Similarly to people telling the OP to ask their question on Apple.SE, even if it's on topic here on SU, I think that there's a general problem with comments like the following:

This should be on Server Fault!
Ask on Stack Overflow!
Try apple.stackexchange.com!

These comments do not serve any good purpose for several reasons.

  • They leave the OP confused about where to ask. Was he wrong asking here? Doesn't that even come off as rude?

  • They do not have an actual effect on the state of the question. It's not automatically being moved.

  • They will force the OP (especially in the case of new users) to re-post their question on the other site, therefore cross-posting. If the community decides that the original question is good to stay, we have a cross-site duplicate. Or, even worse, the question is later migrated.


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Another user suggests to ask a question elsewhere, while it already has pending migration votes. The OP doesn't know better and asks the question on Stack Overflow. Now we have to make sure it doesn't get migrated, or kindly ask the OP to delete it.

What, specifically, can we do against this?

  • 4
    Write a blog post about it? ;)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 12:06
  • @IvoFlipse That's a good idea to get something "official" to link to. Ideally it would be written by a diamond moderator.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 17:08
  • slhck, to clarify, this is about genuinely off topic questions only?
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 17:11
  • @DanielBeck Well, IMO, if you drop such a comment, you have to be sure it's really off topic. That's why I'd urge those people to flag too (if they don't have vote privileges), so their flag can be declined and they learn a lesson.
    – slhck
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 17:14
  • Plus, if a question is actually on-topic, we can probably apply what we discussed about the "belongs on Apple.SE" nagging.
    – slhck
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 17:17
  • Well, yes, but I'd answer something more along the lines of "temporary ban" in the other case.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 17:28
  • 2
    Jeff wrote a long time ago: "I'm actually ok with flagging meaningless comments [...] the flagging comment process is basically 100% automated and doesn't require any mod intervention [...] added "noise" as reason for comment flagging. Please use it on egregious non-value add comments that are noise and not signal." @Ivo, is it true moderators are not needed for comment flagging? (And related: “Belongs on” comments on MSO.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jan 8, 2012 at 15:30
  • @Arjan Thanks for the links, good to see there is agreement on MSO for this as well. However, I don't think comment flags are automatically handled — only when multiple users flag one comment, I guess.
    – slhck
    Commented Jan 8, 2012 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


I would suggest that these kinds of comments should always be phrased like the following:

Your question is off-topic here, but on-topic for xyz.SE. However, please do not re-post on the other site, your question will be migrated there automatically.

I voted to migrate your question to xyz.SE. It should be migrated shortly.

This will however need one of the following:

  • A possible migration path for close voters
  • The person writing the comment flagging the question for moderator attention to have it migrated
  • Most importantly: Confidence that the question is really off-topic here and on-topic on the other site.

This means for every actively moderating community member that they should always

  • flag a question where they drop such a comment on, or
  • vote to close appropriately, if and only if they are confident about what they're doing.

Comments without further explanation for the OP should IMO be deleted to avoid confusion. Eventually, a question will find its way to the site it fits best on.

  • What should we do if migration isn't an option?
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 20:46
  • You mean if something is purely off topic? Or if there's no migration path? In the latter case, you can probably flag for moderator attention or tell the OP to flag the question themselves.
    – slhck
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 21:44
  • 1
    I meant if there isn't a migration path.
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 21:45
  • 3
    @AndrejaKo In these cases I vote to close as off topic (no destination site) and flag to request migration to e.g. Apple.SE.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2012 at 9:12
  • See also: How should my flagging change when I gain the ability to vote to close? /cc @dan
    – slhck
    Commented Jan 8, 2012 at 10:08
  • I do exactly what @DanielBeck does regarding migrations that aren't default paths.
    – Shinrai
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 16:21

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