At the end of October, Shog9 said:

If SO migrations are truly a problem, then you get removed as a migration target completely. No user migrations, period.

as a response to this m.SO question about the rising number of bad migrations.

Since that question was posted, we've paid more attention to the inbound migrated questions list and the percentage rejected has risen to 40% with no end in sight. It's pretty easy to see that if things continue as they are now, we should easily be over 50% rejections by the new year.

At what point do we actually consider the option of removing ourselves as a migration target? 50%? 60%? Now?

Some mods and people in chat at the time were OK with that. Others thought it was too extreme. That's when the number was only 25% rejected. How do we feel about this now that we've had a month's worth of attention on it and are beginning to see things a bit more clearly?

  • 1
    The root of the problem seems to be with questions being posted to the wrong community, so many questions get posted to SO that have nothing to do with SO related topics. Fix that and I think SF will have less of these issues. – scape Nov 8 '12 at 16:27
  • @scape I agree that's probably the ideal solution, but I think our chances of fixing the great unwashed mass of the internet (getting them to post decent questions to the right site, and not post crap at all) are even lower than our chances of fixing Stack Overflow (getting regular users to stop migrating crap). – voretaq7 Nov 8 '12 at 23:37
  • @mdpc - This isn't really a feature request, since I'm not requesting that this be done in my question. I'm simply asking the community what their thoughts are. – MDMarra Nov 9 '12 at 3:40
  • Why not make it one based on the comments here? – mdpc Nov 9 '12 at 21:12
  • I'll leave that to someone with a diamond that can get the attention of a community manager – MDMarra Nov 9 '12 at 21:13
  • 1
    I'd rather add more sites to the migration list (e.g. Ask Ubuntu, Webmasters, Programmers, Android & Unix). – neu242 Nov 14 '12 at 8:21
  • @neu242 do you have any justification for this? It seems SO is having a hard time handling what they already have available. Note that I've already proposed that for SF and the answer was basically "go away": meta.stackexchange.com/questions/118685/… – MDMarra Nov 14 '12 at 11:49
  • What happens when we reach new year next year? 200% maybe even 300%? What is this madness? – Lucas Kauffman Nov 14 '12 at 20:51
  • stackoverflow.com/questions/13461557/… <-- Another migrated gem. – Chris S Nov 20 '12 at 15:09
  • @neu242 I know you'd like to add those so that the best of the people using the migrate tools can use them well, but don't forget that the worse of the people using the migrate tools will also be able to use them to create chaos. – Rob Moir Nov 21 '12 at 20:06
  • @RobM Then raise the amount of moderator points needed to use migrate tools. – neu242 Nov 22 '12 at 7:54
  • "status-completed" - Three cheers and thanks for making our little corner of the digital world a happier place to be. – John Gardeniers Nov 30 '12 at 23:44

10 Answers 10


This is the nuclear option. If all else fails, it will be the solution.

That said, I'd like to try a few other things first, and see how they work out.

First off, we have a gigantic backlog of questions with pending close votes on them. Many of these may need to be closed, but few should be migrated. A recent change to how migration works removes that possibility for about 8.5 thousand questions with outstanding votes - that's a pretty sizable chunk.

Second, I've implemented this suggestion: The appearance of the "belongs on serverfault.com" option on Stack Overflow

This is fairly subtle - but it's worth a shot, since a reoccurring complaint is that folks on SO don't understand the scope of this site. I'll be watching to see if it has any effect.

The % of worthwhile migrations does seem to be fast-diminishing, but there are still a number of questions sent over from SO that are not only accepted here, but do fairly well - up-voted, answered. If this becomes such a small portion as to be expendable, then so be it.

Small update: so far, this is not getting better, week-to-week. It's getting worse. A lot worse. Last week saw over 70% of migrations rejected. I'm becoming dejected.

Server Fault has been removed as a migration path on Stack Overflow.

