Recently the SuperUser FAQ has been updated to be a little more strict on what questions should be asked

Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. If you have a question about …

  • computer hardware
  • computer software

and it is not about …

  • videogames or consoles
  • websites or web services like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress
  • cellphones or mobile devices, except smartphones such as iPhone that interface with your computer
  • electronic devices or media players, except insofar as they interface with your computer

then you're in the right place to ask your question!

However, it would be useful if the StackOverflow users would also follow these guidelines. Thus I would request that questions that do not follow these guidelines should be closed on StackOverflow rather than being migrated to SuperUser and closed there.

This is specifically aimed at website related questions on Google services, Facebook, Twitter or Wordpress. Or iPhone/Android related questions, where they want something done on their phone rather than with their computer.


Or just check this Google search for more examples...

PS: could someone run a check over how many migrated questions were closed on SuperUser?

  • 2
    They're a slow learning bunch: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/26305/those-darn-jockeys
    – random
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 10:21
  • And I'm not as great with Google as I thought...
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 10:27
  • @Ivo - the point is still actual, anyway. Daily indeed we have a bunch of questions migrated on SU, just because it's the default trash can for many SO users. Questions which are not matching to the SU guidelines, but who cares, it's not programming related, nor server, so it has to be for SU! People voting that are not using SU, often, so they don't even know they're wrong, they don't even know the faq from this site.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 10:46
  • I remember even seeing a videogame question migrated to SU by Jeff, a few months ago. So I guess it's not surprising. Even if in my opinion the site has great qualities and is really a great source of information and answers, it is still considered by many for its first purpose: a place to unload all these not programming related questions from SO.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 10:48
  • 3
    (Pssst, spaces! Stack Overflow. Super User. AndSoOn!)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 11:22
  • 3
    Where was this change in policy discussed? I'd love to understand how it was decided to distinguish between web-based applications and desktop applications.
    – John Saunders
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 12:51
  • The same concern was brought up a few months ago about migrating to SU, but from SF instead. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/27748/…
    – Troggy
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 12:53
  • 4
    @John Saunders: i believe somewhere along the line it was decided that we really didn't want SU to become Facebook support. thus, questions about how-to-do-X-on-this-or-that-website are off topic.
    – quack quixote
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 13:08
  • 3
    @~quack - so, if the application is web-based, it should not be on SU? Sounds like an invalid distinction nowadays, between desktop applications and web-based applications.
    – John Saunders
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 13:52
  • @John Saunders: asking how to run some SpaceBook page thru Yahoo Pipes and translating it to French with Google is fine on SU. asking how to set a special background on your MyFace profile isn't. how's that hard to understand?
    – quack quixote
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 21:28
  • 1
    I'll do what I can to close NPR rather than SU (as appropriate, of course)
    – Marc Gravell
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 22:49

3 Answers 3


I gotta agree with John here... Your objective is noble, but doomed.

Background: The pressing need for a SO dumping ground

For its first year of existence, Stack Overflow faced a constant battle between users who wanted a site dedicated to programming questions and users who liked the format and wanted to use the site for... any topic that interested them.

UserVoice, the blog, and Stack Overflow itself were filled with the anguished and often angry cries of users who had been slapped down, told that their questions about harddrives, games, office politics, and favorite peripherals weren't appropriately "programming related".

It got ugly. Really ugly. Much uglier than any discussions surrounding bits of text should ever get. When a group of users becomes so used to being called "fascists" that they actually petition the site for a badge recognizing this dubious distinction, that's too ugly. And as the site grew more and more popular, it just kept getting worse...

Super User: a light at the end of the tunnel

When Super User was announced, there was one criteria for the questions asked there:

If your question has to do with computers, it will be allowed there.

This was a welcome announcement for many. Even those of us who didn't plan on actually using the site, as it signed an end, at long last, to the tiring arguments, close wars, and bad-blood between users who wanted a programming site and users who wanted a "computer things" site. The ability to migrate questions meant that an off-topic question couldn't be easily re-opened on Stack Overflow, but could still be answered - a rare win-win for both camps.

A site about everything is a site about nothing: the ongoing Super User lock-down

Almost immediately, the original definition for Super User was challenged, as users of the new site attempted to come up with more specific criteria for questions. By the time the public beta opened, the definition had already changed to exclude questions relating to video games or consoles.

