# Are we migrating too readily?

For example, this question: https://cs.stackexchange.com/questions/22864/lambda-calculus-difference-between-contexts-and-evaluation-contexts had two very thorough research-level answers, and was migrated to CS.SE.

• I was invited to migrate this question by the CS mods, and I took them up on it. I agree I might have jumped the gun. Is this question really research level?
– Lev Reyzin Mod
Mar 20 '14 at 16:29
• I think it's pretty similar to cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/1410/… in "research level". It would be surprising for anyone to discuss the question outside of a graduate course. Mar 20 '14 at 16:39
• Also, I might be a little more reluctant about "Theory B" questions, and PL in particular, because we don't have enough of those on cstheory. Mar 20 '14 at 16:40
• Upon further reflection, you are right -- I am sorry for my mistake. Unfortunately, I don't believe my action is reversible. (It would be great if we had a mod from "Theory B".)
– Lev Reyzin Mod
Mar 20 '14 at 16:54
• I don't think it's a big issue for this question. As for Theory B mods, any of these people would be good choices: cstheory.stackexchange.com/help/badges/87/… Mar 20 '14 at 17:01
• @Sam, I don't have an opinion about the question. I just wanted to point two small points: 1. the question you link to as example is from 2010 and beta phase of the site and might not be received as well if it was posted today. 2. I would guess that Gilles was the Computer Science mod who suggested the migration, he is one of the people who have answered the question and he is from theory B. Mar 21 '14 at 7:13
• Yes, @Kaveh is correct about the history. I still think I probably migrated too early.
– Lev Reyzin Mod
Mar 21 '14 at 16:01
• @Suresh, I don't think it has anything to do with "insecurity". Here is the question: do you regularly visit Computer Science? Most of us don't and there is a very good reason why we visit cstheory regularly but visit Computer Science only from time to time. The scope has already extended enough and I for one would be strongly against dropping the fact that the questions on cstheory should be related to research. Mar 22 '14 at 8:04
• I certainly don't visit CS.SE much, that's why I'd like there to be more of the things I'm interested in in cstheory. To do that, we'd need more "Theory B", which I think could be helped by being more forgiving of "research level" in that area. The other improvement I'd like is to see more less-theory research here -- I don't think that PL theory splits that neatly from PL implementation etc in the academic community, for example. But the community has been pretty against the latter in the past. Mar 22 '14 at 21:54
• @Sam, I would also like more theory B questions but not theory B questions which are at the level of standard undergrad textbooks. The scope has been extended a number of times and as I said above I for one would be strongly against extending it so much that the site is not about research. I personally want (And that was the original intention) to have a TCS version of MathOverflow, not a TCS version of Mathematics. Mar 23 '14 at 7:05
• [continued] The scope of cstheory is theoretical computer science but theory here is meant to be interpreted broadly, e.g. being mathematically rigorous, see help center. Computer Science's scope is wider and if one is interested in more general question then the natural thing to do is to start visiting Computer Science in place of duplicating their scope on csthoery. I think many users who know about Computer Science and don't like to visit it would object to extending the scope of csthoery so much that it becomes a duplicate of Computer Science. (I personally visit Computer Science but less often and not during busy periods). Mar 23 '14 at 7:09
• @Sam, I am not talking about any particular questions, I don't consider myself an expert to express opinion (though I think programming language courses now a days do touch on lambda calculus when discussing functional programming), but my point was general. If you feel some question is suitable on cstheory and it gets closed you can ask for its reopening on meta (it is a draw back of migration that it cannot be easily undone). That doesn't need a change in scope, you only have to convince other theory B users that the question is suitable in the current scope Mar 23 '14 at 20:26
• which as far as I understand essentially means it is above the level of typical undergraduate textbook exercise and a good undergraduate who have studied the topic cannot answer the question. Regarding the audience of Computer Science, what would keep the audience of cstheory mainly researchers if we duplicate the scope of Computer Science? Note that several people have expressed strong opinion against judging questions based on who asks them. It may not happen in a month but after sometime the audience of cstheory will also become not "research level". Mar 23 '14 at 20:29
• The other point I am trying to make is that the scope is already permissive of the questions you want. We have extended the scope a number of times, e.g. see vzn's link, it is already quite permissive. You can point people to that discussion if you feel a question fits the scope but is being closed/migrated. Mar 23 '14 at 23:08
• From the perspective of a Computer Science mod: if Theoretical Computer Science drops the "research level" part of their scope, there is no reason to keep the site; it already is a proper subset in scope of Computer Science and all that sets is apart is the advanced level. May 4 '14 at 9:13

I'm partly at fault with this, since I tend to suggest migration for theory B questions about $\lambda$-calculus which I believe to be simple/well-known.

I agree we should strive to be easier on these questions though: there's not much theory B going on at undergraduate levels, and there aren't many high-profile open questions, so there are a number of motivated, and "non-cranky" amateurs (or at least not researchers in those fields) out there, with few resources to learn.

Of course there are some "are these terms $\alpha$-equal?" questions, but for anything above that, I think we should be more tolerant of $\lambda$-calculus and Logic and Computation-style questions.

That said, specific questions about programing in Coq or Agda (or other ITPs) should be off-topic here and at CS.se.

• "...I tend to migrate..." mods migrate. maybe you mean you flag to migrate? even in that case its still their decision.
– vzn
Jun 19 '14 at 15:49
• Yes I meant suggest migration one way or another.
– cody
Jun 19 '14 at 18:29