I feel like this is something that has to have been covered somewhere on meta before, but I can't find a question dedicated to it. Feel free to nudge me in the direction of one where the topic has come up before.

What is the best criteria for deciding when an off-topic question should be sent to Unix.SE instead of Superuser? I recently flagged this question for migration to Unix.SE. My thought process:

  • This is about Linux software RAID.
  • It includes output from Linux specific RAID commands.
  • It's hard to get more Unix&Linux than this.

The (admittedly minor) issue that I'm facing now is that if this is going to get punted over to SuperUser, along with all of the other questions I've ever flagged for it, the odds are extremely low that any of the ones that I flag in the future ever will. Either I'm missing something (quite possible), or there's too much ambiguity going on here.

Reading back through some of the questions on meta, part of the issue may be that migration to Unix.SE hasn't been an option for quite as long. Maybe the option needs to be moved higher in the list of migration choices (flagging menu) so that it gets more consideration?


2 Answers 2


First off you're right in that the question fails anything in a home setting and is therefore off topic for Sever Fault. Your flag was automagically handled by Community ♦, someone must have voted to close Off Topic and (I think) agreed with you.

The question itself being home use, Linux and media server probably falls into the overlap between U&L and SU, it's topical on both. If I had seen your flag I would have marked it helpful and simply closed the question off topic leaving a comment about it being a better fit for SU or U&L (allowing the OP to choose) where to ask after they had searched the other sites.

  • That's pretty much the vibe I'm getting: anything that could go to Unix.SE could potentially go to SU as well, barring some very narrow cases. (*nix on unusual hardware platforms, like gaming consoles, can only to Unix.SE) In practice, I'm finding that it's statistically narrow that anything flagged for Unix.SE ever gets sent there. This is probably fine as-is, I just opted for a sanity check.
    – Andrew B
    Mar 17, 2013 at 17:46
  • @AndrewB:This is interesting blog.stackoverflow.com/2012/03/…
    – user9517
    Mar 17, 2013 at 18:47
  • @lain The trailing whitespace is causing that to return a 404. Thanks for nudging in me in that direction though.
    – Andrew B
    Mar 17, 2013 at 19:27
  • Unix.SE fits completely within SU in my opinion; with the exception of professional environment questions, which overlap with SF. But otherwise Unix has no unique angle to it. With that basis, anything that is well-written, OT for SF, and completely *nix topically gets migrated to Unix.SE. If it's well-written, OT, and not completely *nix then SU. But that's my simplistic view.
    – Chris S
    Mar 18, 2013 at 3:04

Well, there is a certain overlap between many sites on SE, and this question really fits on both SU and U&L. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

I see another problem: In my opinion, flagging a question for mod attention should only be done if the community can't deal with the problem by itself (either by a vote to close or a vote to migrate), e.g. if it is spam/offensive or belongs to a site not on the migrate list. This has different reasons:

  • It requires unnecessary attention by a mod. We should try to keep this to a minimum.
  • A mod's decision moves/closes a question immediately, without any further voting input from the community. This should be done as seldom as possible (again, IMHO).

I don't know when your flag happened and if this question was migrated before a mod decided about the flag or if he denied it, but I have the feeling that the first vote often leads the way in such ambiguous cases and if you had voted to migrate to U&L as first voter it might very well have ended there.

  • 1
    Users below 3K reputation use flags to bring off-topic, etc., posts to attention. Mar 17, 2013 at 17:36
  • Ah, yes, 250 rep is enough only for your own questions. I overlooked that part... Anyway, I still think it's not a good idea to flag in this case. Get the rep and you can vote, don't bother the mods with this if you don't have enough rep.
    – Sven
    Mar 18, 2013 at 13:29
  • 2
    These flags are also visible to 20K users, who can then vote to close the question or decline the flag. Mar 18, 2013 at 13:32
  • 1
    Don't bother the mods with this if you don't have enough rep goes against the entire design of the system.
    – Andrew B
    Mar 19, 2013 at 13:09
  • 1
    @AndrewB: Well, I think that many aspects of the system are just a load of crap, often creating all the wrong incentives. Really, why on earth would you want to force people to take some completely unnecessary action (act upon your flag) just to increase a completely arbitrary and meaningless number in your account? You are stealing peoples time and no one benefits from it, not even yourself.
    – Sven
    Mar 19, 2013 at 13:26
  • IMHO, they should drop the badge system or at least eliminate badges that lead to people doing useless busywork. But no, instead of eliminating the wrong incentives, they prefer to create badly working systems like the review audit to counter people blindly clicking the review buttons to get some stupid badges.
    – Sven
    Mar 19, 2013 at 13:28
  • NB: This was written as a reply to the original version of your comment.
    – Sven
    Mar 19, 2013 at 13:30
  • As I understood it, the flagging system for <3000 rep was so that people with lower rep could help the people with higher rep keep everything clean without having to do all of the work themselves. Your intentions may be good, but the attitude (outside of some badges encouraging legitimately bad behaviors) has been coming across as somewhat elitist. My flagging has been done with the thought that I was being a helpful part of the system (i.e. quick turnarounds on getting crap removed), but any newbies who come across this convo are going to get an entirely different impression of things.
    – Andrew B
    Mar 19, 2013 at 15:12
  • Side note, this is becoming an extended discussion that somewhat OT for the question originally asked. I think this really merits its own question and a wider audience.
    – Andrew B
    Mar 19, 2013 at 15:17

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