There have been a number of discussions raised about this. How about some examples, with reasons why they shouldn't have been migrated?

The reason questions you don't like get migrated to Programmers is because people don't always understand what Programmers is about. This shouldn't be surprising, given the history of Programmers.SE.

I am a moderator on Stack Overflow. That means that I have to not only know SO's charter, your charter, and the charter of a handful of other sites like Drupal, Tex and Linux; but also the current gestalt of those websites (i.e. what have people been discussing on meta about on-topic-ness).

Needless to say, there are a lot of moving parts to migrations. So when I get a flag requesting that a question be migrated to programmers (especially on questions that have no close votes or only off-topic close votes), I'm inclined to honor it, if it doesn't seem like an unreasonable request.

To be honest, I would expect about 25% of such migrations to fail. It's not a perfect world. But providing some examples of questions that shouldn't have been migrated, and the reasons why they shouldn't have been migrated, might go a long way towards improving the migration success ratio.

One example per answer, please.

  • To be fair, the data from the two discussions you link indicate that 25% was the failure rate, and Jeff Atwood's guidance seems to indicate this is okay, but they're working on something to improve it.
    – user8
    Aug 4, 2011 at 19:29

2 Answers 2


OK - totally ignoring your one example per answer comment I'm just going to post links from the list of recently migrated in questions. People feel free to take each of these and turn them into an answer for Robert. Presented here so a) those with access to https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/tools/posts/migrated/here don't have to repeat what I've just done and b) those without access but close votes can find them easily.

How do you think about and architect programs?








Dealing with coworkers when developing, need advice




That's 12 out of 49 in the last 10 days, and that's just the first page.

I haven't delved into the questions but from the titles there seem to be a lot of duplicates.

  • About 25%, as I would have expected. Aug 4, 2011 at 15:06
  • 2
    Hmm, the "How do you think about and architect programs" question could have been a good one, if it had been a little more specific (it was moved by a mod). The rest are pretty cut and dry (mostly falling under the "Don't migrate crap" banner), except for the "Dealing with coworkers" one: I actually thought that was a pretty good question (except for the title). Aug 4, 2011 at 15:22
  • There's a fine line between "good" and "total garbage" for questions on Programmers, probably due to the subjective nature of a lot of questions and topics. I think we need to spend more time cleaning up questions to turn these bad ones into good ones. Also, duplicates aren't really a problem - they should be closed and linked or merged as appropriate.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Aug 4, 2011 at 15:37
  • 1
    @Thomas Owens To be a little picky, I'd say it's not a fine line but a large gray area.
    – Nicole
    Aug 4, 2011 at 16:38
  • 3
    I've got to disagree on much of this list. The question was "what questions shouldn't have been migrated?" First, I do agree with (most) of the closes. But, that said, it's completely OK for Stack Overflow to migrate questions here and then they be closed. These questions are largely on-topic for Programmers, but have other problems: not constructive, too localized, even exact duplicates. We should not expect SO mods to know the finer points of closes on P.SE, and we should certainly not expect them to search for duplicates.
    – Nicole
    Aug 4, 2011 at 16:43
  • And to be fair to Chris, since he just posted the list from the tools, I'm just saying that I think most of these migrations are OK - with the exception of Where to buy a Digital Signature at the lowest price possible?, which is really bad.
    – Nicole
    Aug 4, 2011 at 16:55
  • Though some of them where closed as "exact duplicates" and maybe merges with the original question, so I think migrating them was ok, like the "How to convince my colleagues to learn new technologies and programming languages?" Aug 4, 2011 at 17:18
  • 1
    @Renesis the first rule of migration is don't migrate crap. If a question has other problems that would get it closed despite being on-topic, it should not be migrated.
    – user8
    Aug 4, 2011 at 19:22
  • @Mark No need for the patronizing reminders, I think most of us know that. I looked at every single question and none of them (besides this one) were an obvious close, in other words, obvious crap. Especially outside of Programmers. If you think it's so easy, you should be a moderator on Stack Overflow. And if this is really a "big" problem (I don't think it is), then maybe a Programmers moderator does need to approve migrations before they happen.
    – Nicole
    Aug 4, 2011 at 20:31
  • 1
    @Renesis Every site has the same guidelines on what constitutes a bad question: the only difference is topic, and the topic differentiation between Stack Overflow and Programmers is clear, even if users on Stack Overflow choose to ignore it. A bad question on Stack Overflow is a bad question everywhere, and these questions are all obvious crap. The thinking that "well it's not good for here, must be good for Programmers.SE" is the exact thing we want to avoid: Programmers.SE is not Stack Overflow's trashbin.
    – user8
    Aug 4, 2011 at 20:36

A very typical kind of question that get closed most of the time here are the "career advice" type. They are mostly very localized or only of interest to a single person.

Moving between developer jobs - what should I do?

from non-CS background algorithm programmer to lone software developer: what should I learn

Edit: @Robert: exactly. You asked for examples what should not be migrated. That's a typical one that always gets closed anyway. So there is not much sense in migrating.

Though I don't think that you should worry that much about migrating a few questions that get deleted here. I don't know the actual rate, but a lot of questions get closed here every day. One or two more that come from Stack Overflow shouldn't make a difference.


It's actually not the place for career questions at all. (At least as far as I could make out by now). but it's quite difficult. As long as you don't follow the discussions here, you won't have much of a chance to know for sure what's on topic. One of the problems is, that questions in general are slightly more "open" than those on Stack Overflow, where you should ask clear "How can I do X in language Y" questions. I follow both sites regularly and think there is far more confusion about it on Stack Exchange. Though the moderators have clearer views on this.


I just had a look at the list of questions tagged with . Many of them get closed, though definitely not all of them. Closed questions are mostly the "What can I do to get into a certain position" kind where people ask only about their specific situation. More general question like "What can I do to stay up to date with new technologies?" seem to be ok.

  • From the FAQ: "Most career advice questions are specific to the poster's situation and run the risk of being closed. Try to generalize your situation into a good subjective question." Aug 4, 2011 at 17:25
  • So does that mean that people on SO need to know the specific kinds of career questions that are on topic here before they migrate? Or is just knowing that this is the place for career questions enough? Aug 4, 2011 at 17:26

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