  • 2
    At what point do you pick up the big red phone? I'm all for giving things a chance, but this has been a problem for a long time. – MDMarra Nov 13 '12 at 18:37
  • 3
    My larger concern is becoming that the plurality of good migrations are getting caught up in "Stack Overflow Hate" -- Case in point, this question is certainly a good one (if a bit basic), but it's accumulated 3 close votes... – voretaq7 Nov 13 '12 at 18:43
  • 3
    @voretaq7: SO isn't the only community that could use some education. – Shog9 Nov 13 '12 at 18:58
  • 1
    @Shog9 Agreed - SO is not the only site migrating stuff here that isn't a good fit, and I know our outbound migrations aren't perfect either. SO just get the bulk of the hate because they are the largest volume of migrations (by an order of magnitude) which makes quality issues more visible. – voretaq7 Nov 13 '12 at 19:03
  • 1
    @Shog9 Honestly I expect migrations to continue to suck network-wide until/unless the feedback loop is closed somehow - I know it's probably a non-trivial fix, but I think it's the only way to really put the issue to bed. – voretaq7 Nov 13 '12 at 19:05
  • 1
    @voretaq7 I'm not sure it's just SO migration hate; I see a lot of questions with what I consider to be questionable close votes. Seems to me to be that some of the reviewers on SO err on the side of VTC when they come across a question that's maybe a little too simple or seems like it could be coming from someone who's not a professional SA, regardless of whether or not they were migrated. And it's probably an issue that needs attention, but is (IMO) independent of the cross-site migrations issue, except that migrations also get caught up in the "home/unprofessional user, GTFO" attitude. – HopelessN00b Nov 13 '12 at 19:13
  • 4
  • 4
    Wow. That's just ridiculous... Who would ask a bunch of sysadmins to help fight the evil man running their network?! – Shog9 Nov 14 '12 at 17:57
  • 7
    @Shog9 A large percentage of Stack Overflow users. – Michael Hampton Nov 14 '12 at 18:08
  • 6
    @Shog9 Honestly, when are they going to realize that we are those evil men and live solely to make their lives miserable! – MDMarra Nov 14 '12 at 18:08
  • 3
    One of those users had 11k, another had 19k, and another had 260k rep. I'm not saying they all voted to migrate but two out of those three had just the account association rep on SF. There's another point in the "minimum rep required to move" idea. – tombull89 Nov 14 '12 at 18:11
  • 6
    @Mikhail did you bother to read our FAQ? It's pretty well defined. We're for professionals admins that have questions relating to managing computers/servers in a professional capacity. Also, we existed before any of those other sites. If anyone has an identity crisis, it's them not us. :) – MDMarra Nov 20 '12 at 12:55
  • 3
    @Shog9 Any update on your feelings about this? We're still getting a large volume of WAMP/debugging questions that should never have been migrated and plenty that are mind numbingly bad. We're quickly approaching 50% rejected. Now that I've earned Marshall from all of the terrible migrations, I think we should go nuclear. – MDMarra Nov 24 '12 at 20:53
  • 5
    @MDMarra: it's... not looking good. – Shog9 Nov 30 '12 at 3:12
  • 1
    @ChrisMoschini, SFs problem is the fact it's geared to "professional-level" unlike all-come, all-served such as SO. Newbies are very much so welcome on SF, we just expect them to do a bit of research on their own and no got "here's my problem, plz help". It's a difficult position for SF to be in but we expect people to read the FaQ and abide by what is laid out therein, pretty much we would on any other Stack Exchange site. As I said, you're more than welcome to propose re-adding SF to SO's migration target, but if that does happen, SF wil lose a lot of its knowledgeable users. And that's bad. – tombull89 Mar 28 '13 at 10:56

Remove as migration target now.

It's been a problem for years, so I don't know how anyone could possibly think waiting a little longer will change things.

  • I find myself reluctantly giving this one a +1. I don't like the idea of taking us off the list, but you're right, it's been a problem for a long time and a few more weeks isn't going to make a difference. – Mark Henderson Nov 8 '12 at 4:28
  • 1
    @MarkHenderson Indeed. As the saying goes, hope is the denial of reality. Sad but true. :( – HopelessN00b Nov 8 '12 at 5:50
  • 12
    What's the difference between those who've been on SF for a few years compared to those who've only been on SF a few months? The amount of time we've been complaining about this problem. There should be a badge for it. – John Gardeniers Nov 8 '12 at 8:02
  • 3
    @JohnGardeniers A complaining badge? I think I like that idea. :) – HopelessN00b Nov 8 '12 at 17:07
  • Talking of badges, did you know that you get badges for 30 days or 100 days consecutive visits to the site but nothing for a full year's worth? I've always found that a bit odd. – John Gardeniers Nov 8 '12 at 17:27
  • @JohnGardeniers Yeah, I think they kind of limited their options when they decided to award the gold badge for 100 days in a row... no higher-level badges than gold. – HopelessN00b Nov 8 '12 at 17:54
  • 2
    How about adding Ask Ubuntu in that slot? Some of the migrated questions are really simple Ubuntu-related questions so that might drive at least some of the 'bad' questions away. – Chris Hasiński Nov 12 '12 at 16:10
  • 3
    @KrzysztofHasiński Even though Ubuntu is undeniably evil and awful, I don't think we should be submitting another stack exchange community to the same horror of StackOverflow migrations that we're trying to remove ourselves from. – HopelessN00b Nov 12 '12 at 16:13
  • @KrzysztofHasiński, you're more than welcome to suggest to the AU community that they replace SF. I can't help mention that it's probably a bad idea and they might regret it down the line. – tombull89 Nov 12 '12 at 16:15
  • 1
    I just looked at the negative voted questions from SO related to Ubuntu. Most of them are questions how to install an IDE or some programming language tools. Off to the meta AU I go ;) – Chris Hasiński Nov 13 '12 at 8:30

