I experienced multiple changes on the sites behavior. I am suspecting the changes to the last moderator election, but I don't think there must exist also a causal link.

The changes:

  1. There is much more migration. I thank for you all of this, I never understood why is the migration handled as taboo, especially if it could save a question.
  2. Moderators (especially @MichaelHampton and our new @Sven) are like to particip in close/open votes directly.
  3. Closed questions are often nearly instantly deleted. I think, it is bad.

These changes (especially (1)) diverge heavily from the common SE site behavior, what I experienced.

I heavily favor (1), on my opinion a question migration is per definitionem the best way to save an offtopic question, because it is the only non-destructive solution. I can't enough thankful to see, that the mods of the site somehow start to break this common, irrational SE "taboo".

I think, (2) contradicts the principle of the community decision. The problem is, that mods don't have the possibility to vote without using their super-powers. There is a thread on meta SE about that (if you want I could dig out the link), I think until that a workable solution exist, the best were if the mods (with permission) temporarily could have a secondary account for community votes.

I am strongly against (3). The possibility to advice the OP, or simply to see, what is happened, will be lost. I think, if a question is bad or offtopic, the primary solution should be to advice the opener, migrate a question to a better place, and only the last result should be a close/delete.

So, what is behind these changes?

  • This time I only asked a question, I hadn't any negativ intent. Imho, the moderation of the SF is currently the best between the for me known SF sites, and this was also a reason to be as nice, as possible. I really can't understand the downvote.
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:21
  • 1
    Downvotes on Meta mean disagreement.
    – Sven
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:22
  • 1
    @Sven I know, but disagreement with what? Disagreement with a question?
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:24
  • 6
    Maybe disagreement with the idea and sentiment of your question?
    – Sven
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:25
  • 1
    @Sven Maybe disagreement with the statements in my question?
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:26
  • @Sven Well, now I am only curious why you do this. Actually, the downvotes are answers, too, but I think, you could be nicer...
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:33
  • Maybe disagreement with the sentiment and statements? I know that I personally disagree with all your positions on 1, 2 and 3. I also don't think that the new mods are responsible for additional migration activity, because I almost never close-vote for migration, and have put even stopped a few migrations with a mod-close vote (to prevent a question with 3 or 4 migration votes from getting migrated). Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:36
  • @HopelessN00b Personal disagreement can be maybe explained more clearly in an answer as with downvotes. I also write: "I don't have evidence if there is also causal link."
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:38
  • @HopelessN00b About your "personal diosagreement": you think it is not so as I write, or you think, I see these changes well, but they are on your opinion okay?
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:39
  • Hm. There is no answer, but soon 3 downvotes, and critics against the "sentiment of my question". Heyy! This time I tried to be really nice! What had been happened if I don't? :-)
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:41
  • 7
    Both, actually. I may get around to answering, I may not, but there nothing "not nice" about a downvote. It's just a quick way to register an opinion on the content you're voting on. Nothing more, nothing less. But it sure comes in handy when you're too busy to write out you opinion in an answer or comment. Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:44
  • @HopelessN00b It were very clear reason for 1 downs, but not for 5. Actually what I really miss here, is the clear answer, the downvotes I simply don't understand. Really only I experienced the named changes here?
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:45
  • @HopelessN00b And what I don't understand: I didn't even said that all of these changes were bad! I even supported (1), and wish to remain!
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:46
  • @HopelessN00b Actually, I expected an answer like: "(1) is because... (2) is not so, (3) is okay, because...". And then I had got away with peace.
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:48
  • 8
    I am downvoting due to a lack of foundation for your statements. You say that you have seen this, but you show no evidence.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 18:59

4 Answers 4


What changes? We have two more mods that are kind of active (HopelessN00b and me), but that's about all of the changes I see.

To your points:

There is much more migration. I thank for you all of this, I never understood why is the migration handled as taboo, especially if it could save a question.

The best way to deal with a crap question is to get rid of it. Forcing it on another site is unfair to that sites' users and I don't want to migrate crap. Also, I don't have the impression that we migrated more questions than before, but if you like you can dig into the data tools to get some nice statistics.

Moderators (especially @MichaelHampton and our new @Sven) are like to particip in close/open votes directly.

Yes. If I see a question that is clearly off topic, I'll close it. I also close potential topical question that need massive edits and reopen them if I see them in the respective review queue and they are actually improved (which happens far too seldom). I also don't VtC on a large amount of questions because my vote is binding. Your idea of using a second account is completely unrealistic, and there will likely never be a non-binding vote for mods as Atwood decided we don't need this feature, but even if we had it, you would see about the same amount of mod votes from me as now, plus even more non-mod votes.

