It's unbelievable that Super User is still being used as a dumping ground especially for questions not on-topic on Stack Overflow.

Latest example:

Recommended Spam Best Practices

Are there any recommended admin tools or interfaces for reviewing and moderating spam on a community-driven UGC site?

I don't see what's the point in bringing them over to here and then closing it and have it cleaned by the mods/10k users. Why not just close it as off-topic in Stack Overflow itself ?

To me the question would be " why not having an off topic stack exchange "? –  Cawas Sep 30 '10 at 16:21
Someone beat me to it, I was going to suggest this needed to be on Meta.SO as that's the audience this is really intended for. –  DMA57361 Sep 30 '10 at 17:05
This has already been discussed on MSO way back, what the SO users say is: we don't care! By now, I think times have changed and this needs another review –  Ivo Flipse Oct 1 '10 at 15:01
We need a SE Router to be manned by users that like to sit around assigning tickets all day. –  Alain Jan 12 '11 at 22:01
off topic stack exchange - would be interesting to see how the distribution of topics of questions leads to new sites, i.e. emergent properties of off topic discussions –  mindless.panda Jun 16 '11 at 12:33

5 Answers 5

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It's because the users with close rights on the other sites haven't read the FAQ recently.

Perhaps a link to the target site's FAQ should be included on the close dialog.


To be fair, we changed the close dialog so the default close reason is now simply OFF TOPIC -- when in doubt, 3k rep users are supposed to choose off topic, not randomly pick a site to migrate it to.

Now, even with that change, which I strongly supported and I do believe makes incorrect migrations less likely, there is some possibility for "herd mentality" where the first user just sort of incorrectly picks Super User and all subsequent users mindlessly go along with that..

Still, the description could be clarified and could benefit from having the exact same audience text as in the FAQ, and also what the site is not for. Let me take ServerFault as an example: Your screenshot says "for sys admins and IT pros" while the SF FAQ says "for sys admins and desktop support pros" and they don't allow "Networking outside the professional workplace" and "Running servers at home for personal use". From the screenshot I can't tell either if SU allows Gaming, and 3k rep users won't know our sites well enough to be aware of that... –  Tom Wijsman Feb 13 '11 at 21:47
Or, a more simple although repetitive implementation is to just add ", within the scope defined in their faq" after the belongs to X text. As you see, the off-topic option lists action and reason, but the migration only lists action and the reason behind the action is missing. Not providing a reason and link to the individual FAQs makes it too easy for subsequently users to go along with that... –  Tom Wijsman Feb 13 '11 at 21:56
@tom the links in the picture link to the respective /faq on each site-- try clicking them –  Jeff Atwood Feb 14 '11 at 1:11
So, just like ChrisF (and many others?), I failed to notice that... :-( –  Tom Wijsman Feb 14 '11 at 2:10

This question deals with a basic aspect of human behaviour, in my opinion best described by Douglas Adams.

The question is pretty much answered by ChrisF and heavyd already;

  1. SO users come across a question they don't quite know what to do with
  2. It's not a SO question, but it's not stupid either
  3. It's not about networking or servers
  4. Then it probably belongs on SU.

The bigger the community (or corporation) gets, the easier it gets to pass along a problem rather than deal with it yourself, because you're not in direct contact with the recipients of the problem. And if you have to read a lot of different faq's before you choose whom to pass the problem to, it gets worse.

We like to deal with problems as quickly as possible, and unimportant problems even quicker. So, bottom line, it should somehow be made almost as easy to pass a question that's irrelevant to one stack exchange site correctly on to another as it is to pass it randomly.

Maybe the faq's for the site in question should show up each time a user tries to pass along a question?


Now, don't get me wrong, I get annoyed by this to, but in the end, we cannot expect users who are not regulars on Super User to know exactly which questions fit SU and which are off-topic. Granted, they should have a basic idea, but I can see how a spam related question might get mistaken and sent here, especially since it only takes 5 of the ~3500 3K users on Stack Overflow to send a question our way.

I can foresee this problem growing even larger as the Stack Exchange network continues to grow. It is something that we as 3K+ users will have to keep an eye out for and just close the questions as the come in. There really shouldn't be a distinction between migrated and new questions. If they're off-topic, they need to be closed.

But why allow users SO users who aren't part of SU to vote to migrate questions here? It is clear that they often are not competent to decide if question would be on-topic here or off-topic here. I think it would be smart to allow migrate option if and only if user has X reputation on site to which question should be migrated. X should be a low number, probably under 1000, but high enough to be a proof that user is aware of basics of the other site. –  AndrejaKo Oct 1 '10 at 11:58
They should refrain from migrating if they are in doubt, rather close the question than migrate their crap. –  Ivo Flipse Oct 1 '10 at 15:00

How feasible (if at all) would requiring migrators to have, say 1k rep on the target site be?

I don't think this is a fair criteria. I've voted to migrate quite a few number of questions to Web Apps, Gaming & SO but I don't have 1k+ rep in either of them. –  Sathya Nov 22 '10 at 21:56
@Sathya: 1k rep isn't a fixed number; it could also be 500 rep. –  Hello71 Nov 22 '10 at 23:54
@Sathya, does it need to be fair? Worst case would be that the question would be close as off-topic, and the person who asked the question would need to re-ask on the appropriate site like they should have in the first place. I think a little inconvenience to people who don't take the 10-30 seconds to read the FAQ and ask a question on the right forum is a lesser evil compared to annoying the active contributers to a site. –  Zoredache Dec 8 '10 at 17:54

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