Entirely justified, though regrettable. The kinds of things they ship our way are usually in the small-operator area that's always been a problem for us.

The surly target-market http://sysadmin1138.net/mt/blog/2012/09/08/surly-target-market.png

The green area is where most developers (though not all, which is where things get complicated) reside, and those are manifestly off-topic. Some are in the purple area and do make good questions, but typically fail the "development systems are off-topic" test. It's these kinds of systems questions that get sent our way instead of SuperUser or U&L.

And the rest of our inbound migrations? The normal green-area stuff of

Oh, this looks like a bunch of computer nerds, I'll ask my question on this site that has a lot of traffic on it

...that we get daily, but SO gets more of as they're a much bigger collection of computer nerds. The large majority of which are home or hobby systems, as we all know.

Overall, systemically, the SF migration target worked w-a-y back when it was just the trilogy. Time has passed and it is now manifestly clear that the StackOverflow VTC-base does not understand the nuance of our scope. It is being abused, and creating a lot of work for us. It should be removed.

And I'm very curious how SuperUser's SO-reject-rate has shifted now that we have that nifty review-queue thingy. Before it went in, they were rejecting fewer than us but still well into the teens. SU and SF may have a similar problem.

It may be a better idea overall to replace the SF and SU migration targets with U&L and DBA, though that's the kind of thing that should be really worked out between all of the communities involved. The only place on the entire StackExchange where it's safe to ask generic "how do I set up my dev-system server binaries" is on SU right now, so that may not work.

  • I'm 10k+ on SU as well. When I'm off of the train, I'll look at the stats there as well for you. – MDMarra Nov 7 '12 at 22:20
  • 2
    I don't know what SU's stats look like, but it might just be best if SO users couldn't migrate at all (Mods, who are usually much more responsible than users, would still retain migration rights). The closer we look at it the more apparent the problem, and lamenting crappy migrations hasn't helped one bit in the last year. I'm on board with cutting it off now as well. – Chris S Nov 8 '12 at 0:51
  • SU has a 10% rejection rate on 1330 questions right now. I haven't been active there in years, though, so I can't speak to topicality there. It seems like SU should have the lowest rate or rejection, since it's a catch-all assuming that the question itself isn't terrible. – MDMarra Nov 8 '12 at 1:43
  • @MDMarra We've had some meta traffic from them for being the, er, dustbin of the trilogy (pre-SE). I'm surprised their reject rate is that low. – sysadmin1138 Mod Nov 8 '12 at 3:09
  • 3
    Perhaps in order to vote to migrate from site A to site B, one should have to have >= 3k rep on both sites. Is SF's flood of terrible migrations caused by SO users who don't really understand SF (like me)? – Tom Anderson Nov 18 '12 at 15:32
  • @TomAnderson That exact item has been brought up a lot on meta.stackoverflow.com, ever since they first started offering migrations back in 2009, and the feature-request has been consistently denied. – sysadmin1138 Mod Nov 18 '12 at 15:36
  • @sysadmin1138: Oh well, never mind then. Do you happen to know why it has been denied? – Tom Anderson Nov 18 '12 at 15:46

The answer to this question is complicated, and has a lot to do with the depth of the /review queue on Stack Overflow.

The large rise in rejected migrations is coming as questions with 1-2 close votes on Stack Overflow are being dredged up and migrated by the badge-seekers.

When the question gets here people look at it and someone puts a close vote on it, at which point our badge seekers hammer it (sometimes because it's a bad question, sometimes maybe because they see "migrated from Stack Overflow" and have the visceral need to throw a shoe), and another rejection is added to the list.

I expect once the /review queue on Stack Overflow has drained we'll be back to our normal signal-to-noise ratio -- so the real questions are

  1. Do we want to wait that long?
    It could be a month or more before the /review queue on SO drains.

  2. Do we think that the SO migration quality can be improved?
    Using the current upward trend is a poor yardstick for the reasons I enumerated above, but do we think our campaign of education has any chance of being effective here?