Also, you have always the option to vote for a reopen. If you do this, the question will be placed in the reopen review queue where enough users will see it to override a mod decision if they deem it necessary.

Closed questions are often nearly instantly deleted. I think, it is bad.

I don't see this. Real bad questions tend to collect three delete votes fast, but we don't want these anyway and this is a small percentage of questions. "Normal" closed questions without answers will be autodeleted by the system after some time, which is also a good thing in my view. Other than that, there is no significant manual deletion going on.

Howerver, I would like to delete much more stuff much earlier to keep our site nice and clean - having a start page with lots of closed and downvoted questions is not very inviting to potential high value users we would like to attract. That wouldn't be an issue if we had filters for what we get to see, but this isn't the case.


I would like to see some supporting evidence for your statements. You are speaking of your impressions, which may or may not conform to the actual data on how questions are treated. It would be better to first determine if there is a change, before trying to figure out the reasons for it.

I also take issue with this sentence:

I think, if a question is bad or offtopic, the primary solution should be to advice the opener, migrate a question to a better place, and only the last result should be a close/delete.

You are of course correct that an off-topic question, which would be on-topic at another site, should be migrated to that site. I have never seen anyone argue against this.

However, this is only applicable if the lack of topicality is the only issue with the question. If the question is a bad one for other reasons, then we'd be passing on something bad to other people to handle. This is not neigbourly; we object when e.g. StackOverflow do it to us, and we should treat other sites the way we want to be treated.

If a question is bad but salvageable, giving advice might be the appropriate thing to do. If it's not salvageable, why should we keep it around? In what way would it increase the value of the site to all its users?

  • Ok. So, you say the changes I mentioned simply didn't happen?
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 19:13
  • 4
    I am saying that I have no way of knowing whether they happened or not.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 19:14
  • 1
    I do not understand that comment at all. I have no idea who you are referring to as mods/powerusers, whom you think is feeling accused. It is true that I don't want clash; in the context of your question, what I want is specific data rather than your personal impression. I have no idea what your wishes are.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 19:37
  • I don't want conflict, I only asked things, with peace, this is because I stop this thread.
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 19:45
  • 2
    @PeterHorvath I would like to add that the elections happened way to recently to really get a good picture on the effects of the new mods. Giving them some time to get accustomed to their new way of interacting with SF, keeping in mind that these are people with additional full-time employment. I think gathering some statistics over the coming months could be useful. However immediately naming and shaming (sort of) two mods right after the holiday period, just 2 months (barely) after the elections? Too much, too soon.
    – Reaces
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 9:12
  • @Reaces Read again: "I stop this thread". Understood? Thanks.
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 10:35
  • @PeterHorvath You cannot unilaterally stop a thread (except by deleting the question). If you ask a question, and other people are interested in it, they will and should contribute their ideas and points of view. That is the whole point of the StackExchange sites - that questions and answers should be useful for more than just the person asking them. I believe that a failure to understand this leads to things such as demanding that bad questions be left open even though they are useful to at most one person.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 10:53
  • @JennyD Well, actually I could continue, but this is probably not what you want, and also not what I want. Now I won't conflict with you, I didn't gave a reason for you to this behavior (my original post wasn't attacking), so I won't communicate in this thread with the exception to mention, that I stepped out.
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 10:54
  • 1
    @PeterHorvath I think this is another language problem. "I stop this thread" reads to me like "I am stopping this whole thread and nobody should write anything more in it" - which is clearly not working. If what you mean is "I will stop writing in this thread", then that is a choice that anyone can make at anytime. I think you should be aware that often when people disagree with you it may simply be because what you wrote does not express what you mean.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 10:59
  • @JennyD You are right, thank you. I stop the communication in this thread, because you are handling this as a conflict, in which I won't take part.
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 11:03
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    @PeterHorvath From my side there is no conflict. I have repeatedly asked for information, which you do not provide. There can be neither conflict nor consensus as long as there is not even a factual basis for discussion.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 11:04
  • @JennyD There was factual basis. You could have simply explain, why are you doing this. I probably didn't agree with all of the changes, but there hadn't been a conflict. And now, back to work, bye. Next time I will be harder (f.e. I will have "facts", and I will accuse based on them - it seems this is the only way in which we can communicate).
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 11:09
  • 3
    @PeterHorvath I shall be very interested in seeing those facts, though I wish you did not see the need to "accuse". Simply showing the data, such as statistics and links to questions, would give other people a basis for response. In this question, all you've given us is your subjective experience - which is insufficient basis for an objective evaluation of the issues. I do not see any reason why this should involve accusations or conflict. Again, I have never said that you are wrong, only that I have no way of knowing if you are right.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 11:13
  • @JennyD No, there was a change in the behavior of the mods, you also know this, I also know this. But you won't admit this, but are handling this question as a false accuse. But there wasn't accusation, there was only a question. And, of course, there isn't any data, how the hell could I have to think I get a such hostile reaction back? If I knew that, I had started this whole thread absolutely other ways! It is so simple.
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 11:16
  • 3
    @PeterHorvath I do not know that there was a change in behaviour. Your subjective experience of the site does not match mine. The front page constantly changes, the questions that catch my eye are not the same as those that catch yours. The only way to know if something has changed is by looking at the data. I am sorry that you see such a request for information as being hostile - if you think that asking for information to clarify the facts means that this is not a "healthy environment", then I do not think that you and I will ever agree on anything regarding this site,.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 11:36
  1. There is much more migration. I thank for you all of this, I never understood why is the migration handled as taboo, especially if it could save a question.

