I ask moderators to be very careful when migrating questions to Stack Exchange websites. When in doubt, please close questions as off topic, possibly with a comment suggesting one or a few candidates of websites, and let the asker decide where to ask.

Note that we have been frustrated by the fact that some questions are migrated to cstheory when they should not be. We should not do the same thing to other websites.

Here is a recent example: Is there a program / app / algorithm that can sort items using manual choices and deductive logic?

This question was recently migrated to Stack Overflow, but I cannot see any programming aspect in the question, and I think that it was wrong to migrate it to Stack Overflow.

In fact, this is a question on query complexity. Since it is too basic (the Ω(n log n) lower bound is well-known and sometimes even covered in undergraduate courses) and the asker had posted the same question on math (thanks to Yuval Filmus for the link), I think that it should have been closed as off topic.

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    $\begingroup$ The question does ask for "a program / app / algorithm". $\endgroup$ Mar 27, 2011 at 23:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Dave: So what? Stack Overflow is a Q&A site about programming (that is, writing programs, not using programs). It is not the right place to ask for a help to find a suitable application program for a given task. $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2011 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Dave: It seems that you decided to ignore this. If you cannot admit your own mistake, I am afraid that you will probably repeat the same mistake. (If you ignore this, that is your problem, and I will not bug you about this anymore.) $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2011 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ Your criticisms have been noted and taken on board. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2011 at 11:37
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree with these questions being closed - they are worth asking and do not appear to have a proper forum. Would it be a solution to create a Practical Computer Science forum to migrate them to? $\endgroup$ Apr 1, 2011 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ @reinierpost: Closing or not is not the main point here. With that said, “they do not have a proper forum elsewhere” is a wrong reason not to close a question in general in my opinion. If a question is not appropriate here, it should be closed no matter whether there is a better place to ask it. Moreover, in case of this particular question, math.stackexchange.com is a perfect place to ask it. So I really do not see your point. $\endgroup$ Apr 1, 2011 at 21:06

1 Answer 1


I've been trying NOT to migrate unless blindingly obvious, for the same reason. I'd rather close and have the user repost elsewhere.

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    $\begingroup$ I cannot follow your logic. Did you mean to write “I’ve been trying not to migrate unless blindingly obvious”? $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2011 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ arghhh. yes. that's what I meant. $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2011 at 5:57
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, I follow your logic now. :) $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2011 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, but I think it is OK to migrate if the OP asks us to migrate it after the question gets closed as off-topic and the migration request seems reasonable. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Mar 29, 2011 at 2:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh: That is only ok and not really good. I cannot see the point of migrating a question in response to the asker’s request because the asker could repost it without any moderator intervention. Considering that moderators should act minimally as a general principle, I do not think that it is good to accept the asker’s request for migration. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2011 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ the only reason to migrate on OP request is to carry over any discussion that might be relevant. I'd be fine with that. But if there's no history to carry over, the OP might as well do it themselves $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2011 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi, here is my point: if the OP is already going to post the question on another SE site, then the point the migrated question will be off-topic does not apply and we save the OP the need to copy and repost it, so as I said it seems ok to me to migrate in this situation (when OP requests and we have reasonable confidence that the question will be on-topic on the other site). I also think Math.SE is a reasonable option to add to the not-belongs-here list, we direct user more often to Math.SE than to SO and that can also be helpful in keeping the site research level. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Mar 29, 2011 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ (thought we might want to first check if the Math.SE guys are OK with us adding Math.SE to the list of sites that non mod users can migrate questions.) $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Mar 29, 2011 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ “if the OP is already going to post the question on another SE site, then the point the migrated question will be off-topic does not apply”: That is not true. The difference between migrating by moderators and reposting by the asker is who takes the responsibility. Suppose that you have found someone asking moderators to migrate his/her closed question to math. If you migrate the question, I consider that the primary responsibility is on you even if you did it because it was requested by the asker. If that is fine, there is nothing wrong with your migrating the question. (more) $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2011 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ (cont’d) But honestly, requesting moderators to migrate a question sounds to me like just an attempt to transfer the responsibility to moderators when the asker can take the responsibility by reposting it by him/herself. I do not want moderators to encourage such acts. (Forgot to include @Kaveh in the last comment) $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2011 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi, you have a point there. :) $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Mar 29, 2011 at 19:54

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