If the answer to either of those questions is No then we should ask to be removed from the SO migration list.

  • 2
    This problem has existed before the queue and a random sampling of rejected migrations shows that most of it is garbage and not our badge-hunters being overly zealous. All that the new tools have done is make it more easily quantifiable and identifiable for us. The "Stack Overflow doesn't migrate crap" joke has been going on amongst regulars since the inception of chat. – MDMarra Nov 7 '12 at 21:06
  • @MDMarra The reject rate prior to /review was usually in the low 20% range -- I won't argue that 20% rejects is GOOD, but it was a vaguely tolerable annoyance. A quick look at stackoverflow.com/review shows over 50,000 questions in their close queue though, which makes me think the answer to my Question 1 above is "Oh HELL no!" – voretaq7 Nov 7 '12 at 21:12
  • The SO reject rate has moved from the high teens to 20% before the review queue went in, and that was bad enough. However, Voretaq has the right idea as to why now. Shit is being shoved all over StackExchange thanks to /review. – sysadmin1138 Mod Nov 7 '12 at 21:16
  • 6
    I'd suggest that the problems with SO, heck with any of the sites, aren't to do with the people who understand that they need education and will take the time to educate themselves but with the people who just click click click. We all make mistakes, have bad judgement on occasion, or whatever, but whenever I've seen debates on migrations on SO there's usually someone who essentially says "I never/rarely visit site X but I know what's on topic there" and gets offended when they're called on it. It's hard to fight that. – Rob Moir Nov 7 '12 at 22:02
  • 1
    Part of the problem is that considering how little administrative control exists over user behavior I don't see how we can fix the problem on their end. There is no non-voluntary feedback loop. All we can do is compile a list of frequently offending users and have a mod @@ them with educational notices. – Scott Pack Nov 8 '12 at 0:44
  • 2
    @ScottPack Even when we've yelled at people... There are about 10 migration per day and last time I looked at one day's worth there were only a couple duplicate users... It was something like 42 unique users.... You could spend your whole day yelling at them and there'll be 42 new ones tomorrow. – Chris S Nov 8 '12 at 0:55
  • 1
    @voretaq7 I'm very skeptical of how many questions are dredged up by the review process on SO to be sent over here. They can't migrate "old" questions anymore. Perhaps you're right, but SO migrations have been a problem so much longer than the Review system has been around. – Chris S Nov 8 '12 at 0:56
  • @ChrisS: That's kind of my point. Without some kind of system in place to either review the migrations before they get posted to the main site, or restrict who has access to migrate.... I'm feeling like such a whiner, because I desperately want the migration system to be better, but without something relatively drastic it was designed too asynchronously to be reasonably addressed. Sad pirate is sad. – Scott Pack Nov 8 '12 at 0:58
  • @ChrisS The 60-day rule is pretty new (in terms of the 90 day migration history) - it's hard to say what effect that's had until there's a good 60 days of data. Right now we've got the old, unregulated /review & migrate situation. That said I agree bad migrations have been a chronic problem - removing it from the migration list just strikes me as a Method 1 solution which should be our last resort... (we may well be at "last resort" time though. near-50% rejection rate is completely unacceptable) – voretaq7 Nov 8 '12 at 4:08
  • I'd just like to say that not everyone who reviews is a "badge seeker". – John Gardeniers Nov 8 '12 at 7:44
  • @JohnGardeniers Certainly not, but the kind of folks who just blindly click on the close reason that already has blue circles rather than thinking for themselves fall into that category, and combining them with the natural close vote inertia leads to Bad Times... – voretaq7 Nov 8 '12 at 15:54
  • 2
    At the rate SO's /review/close queue is draining, I expect it to be well over a year before it's gone. It's only gone from 56K to 52K in the last month. – Michael Hampton Nov 9 '12 at 2:48
  • @MichaelHampton SO is in the process if removing the homework tag; for lower quality questions the process looks a lot like nuking from orbit. I suspect the close queue is being refilled significantly faster than normal. Assuming most of the 20k to 13k reduction over the last two months has been the destruction of negative scored questions, the drain rate will probably speed up significantly in the medium term future. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Nov 21 '12 at 19:29

The rejection rate has gone up because more people are reviewing close votes and because someone (he says coyly) is searching for "migrated:1" on SO and casting an initial close vote on the crappy ones.

