I recently flagged learn ActionScript or keep the html5 path for mod attention to be moved to programmers.se, as it was relevant for that site. The question was closed by a mod without any other votes. My flag was declined in only about 10 minutes (isn't the point of flagging for Mod a attention for them to make informed decisions, not just blindly accept or decline in a matter of minutes or seconds?).

Even according to the FAQ on programmers.se, it is on topic:

Programmers - Stack Exchange is for expert programmers who are interested in conceptual questions on software development.

This can include topics such as:

    Software engineering
    Developer testing
    Algorithm and data structure concepts
    Design patterns
    Development methodologies
    Quality assurance
    Software licensing
    Freelancing and business concerns

If your question is about programming tools, please ask on Stack Overflow instead.

While subjective questions are allowed, subjective does not mean “anything goes”. Please keep it professional at all times. If this is a question you'd be uncomfortable discussing with your colleagues in a work environment, it's probably not appropriate here, either.

All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. How do we define that? Constructive subjective questions …

    inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.
    tend to have long, not short, answers.
    have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.
    invite sharing experiences over opinions.
    insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.
    are more than just mindless social fun.

The question asked for an answer based on experience and market trends (invited sharing experiences, insisted that it be backed up with fact and it is impartial). It is a question that is on-topic, but might just need a mod over there to add some pointers (better stress the why portion). It also has to do with choosing the best path for freelancing (also mentioned as on-topic).

So why would this be blindly declined and not moved to a site that would be able to provide insight and guidance for the OP?

  • Did you indicate in your flag that it should be moved there? Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:19
  • Yes, that was the sole purpose of my flag.
    – MaQleod
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:19
  • I did not decline the flag, in fact, I don't even remember seeing it, I just saw it in the front page and closed since it was low-quality.
    – studiohack
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:44
  • @studiohack, I don't know who declined it, and finding that out wasn't important, I was just looking for a why.
    – MaQleod
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:46
  • @MaQleod I feel that it is too low-quality to go anywhere, on top of the fact that Programmers.SE wouldn't accept the question anyways
    – studiohack
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:49

3 Answers 3


The first rule of migrations is don't migrate crap. That question almost certainly would have been closed on Programmsers.SE, because of several reasons:

  • It's not very well written (poor grammar, bad spelling, no capitalization, etc.)
  • There's no answer - it's just asking "what's better, HTML5 or Flash"

Because the question would have been closed on Programmers anyhow, it was just closed here and not migrated.

  • I agree it could have used some help, but wouldn't their mods providing the guidance for the question be better than just outright closing it? How will the OP learn if it is closed as Off-topic with no further comments? Their mods would be best suited for explaining further on that site.
    – MaQleod
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:22
  • @MaQleod The mods cannot chase after every question and improve them to fit the site - they have a LOT to handle as is. Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:23
  • 5
    I can tell you from having talked to the Programming.SE mods quite a bit that they would not have wanted to take the extra time to close it themselves, and would have chastised our mods for sending it their way. A comment might have been helpful, but making it another site's problem would not be appropriate.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:23
  • I guess I don't see it as passing the buck, and maybe that is because I am not a mod, but I was under the impression that mods were supposed to do some coaching to help improve questions and answers to improve the quality of the site(s). How does what happened here do that? The question had potential if it were just coached a bit. Maybe it is not solely the mods responsibility, but if a mod closes it outright, I believe it then becomes the mod's responsibility to at least give a pointer or push it in the right direction. Leaving it dead in the water helps no one.
    – MaQleod
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:30
  • 1
    @MaQleod I'm not the one who even handled that flag, I'm just explaining our policy. I can say however that we can't afford to hand-hold every low quality post. That question would not have been suitable for Programmers.SE regardless of how much editing it got - they don't accept "which language should I learn" questions. It is a network-wide policy not to migrate low-quality questions, which this one was.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:41
  • 3
    @MaQleod - I'm a moderator on Programmers and nhinkle is right. We don't accept "What language should I learn?" questions. It even says so in our FAQ
    – ChrisF
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 20:44
  • I love the attitude. The buck stops here.
    – surfasb
    Commented Sep 12, 2011 at 1:29

Read the flag, dismissed the flag.

It wasn't good on the first read, before the close. It still wasn't any good after the flag.

Making a decision between frozen yoghurt and ice cream is not a good question that appeals or applies beyond the scope of one. If someone can't make a simple life decision, pushing them around isn't going to help them.

Migration is a gladhand for the questions that are accidentally posted on the wrong site and have any value to them.

Since we need not float the effluent back and forth between mouths, there was no need to shunt it over.


There are two things you need to bear in mind.

  1. Moderators are volunteers who give their free time to ensure that these sites run smoothly.
  2. There are lot of bad questions posted on the sites.

We don't have the time to leave an essay explaining exactly why a question is closed each time we close it. It can be beneficial to leave a short note - but this often just points to the FAQ to remind people that it's there for a reason.

Super User doesn't have the question volume of Stack Overflow but it's still not short of questions. Turning a few people away is a small price to pay for ensuring that the quality of questions on the site.

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