So over the past few days I noticed a bit of an up-tick in the number of questions being migrated from Stack Overflow that aren't good fits for Programmers.SE or Stack Exchange in general: either they're off-topic, not-constructive, or just not answerable questions.

I decided to do a bit of an analysis on questions migrated here, and here's what I found:

  • Last day: 6/16 migrated questions closed (37.5% fail rate)
  • Last week: 21/66 (31.8% fail rate)
  • Last 30 days: 79/316 (25% fail rate)
  • Previous 30 days: 70/306 (22% fail rate)

So there is a bit of an up-tick, but I'm not sure what to make of it or if there are any conclusions to be drawn from it.

My question is, is a 20% fail rate normal or expected? What about 40%? Is this just a quirk of two popular sites sharing a migration path, or is there something that can be done?


There's a new migration stats page in the 10k+ tools that now show these numbers for the past 90 days: it's a 26% failure rate for Stack Overflow over that time period.

  • 2
    And we're not even counting the ones that should have been closed, but weren't.
    – Aaronaught
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 0:44
  • @Aaronaught That's right: this is just questions that were closed in the normal course of moderation before I went through the list.
    – user8
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 0:46
  • I would want to know what that same data looks like for the past year overall by the month and by the week, much as the analytics data looks like
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 0:47
  • FWIW, this rotten business is over since June 2012, see Update Migration Path List for Non-Moderators at MSO
    – gnat
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 17:51

3 Answers 3


See my answer on Pro Webmasters:


The first rule of migration is don't migrate crap.

In general the migration process is working okay but it is possible to see bad outcomes if, say, 3 of the 5 voters incorrectly decide to migrate a question to a site. That's a majority, and enough to make it happen.

We have some plans to revamp migration a bit to handle this, but it's a few months out.

In the meantime, I'll see what we can do to improve the messaging around "don't migrate stuff that is of obviously low quality anywhere."

edit: one change I can make, and I just did, is that we now require 4/5 of the close votes to be matching migration votes before we migrate anyhere. Prior to this it was 3/5.

  • 1
    "I'll see what we can do to improve..." -- The words "Don't migrate crap" work for me. Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 1:07
  • 3
    @Robert: They work for me too, the problem is that the words don't seem to be reaching the right people. Perhaps a warning during the first N migrations, or below a certain rep level, sort of like the nag screen that comes up for new downvoters?
    – Aaronaught
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 1:08
  • @Aaronaught: There was a relevant badge suggestion posted here Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 1:12
  • 1
    It would be nice if there were some way to more easily inform users that their migration choice sucked. We often get questions on Super User that just don't belong. If the users who voted to migrate were high-rep and should know better, I ping them in the SU Ask a Mod chat room and ask that they be more careful in the future, but maybe mods could mark a migration as "invalid", which would automatically notify the migrating users that they did it wrong. If they get enough invalid migrations, they lose their migration privileges or some such.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 1:39
  • What about -2 points if you voted to migrate a question and that question is closed on the recipient site?
    – Walter
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 2:11
  • @Walter I don't think that's the way to go. Not knowing the nuances of another site should not reflect on their rep on SO. We can educate and prohibit people from migrating if they persist, but I don't think we can/should take away their rep.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 2:25
  • 1
    @Anna Lear If they don't know what is on topic here they should not migrate it here. Taking away rep shouldn't be the first thing to signal them that they are doing it wrong, but combined with other measures such as nhinkle mentions I don't think it would be unreasonable for repeat offenders.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 2:56
  • 3
    @Jeremy I think I'd just rather skip directly to prohibiting them from migrations instead of taking away rep. Reputation has meaning in the context of someone's questions and answers. Nothing else affects it and I don't think anything else should.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 2:58
  • @Aaronaught - that's why I made this suggestion for a modification to the migration-vote system. I know it's a bit of a stretch, since it's not a very simple dev feature.
    – Nicole
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 5:25
  • I'm with @Anna on this - if this is too problematic, just turn off the spigot completely. It's not like Programmers needs the extra attention, and migrating even established, well-loved SO questions seems to cause little but trouble, so... just kill the migration path and make it available to Android or Unix or something.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 10, 2011 at 1:22

To the Stack Overflowians: Please don't migrate questions to Programmers unless you are familiar with the FAQ, know that the question is on-topic for Programmers, and the question is stellar.

By stellar I mean Academy award quality. Ooohh, that better be a good question. If you think the question is uninteresting, it's probably not a good fit for Programmers.

Otherwise, just tell the OP to "Try your luck at Programmers, but read the FAQ first." In short, if you are in doubt, do not migrate. Just close the question.

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Would it be possible to tie the ability to migrate a question to PSE to PSE Rep in some way? As a sign that at least one person voting to migrate the question actually had a sufficient understanding of PSE to make that call?

Say at least one of those voting to migrate has to have sufficient rep to close / reopen questions on here? Just a background check hidden from the user at the time it's closed - it's it's passed it migrates exactly as at present, if not then it just closes as off-topic.

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