances of merging duplicate questions across the whole SE network, rather than have each SE site amass a pile of borderline questions that have already been, or will also be answered elsewhere.

  • I see a problem that migration is a hard action and we can't readily flag as duplicate across sites. Few questions will reasonably live on more than a couple of sites, so I think cross-site duplication is not a big problem.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 7:51
  • @jakebeal: Indeed, flagging as duplicates across sites is impossible, which is one of the primary reasons why I argue strongly in favour of much migration. I agree Academia SE may have less of a problem in this respect, I rather encounter the issue on the programming sites, where I feel a considerable amount of questions is suitable for sets of sites such as StackExchange, Programmers SE, User Experience SE, Game Development SE. As it is a cross-site issue, I'd prefer if all sites used the same policy in this case, though. Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 8:24
  • I find a lot of Meta conversations along these lines kind of make an assumption that everyone is going to behave rationally...when really pretty much no one does. I think most people are doing their best but may come to SE via a search engine and in desperation for an answer. We COULD spend a lot of time massaging everything back into "perfect" shape but the law of large numbers means that most questions are more-or-less where they belong. IMHO.
    – Raydot
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 17:43
  • 2
    @DaveKaye: I'm not sure I get the connection between the beginning of your comment and its end. If indeed the law of large numbers successfully achieves that most questions are more-or-less where they belong, doesn't that confirm that more-or-less everyone did behave rationally? And if that is the case, wouldn't that also provide good reasons to trust that the law of large numbers will also lead to most migrations successfully placing somewhat misplaced questions where they belong even better? Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 17:59
  • Ha, interesting point...I guess I didn't see it that way or perhaps that wasn't the best way to explain it. All I meant was that things are basically OK. Look, for instance, at how many "closed" questions will have been upvoted in to the triple digits...and the moderators never come back!
    – Raydot
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 18:40

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