A couple things I've noticed:

  • A lot of the questions migrated here from SO are basically abandoned. Often the OP doesn't have an account here and if there are any existing answers from before it was migrated, those users don't have accounts here either. Even if the question is good and on-topic, any answers aren't going to do the OP any good because they don't see them here.

  • I think far more that 50% of the migrated questions are crap and deserve to be rejected. I probably VtC about 90% of them and although there have been a few that probably didn't deserve it, most of those were "abandoned" as per my previous point.

  • Unfortunately, the (fairly low) number of questions that get migrated here is going to make it hard to convince Shog9 and others on meta.SO that anything needs to be done. I haven't been keeping stats, but I'm able to vote to close all the migrated questions I think are bad within about 15 of my close votes.

I don't know what stats the moderators can get at, I'd be curious to know what the "real" numbers are: how many questions per day do we get migrated from SO and how are late migrations counted. (I just noticed one question that was asked on SO Oct 28th and migrated to SF earlier today.)

If it were up to me, yeah, I'd like to see SF removed as a migration target, but in the meantime it's not a problem to click on "newest" a few times a day and cast some close votes:enter image description here

  • A raw division from the migration stats page says we get about 10 migrations per day from SO (907 over 90 days). Applying the 40% rejection rate that means 4 bad questions per day. This method is obviously not scientific. – voretaq7 Nov 7 '12 at 21:16
  • 1
    Shog has been pretty open minded about this issue.. He's certainly willing to talk about it and I'll be surprised if he didn't drop in on this question eventually. – Chris S Nov 8 '12 at 0:58

Considering the basic premise that a question posted on the wrong site is almost guaranteed to be crap the I'm very much in favour of stopping migrations by regular users. However, restricting migrations to mods only will not endear us to the mods on the originating site because their workload will increase dramatically.

Because of the enormous difference in rep numbers across different sites (a crap but popular question can hit the daily cap on SO) restricting migrations to users with X rep simply won't work ver well. Perhaps it should be restricted to those within say 5% or so of rep.

  • Shog has already said that there won't be restrictions like that. It will either be that we're on the list or we're not. – MDMarra Nov 8 '12 at 8:20
  • 4
    In that case the only viable solution is to get SF removed from the So migration list. Three years ago would have been the best time to do it. – John Gardeniers Nov 8 '12 at 17:22

What about a modification to the SE sites, so that you can only migrate to sister SE sites, if you have a high enough rep to use Vote to Close on the source site, and a high enough rep on the sister site to migrate a question across?

e.g. Vote to Close is granted at 3,000, say you had to have 2,000 on the sister site to migrate in, then:

Fred has 13,500 on SO and 500 on SF, he can't migrate questions from SO to SF as his SF rep isn't high enough.


John has 4,030 on SO and 3,500 on SF. His rep on SF suggests he knows what constitutes a good SF question, so he can migrate questions between SO and SF.

  • This has been suggested and killed many times on mSO. As obvious as it seems, it's apparently very rare for users to have even 200 rep on a site that they can vote to migrate to. This fact alone makes me think that migrations are fundamentally broken. I support this idea, but unfortunately, it's not an option. Shog9 has clearly said that there won't be any other restrictions put in place. Our options are either "on the list" or "off the list". – MDMarra Nov 9 '12 at 17:53
  • @MDMarra - Yeah, just read that in your comment to John's answer after posting mine. I'd vote for removal in that case. – Bryan Nov 9 '12 at 17:54
  • 3
    Just for the record, I've always voted for this suggestion every time it's been proposed on mSO – MDMarra Nov 9 '12 at 17:55
  • I've proposed various ideas as have lots of others from SF and SU. The issue we have to contend with is that M.SO is largely the playground of SO regulars and SO isn't experiencing a problem here. – Rob Moir Nov 10 '12 at 13:38


Instead we need to change SO so that it loses the marketing blurbs when it asks where to migrate, and replaces that with a list of site names and a short (two lines or three of text) description of what questions should and shouldn't go there. Actually with the capabilities of today's browser GUIs, you could hover over a potential migration site and see a much larger overlay with more info about what belongs and what doesn't.

Alternately, don't show a list of sites, instead ask a list of key questions about the topic of the post and automatically choose a site based on which questions are answered YES and which are answered NO. The question material is already there in the various site FAQs.

And the list of migration targets needs to be longer, i.e. there are other sites that should be in the list.

And lastly, the UI needs to make it clear that it is OK to simply vote for migration without specifying a destination.

