I've just been reading a bunch of questions on the various sites regarding the moving and closing of questions. The one point that really stands out is that not everyone is happy about how frequently questions get moved to another site, whether they are appropriate to that site or not.

I imagine that when these sites were a bit younger 5 votes to move or close seemed a reasonable number due to the small number of users with sufficient rep to cast those votes. Now that we have a lot more 3K+ members, should the number of votes required for an action be increased?

I'm also wondering if a move should require more votes than a close in order to discourage or reduce the number of inappropriate moves, which are having a detrimental effect on each of the sites.

I'm thinking that something like 8 votes to lose and 10 votes to move might be in order. Opinions?


After reading the responses so far I'm thinking that it might be more appropriate for the number of votes required for an action to be related to the number of users with voting rep. I think that should make the impact of a few trigger happy individuals less significant.

  • I think part of it too is that on SO there are tons of people who can vote a question over to SF/SU. But on SF and SU there are only dozens. I still think a large part of it is that is doesn't take 5 votes, it can take as little as 2 (in a 1-1-1-2 vote). Maybe if we required 3 or 4 Move Votes before it would actually move, regardless of the total number of votes...
    – Chris S
    Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 3:33
  • @Chris, good points. Perhaps instead of 5 votes total it should be 5 clear votes for any single option for the action to occur. Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 3:56
  • 1
    As of 7/29/2010 at 10AM EST we had 98 SF users at 3000+ reputation, which are users who can vote to close or migrate a question.
    – Warner
    Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 17:09
  • 1
    @warner Good data! I know when I crossed 3K for the first time I never voted to close questions. Didn't want to presume. Now though... that inhibition was worn off ;)
    – sysadmin1138 Mod
    Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 17:36

5 Answers 5


I've been thinking similar thoughts. I've mentioned before that Kara's idea of a kind of inbound filter would be a good way for the mods/high-rep users to approve or redirect incoming moves before they take effect. That would require non-trivial coding on the back end to accomplish, though. As a shorter term fix, increasing the absolute votes needed to move would be a good thing. No less than 4 votes to move, which could mean some 2-1-4 close-voting on some questions. Or maybe just require a minimum of four votes in a single category to do anything, with a minimum total vote-count of 5 or more.

The trilogy sites themselves are close enough in subject matter that moving is a good idea. How that'll interact with similar SE sites (gaming, computer hardware if it ever makes it) remains to be seen. Thematically similar SE sites probably need some sort of question migration mechanism just to keep things clean.


I don't think you can use straight proportionality to the number of voting-able users. Some users will achieve voting status and then abandon the site. Some users may never exercise their voting powers.

So you need to figure out

  • how many users have voting powers;
  • how many of those users have exercised their voting powers in the past (with a + or - to account for newly-empowered users)
  • how many of those users have been active (in any way) over the last X period

...and make your threshold proportional to that.

Otherwise you'll eventually end up with a threshold is impossible to meet because the number of accounts which are abandoned or just not interested in voting that way overwhelms the proportionality of users who are willing to act.

  • An activity-threshold is a good idea for any proportional system.
    – sysadmin1138 Mod
    Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 19:46

A think this is just one of the growing pains StackExchange is going to face in the future. Migrating questions between sites made some sense when there are were only the original 3, but Webapps, Gadgets, Webmasters, Statistics, and maybe more in the future might be possible migration sites, but how do you keep it under control with so many?

To answer the specific question, I think making migration harder and therefor rarer would be a good idea, but I think it might have to go away altogether in the long run.

I think the other long-term change might be for each site to become more insular. Now that there are individual metas, it might make sense for each site to become more self-sufficient.

  • I believe moves will always be a valid option, so maybe questions should go into a moderator's bin and one of those gets to make the final decision whether to move, close or put it back, perhaps with a reason why. I don't know how many messages we're talking about, so that might place too much work at the feet of the mods. Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 3:59

I'm not particularly compelled by any potential change I've heard suggested yet. The more obstacles created, the less compelling it will be for people to participate in the unpaid (community) moderation.

I'm not sure I've seen such a high volume of negative activity, such as incorrect migrations, that it truly examples the current system being broken. I've already seen an improvement in the short term simply as a result of the discussions we've had on meta.

The "purgatory" idea is not that bad but I'm not confident that it's truly necessary. I'd regret any over engineered solutions for a perceived problem that may not exist.


I've only seen people lamenting that their own site is migrating too many questions. So far, I've not seen any complaints about receiving too many, and Gnoupi said SU wasn't seeing a problem. This may just be a non-issue. Perhaps a meta-reverberation-effect?

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