I have asked several questions on serverfault.com, which some users have decided belong better on superuser.com (although I don't think I agree and the demarcation is not clear anyway). Now, these questions were closed as off-topic, which I can accept, I suppose, but:

  • None of them was migrated to superuser.com
  • They have been downvoted, one of them as far as -3, although comments did not suggest they were invalid, offensive, vague or otherwise inappropriate except for being relevant to another site

but what's worst of all:

  • I have now been banned from asking questions due to these questions.

I find this to be a very unfair outcome to what I think is acceptable behavior. How can I get my questions migrated and/or un-downvoted?

Edit More generally, if a question is closed as off-topic, with a migration target, shouldn't it just be migrated? Or allow me to migrate it?

Also, can't something be done to prevent penalizing people for asking questions in the gray area between SU and SF?

PS - Another question of mine got closed as a dupe, although it wasn't really, adding to my low question-evaluation score.

  • 7
    Only one comment suggests the question might be better on Super User. Another mentions that you're asking for product recommendations and another has no comments. What makes you think that any should have been migrated? Secondly, you should probably be asking this on meta.sf... not sure what people here can do to help you with why your questions got closed (specifically).
    – Ben
    Apr 12, 2013 at 20:42
  • @Ben: Thanks, added comments; but I would like to address this issue more generally here.
    – einpoklum
    Apr 12, 2013 at 20:55

3 Answers 3


First, there's really nothing we (SF users or moderators) can do about an automatic question ban. This is an entirely automatic process and is completely opaque, even to us. Cold, heartless algorithms make the decision, and we can't override it - all we can do is say "Wait until the cold, heartless algorithms say you can post again".
Your avenue of appeal is [email protected] (though I'm not 100% sure they can get rid of an automatic ban either they could certainly talk to the folks who can).

Second, people are free to vote on questions however they want. The standard downvote guidance is This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful.
Interpreting this broadly, off-topic questions are "not useful" (they detract from the purpose of the site and lower its overall quality), and many people downvote off-topic questions.
Overly broad questions, or poorly asked ones, often find themselves in the same boat.

In addition questions are automatically downvoted by the system when they are closed for certain reasons (this is to encourage the automatic question deletion algorithm to remove them after a sufficient period of time has elapsed).
If you have a bunch of closed questions sitting at -1 (which you do) it's because a cold, heartless algorithm automatically slapped that downvote on there when the question was closed so that other cold, heartless algorithms would know it's OK to reap the question.

Finally, and please don't take this the wrong way, I took a look at your question history (since there aren't a lot of them) and they frankly don't pass muster when measured against our quality standards (which I will freely admit are higher and enforced a little more rigidly than many other SE sites).

Remember that Server Fault is a site for Information Technology Professionals needing expert answers related to managing computer systems in a professional capacity (right out of the FAQ).
Some of your questions are clearly about a home environment (which is specifically off-topic per the FAQ), and others are product/service recommendations (also specifically called out as off-topic in the FAQ, as well as this network blog post).

You should not be surprised if those sorts of questions get stomped on, nor should you be surprised that we don't dump the product-and-service-recommendation types on our sister sites (particularly SuperUser, which was so plagued by them that it precipitated the declaration that they are not allowed on the network).


I don't have experience on either Server Fault or Super User, but I believe your downvoted questions would be a poor fit for either:

  1. Is there a web-based platform for publishing & editing FAQs? This is a product recommendation question, which is generally not accepted on SF or SU (or SO), and was closed as "Not a real question" (not as Off Topic). Contrary to your statement that the comments didn't indicate anything being wrong, a moderator commented on this fact.
  2. How to choose a daemonized ed2k client. This is also a product recommendation question. There is one comment suggesting that it might be appropriate on Super User, but since product recommendations aren't considered constructive anywhere on the SE network, I'm don't think that comment spoke for everyone.

In other words, I think that your interpretation that your questions were closed and downvoted solely because users thought they would belong better on Super User was incorrect- I think they were downvoted and closed because they weren't appropriate for the SE network in general.

  • Deleted the first one. As for the second one, it's a "how to choose", not "which is best" question, so I don't feel it's about product recommendation. But, you make a valid point I guess.
    – einpoklum
    Apr 12, 2013 at 21:10
  • 6
    Deleting questions won't help the question ban @einpoklum... they're taken into account...
    – Ben
    Apr 12, 2013 at 21:11

Some background: Unless the people voting to close are certain the question would be a good fit for a migration target, they're supposed to pick "off-topic" and not migrate it. The point is to avoid migrating crappy questions to another site. Since ServerFault used to be subjected to tons of crap migrated from SO, I suspect we're more likely than some SE sites to close in preference to migrating.

Now, for your particular questions... You've deleted at least one question, your profile shows 6 questions (3 closed) and 5 answers.

The first thing to keep in mind is that deleted questions and answers still count towards a question ban. Start by reading this Q&A about question or answer bans, then follow the link to the meta.SO question for more details.

As per the meta.SO question, you might also get un-banned if you contribute some more good answers. Since 3 of your 5 answers are to your own questions, you haven't got a lot of votes.

Your best bet if you want to get un-banned is to improve your questions. If you think you can improve your deleted question(s), you can edit them and then flag for moderator attention with a note saying that you've tried to improve it. You may be able to do the same thing for the questions you think belong on SU - edit to improve them, then flag for a moderator, and they might migrate them.

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