Actually, there isn't. Well, maybe there is. We migrate so few questions, it's hard to tell. Our 90-day average for migrations away is at 6.5 questions/day, which is about where it was last time I checked, so I'm not seeing much that would indicate a significant increase in the migration rate.

Either way, I generally don't migrate questions, for the simple reason that Stack Exchange sites only want good, quality questions. If the person asking the question can't even ask it on a site where it's on-topic, chances are, it's not a good question.

Migration also shifts the effort away from the person asking and onto community members with enough rep and moderators. Before being migrated, a question should be verified as good and topical for the destination site, as well as checked that it's not a duplicate of an existing question on the destination site. All those things are something the person asking the question should be doing before asking the question anywhere, and is more effort than I personally care to put into handling someone else's problem or curiosity.

There are exceptions, of course, for exceptional questions, but my threshold for what's exceptional or even worth the effort is much lower than 6.5 a day, so if anything, I think we migrate too many questions.

  1. Moderators (especially @MichaelHampton and our new @Sven) are like to particip in close/open votes directly.

Yeah, well, a lot of questions don't require 5 opinions to decide if they're on-topic or not, and the vast majority, if not all, of the mod votes in the close and reopen queues are on questions where it's pretty clear-cut whether we want the question or not.

The reopen queue, in particular, is triggered whenever a closed question is edited, and the vast, vast majority of those edits don't come anywhere near close enough to addressing the underlying issues that got the question closed in the first place. So they don't need three people to decide, they only require one person to say that adding pleas halp!!!!!!!!!!!! to a question doesn't make it on topic.

The close queue, likewise, is filled with crap that's easy to decide on, and lately, we have a person or two chasing flag badges by flagging old product-recommendation threads for closure. When the situation is less clear-cut, we let the community decide. At this very moment, I have 22 skipped review queue items, and all except one or two of those are from the close-vote queue.

  1. Closed questions are often nearly instantly deleted. I think, it is bad.

No they're not. I think you're referring to this specific turd, which I deleted for being a turd, when it showed up in the reopen queue because the OP edited what he considered to be a resolution into the question. Even if it had somehow miraculously gotten reopened (which wasn't going to happen), it was horrible, and the OP linked to an essentially identical question he asked less horribly and got answer to, so it would have needed to be deleted for being a turd-y version of an existing, answered question.

There's also a 5 year old community wiki question about funny Easter eggs in tools that I deleted, but other than that, every closed and deleted question so far this week has been a result of the auto-deletion scripts deleting negative scored, closed, unanswered questions after 9 days.

But, even if not, so what? The posters can see their own deleted questions and get feedback that way, and negative scored, closed, unanswered questions get deleted after 9 days anyway, so... well, so what if crappy closed questions get deleted right after they're closed? Wouldn't make a difference to anything even if it was happening, which it isn't.


Honestly, here I share with our community the answer, which I could have consider a fair answer.

  1. First, most of the migrations are initiated by the community, and not a moderator. I can't speak in the name of them, but imho the strongest motivation is to preserve the professional system administrator profile of the site, instead of a change to a clone of unix SE or superuser SE.
  2. Mods take part in the votes, because they can, and this makes the question closing process much faster. So there is no need to wait the 5 close votes.
  3. Closed questions are instantly deleted, because they aren't look really beautiful and we want to attract quality.
  • Well, this answer is very far which I could agree, but at least it is clear. Anyways, it is soon very good if you are at least capable to explain clearly what are you doing and why. Thank you.
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 16:09
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    1. If you were to look at actual migration stats instead of guessing you'd see that we migrate away quite a lot compared to for example SuperUser. And we have done for long since before the election. 3. This just isn't true. While I can't seem to reliably find deleted question stats on data.stackexchange. The ones I can find seem to indicate the vast majority of bad questions not deleted by community votes are deleted by the OP.
    – Reaces
    Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 16:48

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