Still though, the rules for migration were simple: computer-related but not programming-related and not game-related? Move to Super User! And that's pretty much the only rules I and many other SO users bother to remember even now - although I do try to follow some of the discussion here on Meta, I wasn't really aware prior to reading this question that SU now has an entire bullet list of topics that shouldn't be asked!

Conclusion: The fresh paint on your barn wall is not my responsibility

Bad migrations will happen: because we aren't SU users, because we're not continually checking your FAQ for new taboos and because we're sick of fighting with people who just want answers to their computer-related questions. If you don't like it, I don't blame you - but posting a request here isn't going to accomplish much. Remember, SO was programming-specific from the very start, and still gets a never-ending stream of off-topic questions, many of which aren't even computer-related.

So you have your work cut out for you. John's suggestion for a special "migrated questions view" could work... if there were enough engaged 10K users on SU to actually make use of it. As-is, I suspect such questions will continue to be the responsibility of you and your fellow moderators.

Perhaps you could use a tool that would let you reject migrated questions...

  • 1
    Fortunately, they don't have enough traffic to do the same with us!
    – Mehrdad
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 22:53
  • this is the way i see it. i have vague conceptions of what's better suited to SF or SO than SU, and vote to migrate as seems best appropriate. if it's a duplicate of a question already on one of those sites, it's the site's responsiblity to make that determination and close the migrated question. i honestly don't expect SO/SF users to be experts on what SU allows if it doesn't belong there, and seems more appropriate to SU, send it to us. we can close it or migrate to SF if necessary.
    – quack quixote
    Commented Feb 13, 2010 at 5:52
  • The more I hear people attempt to reason this out, including expounding upon the origins of the concept, the more I become convinced that migration of any kind from one SE site to another is a terrible idea. I already don't trust the SO crowd to close things properly (without pile-on and other knee-jerk stupidity), so I sure don't trust them to migrate anything properly. Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 1:23

Ironic that this post which is about inappropriately migrating questions from SO to SU, and was originally posted on meta-SO (and in my opinion belongs there), was itself inappropriately migrated from MSO to MSU.

After all, it is obvious that the purpose of the post was to inform SO users of the policy on SU relating to off-topic questions. Migrating this post to MSU where it is not seen by SO users is not helpful.

SU users who see the post here on MSU:

  1. Already know the policy here on SU
  2. Are not responsible for inappropriately migrating questions from SO to SU
  3. Are not able to migrate from SO to SU
  4. Are not in a position to affect migration policy on SO

Plus the attitude of some posts from some SO users is troubling... when they advocate that if they have a question posted on SO that is off-topic on SO, that they are justified in migrating it to SU (or any other site), regardless of whether it is also off-topic there, simply to get rid of the question.

It's like oh, we'll just dump our garbage in your back-yard and then it'll be your responsibility to figure out how you'll dispose of it... and btw, don't complain about it or tell us we shouldn't do it.

  • 3
    Please note that this question and its answers are almost as old as Super User (39 months vs. 45 months), so the opinions expressed here might be a bit outdated.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 10:15
  • +1 for noticing the absurd irony involved here. Even 5 years later, it stands as hysterical as ever. Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 1:32

This is doomed to failure. Why should the majority of the SO community care what rules are made up on SU? They are just not interested in. But they want to help this guy who asked a non-programming question. They know, if they close it on SO he will not get any help. If they migrate it to SU the chance exists that his questions could be answered there.

You can bring up the argument of the junk yard again, but complaining about that will not solve the issue. I could imagine that a special moderator view (including 10k users) for migrated questions would make it easier to close these questions (if they are inappropriate for SU). If this does not already exist, it would be worth thinking about it.

  • 5
    This particular SO user had no idea you'd banned web site questions. How about you stop insulting SO users, and try to communicate this change in policy instead?
    – John Saunders
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 12:49
  • 5
    The SO community should care, else they shouldn't have the ability to transfer a question to us. I understand that by closing a question it won't get answered, but we don't have to answer every question you don't feel like answering.
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 16:11
  • 2
    @Ivo: What they should is totally unimportant. You can make up dreams as much as you want, but that will not change anything. Concentrate on the part you can control.
    – Ladybug Killer
    Commented Jan 25, 2010 at 19:54
  • 1
    @Ivo: I didn't say I don't care - I said I didn't know. Now I know SU should be for "power user" questions. But I think the FAQ should be updated to permit "power user" questions about web applications.
    – John Saunders
    Commented Jan 28, 2010 at 14:58
  • @JohnSaunders - there's a site for that already - "WebApps - Q&A for power users of web applications" (from the flag for migration menu) Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 23:10

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