  • If you can describe what's on topic for SF in just two or three lines I'd really like to see an example. – John Gardeniers Nov 12 '12 at 2:34
  • Not just two or three lines. Right now the display is 5 or 6 sites as possible targets. That same physical space could probably hold a dozen questions. Some of them would be related to things that are on topic for SF, others related to things that clearly point to one of the other related sites. The fact is that moderators have not memorized the FAQ of SF and all the other sites so they need help (in the form of some kind of topic reminder) when sending a question somewhere else. We need something like a botanical taxonomy used to key out species identification or a medical diagnostic tree. – Michael Dillon Nov 12 '12 at 5:45
  • 2
    The migration problems we experience are seldom the result of moderator actions. It's usually caused by regular members who are merely attempting to empty the garbage from their own site and really couldn't give a crap where it ends up. All evidence suggests that they normally don't read anything about the destination site other than its name. You're expecting the migration voters to display a level of care, diligence and even intelligence for which there is absolutely no evidence. – John Gardeniers Nov 12 '12 at 5:55
  • But John, in my suggestion the site names would no longer be offered as an option. Only yes/no questions about content. The migration voters would not be able to send a post to any specific site, only answer questions about the content. Then the backend could be configured (decision table) to migrate to a certain site or not. – Michael Dillon Nov 12 '12 at 18:38
  • @MichaelDillon I gave you a +1 because I desperately wish this would work, but playing 20 questions only works when both sides want it to work, and I think John is right: many of the people doing the migrating would just press whatever it takes to move on, even if it means randomly mashing yes or no. – DerfK Nov 13 '12 at 1:10
  • What if moving on means pushing the "I don't know" button so that the questions are unanswered. If an article gets too many of those it would simply disappear. But if it gets 5 people to venture an opinion about the content then it gets migrated. That way articles only get migrated if the reviewer feels that there is some value in the Q&A. Even today you can vote an item as off topic without specifying any destination but the UI doesn't make that clear. – Michael Dillon Nov 13 '12 at 5:29

If you reduce the scope of the question to the actual questions asked you have the following two questions:

  • Question 1: At what point do we actually consider the option of removing ourselves as a migration target? 50%? 60%? Now?
  • Question 2: How do we feel about this now that we've had a month's worth of attention on it and are beginning to see things a bit more clearly?

Question 1 can be answered. Question 2 is a bit more difficult, because it's a subjective matter.

I'm new here and from my point of view (not being a moderator and/or somehow bothered by this discussion) I have the impression that there is a lot of frustration around, about how the whole migration/closed process works.

Looking at the situation with an ITIL view you have two or three options.

  • If the moderation process is worthy of a change then open an rfc and get it done with.
  • If the moderation process is not worthy of a change (previous rfc REJECTED), then have a look at the organization. Is the organization worthy of a change? open an rfc and find out

In the end you have multiple systems (SF, SO, et.al.) with different moderators and different skills that are allowed to push unwanted questions around. And it seems as if SF is historically the place where unwanted SO question are sent to. (Correct?)

Do you want to keep it that way or not?

In a conflict management course I participated in, the consultant said "If you are having problems with a situation, then bring along a possible solution, because the guys you are going to discuss the matter with don't have the same problem and aren't interested in changing the current situation".

This is highly generalised, but fits into the discussion I'm observing here.

And no, this isn't an answer to the question. Just some general feedback from my experience in the IT branch.

