Please only migrate good, but otherwise wayward questions. Latest exhibit is this question:

Facebook open graph html5 audio

I have a system that share on facebook a flash audio player, but the flash is down and I need to change this to html5 audio, is possible to do this on facebook using opengraph?


How is that a good question? Okay, sure, it seems to be about Facebook, but what is really being asked? Is it a programming question? Is it really about Adobe Flash? Can anybody really make heads-or-tails of this other than the Asker?

In any event, I get that the migration system is not perfect, but Web Apps has many fewer active high-reputation users than Super User, and it means it takes a long time to clean up these messes.

  • 4
    You are correct. My (our) bad. This should not have been migrated. Please VTC or delete and it will be rejected.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 19:49
  • Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It's a good reminder that being on-topic is not the only criteria we need to consider before migrating a question. Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 19:52
  • @David: I've done that, of course, but since there aren't very many active users with enough reputation to VtC, it's going to take a while, unless one of our wayward Moderators lends a hand.
    – ale
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 19:52
  • 1
    @ale I've rejected the migration
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 19:52
  • @Sathya Thanks.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 19:53
  • Well, thanks Sathya. I suppose it wouldn't be such an issue but I often feel like I'm the only one manning the dyke. That's Web Apps' problem, of course, not Super User's.
    – ale
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


Off-topic questions with subject matter appropriate to another site fall into three categories: obviously good, obviously crap, and unknown. It's the unknown ones that are difficult. Let me play devil's advocate with the cited question.

Facebook is on-topic at WebApps. This question appears straightforward: can Opengraph be used on Facebook to change Flash to HTML5? For reviewers unfamiliar with Facebook or Opengraph, that looks like something answerable on WebApps by people familiar with the subject matter.

The guideline I personally use is to VTC obvious crap, but vote to migrate questionable questions. The OP came to the SE for help and it seems appropriate to try to get the question in front of the people in the best position to provide it. They are also in the best position to close it if they know that it is a poor question, but at least we tried to help.

If the OP had done any checking on site coverage, they might have originally posted the question on the other site, themselves, so it still would have ended up there. What difference does the route of arrival make? Shouldn't each site be responsible for what it accepts and rejects? Nobody is actively finding crap and migrating it to be obnoxious to another site. And there is the safeguard that five people (or most of five people), need to agree.

Each site has a pool of relevant expertise, which is why we have different sites. Users who don't frequent another site would not be expected to know the nuances of what fits there, so their judgement won't necessarily be reliable on the migration site's behalf. So to some extent, I need to ask whether it is reasonable for one site to expect the users of another site to serve as their filter on questions that are not obvious crap (and what is obvious is not the same for all users).

Two alternatives:

  • Close all but the obvious high-quality questions and advise the OP to repost on their own, and add a pro forma warning to read the site's guidance first. That would be less welcoming, but it would probably serve as a bit of a filter for lazy posters.
  • Vote to migrate only if you are a regular user of the migration site or have subject knowledge to know whether the question is answerable there. Otherwise, follow the strategy in the first bullet.

Would that be a preferable strategy?

  • 3
    I am always hesitant to suggest a place for a question, because they will take that as "post there" instead of "read the help center and verify your question meets the expectations of this community I believe would accept this question at" which happens all the time to Superuser. So I normally vote to close as out of scope, mention specifically what I feel the problem might be, but just end it there.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 0:04
  • +1 because of the second bullet point at the end. There is no substitute for an informed reviewer who is a regular user on both sites and is willing to follow up on a borderline or disputed question so that it is not migrated to the wrong site or mistakenly closed because it requires editing after it is migrated. It is better for the reviewers to follow up on their own reviews than to burden the moderators with unnecessary janitorial work.
    – karel
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 8:55
  • I would recommend the 2nd bullet, in part, as the standard. If you're active on the other site, know it is a good fit there, and it is a good question, only then vote to migrate. If the question is questionable here, it might not be there, but it might still be unclear anyway. When we migrate we're trying to help the OP, hopefully. How "helpful" will we seem if it is migrated, then closed as unclear? In the 1st bullet, if I'm not a regular user there, I wouldn't even suggest the other site by name in a comment unless it looked like a quality question that would be well received there.
    – Chindraba
    Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 4:23
  • If the OP had done any checking on site coverage, they might have originally posted the question on the other site, themselves... Excellent point. And for me this makes option 2 much too restrictive. Odds are, if a question is clear, it will be on-topic at the target site. Requiring close voters to have intimate knowledge of the target site adds an unnecessary (and difficult to enforce) layer of complexity with a low potential gain. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 11:19
  • I propose option 3: Migrate good questions. We should be able to close (without migrating) most questions that are unclear, primarily opinion-based, or blatantly off-topic on the target site. The questions that get past these filters should be, on average, better quality than the questions getting posted directly to the site by new users. Yes, there will be questions occasionally migrated that are off-topic, but such exceptions IMHO aren't a valid basis for making users at the source site the judge of aspects of the question only able to be evaluated by users of the target site. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 11:30

Typically when people ask if something should be moved, I've typically had a small wishlist of things.

Personally I feel migrations should be a little rare - if a question is off topic here, on topic there and is an exceptional question, there would be no question about moving it (other than why it was asked on the wrong site). I mean, I prefer to use my migration votes to sites I'm familiar with, especially since I became a mod, but sometimes its just obvious.

I admit, this is essentially the gold standard of migrations. In lesser cases though its useful to evaluate the question quality (and this example was terrible). If its unclear what op is asking here at a glance, it would be unclear what the OP was asking once migrated too.

I've always advocated for triage on the site you are migrating from - and in this case we failed to triage it adequately. The question required a fair amount of love before being acceptable even if it was potentially on topic here.

So yeah, we should have done better. This ought to have been closed as unclear what you're asking instead.

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