  • It's more than a bother for moderators. If you're over 3,000 reputation, you have the ability to vote to close/migrate questions. There are a lot of 3k+ users on SO, and they're constantly migrating bad stuff. Also, if you're over 10,000 rep, you can see moderator views like migrations, rejected migration rates, low quality questions/answers, etc. Really, the difference between high-rep users and moderators is really only that moderators have a binding vote, whereas it takes multiple high-rep users to close/delete a question (they also have a few other tools like lock that we dont). – MDMarra Nov 19 '12 at 20:24
  • So it's bothersome to most of the high rep users that take it upon themselves to keep the community "clean" and on-topic. We've presented many solutions, but they've all been rejected. Shog9 (who is in charge of community management among other things at Stack Exchange) said that if it's really bad, they'll just remove us from the list. In this sense, we already have a solution available as suggested by a high-ranking employee. The question isn't about how we should handle this as much as it's about "is it time to go nuclear" since removing us from the list would be big. – MDMarra Nov 19 '12 at 20:26
  • Sorry for the two long comments, just wanted to make sure you had a summary of the whole situation, since you're a relatively new user :) – MDMarra Nov 19 '12 at 20:26
  • 3
    For the benefit of those who've only been participating on SF for 4 days, this problem has not had a month's attention. It has had 3 years of attention. – John Gardeniers Nov 19 '12 at 22:55
  • Thanks for the comments @MDMarra and John Gardeniers. Yes, it's been four interesting days so far. I keep wondering where you've been all these years. ;-) So you have a solution and you want a change? What is keeping you from implementing the solution? Is the solution too drastic? Have you had a look at alternatives? (Well you have, but they don't seem to have led anywhere) Why don't you follow up on some of the alternatives and implement some not so drastic meassures? Is it really down to "nuclear or nothing"? – John K. N. Nov 20 '12 at 7:15
  • @hot2use: There have been many solutions to the problem proposed over the years and the people who can implement them (SE) have declined to do so. The distillate really is you're in or you're not. – user9517 Nov 20 '12 at 9:49
  • Erm, did I miss something in there or does this not actually suggest any sort of "Answer" whatsoever to the Question/Problem? – Chris S Nov 20 '12 at 15:08
  • @ChrisS There are multiple answers and they're not. Two solutions are: Get an rfc and get it done with. (ITIL perspective) -OR- Bring up a solution and implement it (conflict management). Yes, you're right my last sentence leads to believe otherwise. Thanks for the down-vote. – John K. N. Nov 20 '12 at 15:16
  • @hot2use Don't mind the down-vote too much, it simply means I disagree with whatever you're trying to say. There's no rep consequences on meta. I still don't see where you actually answer the Question on this page. We're well past the point of "should we talk about it", which is what your "Answer" seems to be proposing (honestly it's hard to tell with all those extra words in there). This has been an ongoing problem for years, we're at the boiling point of "should we just nuke'm?". Unless you're Answering "yes" or "no" with why, you should explain why the premise of the question is moot. – Chris S Nov 20 '12 at 15:23
  • @ChrisS I see it like this: SO is sending to SF. SF doesn't want SO's questions. SF rejects. SO still sends. SF is not amused. SF should do something because SO will not. SF is undecided (possibly because of the consequences of SF starting a ban on SO?). You're all not comfortable with the current situation, but are undecided on how to continue. Am I correct? A lot of the "Answers" here concerning this issue don't seem to be answers, but are IMO statements. (perhaps, then so be it). At work we have the motto "Just do it!" Isn't it that simple if the majority is behind the vote? – John K. N. Nov 20 '12 at 15:48
  • BTW I like discussions and I like kicking trees to see if apples or pears are going to drop from the branches. Leave me a two worder and I will refrain from bringing up further suggestions to this issue. I've learnt the hard way that it sometimes helps to have somebody from outside bring up some new suggestions or thoughts. – John K. N. Nov 20 '12 at 15:52
  • Mostly the situation, though it seems most of SF is ready to nuke the SO->SF migration option (for users). However, we don't have control over it, only the Site Developers. The Devs aren't entirely comfortable with this option and have been dragging their feet looking for a "better" option. Proposed: 1. People who vote to migrate would require a minimum rep on target site 2. If migration rejected, the migrators receive a rep penalty. 3. Require acceptance at target – Chris S Nov 20 '12 at 16:24
  • None of the proposed fixes have been accepted or implemented. Note how far back some of those go. It's rather unfortunate that all of this "discussion" is scattered over dozens of pages with oodles of tangential dialog, but it's the way the site works. I suppose someone could collect it all into a single Question with a few huge answers, but I doubt anyone is willing to put the time into that. See also: meta.stackexchange.com/q/113427 meta.stackexchange.com/q/149087 meta.stackexchange.com/q/152597 meta.stackexchange.com/q/144557 That's just meta posts... – Chris S Nov 20 '12 at 16:27

I'm surely being naive here but please bear me out...

What is the problem with just accepting bad questions? The questions on all SE sites have a quality score don't they? Anyone can up or down a question, not just moderators so your system already has an element of moderation for free, the good stuff should rise to the top and the bad stuff should sink out of view right? Does google not take account of these scores in it's rankings? If they do then people should rarely come across the bad questions in searches anyway (I take it very few people actually go to your site directly and use it's native search?). If they don't then maybe your focus should be on persuading them to!

Also bad questions are not always valueless, even when they're orphaned. Having a passable response to a bad question on your site means that the next poor soul who has the same ill conceived question has a decent chance of finding the answer via google rather than submitting it to you again, annoying the natives and wasting everyone's time.

If the idea is that SF is only for talented/experienced/hardcore sysadmins (which is the impression I get from reading the above) and that steps must be taken to exclude amateurs and other riff-raff who will lower the tone then you all ought to to re-examine your position as part of a low-friction federated network. If people can move freely between SE sites without needing to create a new login they are going to, and they're not going to stop to read the mission statement before posting (just like they rarely did on usenet before all this fancy schmantzy web business!). If that is the case you may as well invoke your nuclear option, it sounds like a split might be what you actually want.

  • 3
    Off-topic questions lead to more off-topic questions as people use the previous ones to justify their own. The same goes for bad questions. To attract experts in a field, you need a very well kept community. With what you're proposing, we should just do away with closing and deleting question altogether. – MDMarra Nov 21 '12 at 14:28
  • 3
    Broken Windows Syndrome – user9517 Nov 21 '12 at 19:46
  • @MDMarra Yep, can't see the point of it. Digital resources are cheap, volunteer time is finite. I've never seen the point closing threads that aren't being heavily spammed. There are some epic threads on other sites that are still useful today even though all the original participants have left and the technology has moved on. Some issues are pertinent for years. At best, preventing people adding and updating those threads creates a pointless fragmentation of knowledge, at worst people don't contribute at all as recreating even a fraction of that context is too much effort to do elsewhere. – Roger Heathcote Nov 21 '12 at 19:57
  • 2
    @technicalbloke y'see when you talk about "threads", that's the problem right there. That sounds like forum terminology, and the stack exchange sites are not forums. They're question and answer sites. Therefore, we're not interested in "epic threads", just good questions and good answers. Good questions are desirable because they encourage good answers and bad questions are discouraged because they produce bad answers. Good questions and answers encourage good people to participate. That's what we want. – Rob Moir Nov 21 '12 at 20:10
  • 2
    I'd just like to add that no-one thinks that SF is for "talented/experienced/hardcore sysadmins". It's for professionals. Work as a sysadmin? Got a question about a system you work with? Come on in! First day on the job or 1000th day on the job, you're still welcome. We care about the quality of people's questions, not the length of their stereotypical unix admin beard. – Rob Moir Nov 21 '12 at 20:20
  • @RobM The thread or question thing is a bit of a false dichotomy - the questions on here aren't so different in form from forum or usenet topics. Just cause a thread is marked as answered doesn't mean the best answer has been submitted yet. Also "bad questions are discouraged because they produce bad answers"? Surely the answer to a bad question should be a polite explanation of why it is a bad question and/or a good faith attempt to decode the confusion and help anyway - neither of those are bad things are they? – Roger Heathcote Nov 22 '12 at 3:58
  • @RobM Anyway, sorry I'm not trying to be antagonistic, I just don't understand why can't you just hide the cruft? You have the ratings. How many people even see those low rated posts? If lots of people would currently see them then shouldn't something be done about that? Slashdot and Youtube hide comments that get a lot of downvotes, if that's not happening here then I think you're missing a trick. – Roger Heathcote Nov 22 '12 at 4:13
  • 1
    Sorry but everything you've said so far clearly indicates that you have absolutely no understanding of how SE sites operate and SF specifically. Rather than spouting a bunch of nonsense perhaps you should sit back and take notice of how the site does operate and learn why this topic is such a problem for us. To save you a little time I'll put it in a nutshell for you: Bad content attracts bad content and we don't want bad content. – John Gardeniers Nov 22 '12 at 10:12
  • 3
    The questions may not be "so different" but the philosophy driving the Stack Exchange family of sites is different to that of a forum, and the philosophy driving Server Fault is slightly different again to many of the other Stack Exchange sites (the whole 'professional' thing). I appreciate you might not agree with that, or not understand why we keep going back to it, but it's still central to the whole point. And while I'd agree that the best answer to a bad question is to improve it (and we could do better at that here), sometimes you also have to accept that a situation is beyond salvage. – Rob Moir Nov 22 '12 at 11:20
  • OK I get where you're coming from - Laisse Faire is off the menu with you guys - point taken. Given that, and as I said in my original post, you need to re-examine your position as part of a low-friction federated network. Without some friction new users and other site mods are always going to send you inappropriate stuff. I can't see it working long term if you're the only "professional" site in an ecosystem of non-professional sites. – Roger Heathcote Nov 22 '12 at 16:48
  • 1
    You may not be able to see it working long term but most of us do. In fact we've already got it to the point where it's working better than ever. Some of us are not likely to let go of this tiger's tail until the beast has been fully domesticated. We have a lot invested in the site and SF is unlike anything else out there. – John Gardeniers Nov 23 '12 at 8:11
  • 2
    What people "need" to do is go with what works. Which, right now, is accepting good content and deleting bad content. – gparent Nov 26 '12 at 0:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .