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We've had a number of people posting coding questions here apparently to avoid one of the following rules on Stack Overflow:

  • Question posting rate limit - you can only post 6 questions per day and 50 questions per month
  • Low quality question bans - having lots of down-voted, closed and deleted questions means your IP is banned from posting questions.
  • Suspensions.

This is not something we should be allowing. If someone can't post on Stack Overflow it must be for a fairly serious reason.

At first glance it's not always obvious that people are doing this and only becomes clear when you notice that their last four questions were migrated or they actually admit it in a post.

I think we have to assume good faith and that in the first instance people are posting code here by accident, but it would help if people could do a little double checking before voting to migrate to Stack Overflow. This can be (in order of simplicity):

  • Check their profile to see if a lot of questions have [migrated] appended.
  • Check their Stack Overflow profile to see if they are suspended.
  • Check their Stack Overflow profile to see if they have posted a lot of questions.
  • Check the list of questions for many low quality ones.

I know that this can take time and the simplest thing to do is vote to migrate, but it would really help the moderators here and on Stack Overflow if we can prevent this abuse of the system.

If you have any doubts about the question, just vote to close as off topic and flag the question for us to look at. We can do more checks and contact the Stack Overflow moderators to double check any suspicions we might have.

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    It would be useful if the migration was simply blocked, because he's not allowed to have any more questions on SO for that month – Ivo Flipse Oct 27 '11 at 12:24
  • @IvoFlipse - interesting idea, not sure how easy that would be from the migration dialog. – ChrisF Oct 27 '11 at 12:41
  • @IvoFlipse That's been proposed but hasn't gone anywhere yet. – Adam Lear Oct 27 '11 at 13:18
  • @Anna Well at least others agree then ;) – Ivo Flipse Oct 27 '11 at 14:20
  • Luckily we have an enthusiastic mod community to close these as quickly as they appear. – user29776 Oct 28 '11 at 13:36
  • related: How many questions do we get from users recently blocked at SO, how many of these are closed / deleted? "approximately 23% of the users asking question on Programmers had hit a block on SO..." – gnat Sep 24 '18 at 6:46
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Just to bring up the extreme here:

When using Software Engineering, I don't want to care about Stack Overflow or how they do things - they are a separate community (that just happens to have a large number of shared users with this site). When wearing my Programmers hat, I just know that a site called Stack Overflow exists, they like questions about implementation details and other hands on development/implementation stuff, and if I see a question like this, I can suggest that it goes there to be answered by the experts in such things.

For some sites, there is insufficient information about what they expect or need from a question to understand first if a question is good and second what needs to be clarified in order to make it a good (or better) question. That's why I tend to vote off-topic and would vote to move even questions lacking detail - the experts could say that in order to answer, they need to know X, Y, and Z about the situation. If the asker chooses not to clarify, then they can deal with it, but at least it's in a place where the asker can get help.

So I'm just wondering if this isn't the whole "users vote to move" being a flawed concept, or perhaps even the whole migration system being a bad idea. It was fine when there were three sites and a Meta, and it was very clear exactly what questions go on what site, but that isn't the case anymore. As a user of a particular SE site, I don't want to be bothered with knowing how other SE sites work. If I use a given site, I know what that community expects (or at least, I should, since I'm a part of that community), but I don't know what that other community over there likes.

Either way, I think this needs to be kicked back to the SE team, with advice to reconsider an "accept this moved question" queue or the removal of user-driven moves entirely (perhaps letting users suggest sites from all Stack Exchange sites to migrate to and diamond mods actually approving the move).

  • This has been discussed on Meta Stack Overflow a few times. I don't have the links to hand, but a search should turn them up. – ChrisF Oct 28 '11 at 12:16
  • @ChrisF It's been discussed, but I the time's that I've read about it, it's always been "status-decline"'d by the team. I'll have to browse to see more recent discussions, but if this is truly a problematic thing as you mentioned in your post, I think it's time to once again bring it up. – Thomas Owens Oct 28 '11 at 12:33
  • I think it's only an issue with some users and particularly where Stack Overflow is a migration target. This is because SO has more stringent tests on question quality and if people fall foul of these they'll do anything to sidestep the problem. The team do read this meta so they'll have seen this. I'll also mention it to the mods of other sites where the community can migrate to SO. – ChrisF Oct 28 '11 at 12:36
  • @ChrisF Do you know how many users are...problematic? After reading the original post, I figured it was an excessively high number. If it's only a handful of users, then perhaps just watching out, flagging appropriately, and blocking them from here as well it might be the best course of action. – Thomas Owens Oct 28 '11 at 12:39
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    There have been two that I noticed in the last two days. This post was meant as a "head's up" for people to be vigilant. If it gets worse then we need to escalate to the team I think. – ChrisF Oct 28 '11 at 12:44
  • @ChrisF Makes sense. Just the way I read your original post made it seem like it was at the "it just got worse" phase. I'll definitly keep my eyes open and do at least a little check before voting to move to SO. – Thomas Owens Oct 28 '11 at 12:53
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I consider any post that begins with "Well I asked this over on Stack Overflow..." to be automatic close fodder. I don't care what the post is about, if it was off topic there but okay here, it should have been migrated, not reposted. I rarely see the Spam reason used. Should that be used for cases like this?

  • I'd go with that. Just use the simple "Off topic" reason. – ChrisF Oct 27 '11 at 18:32
  • I agree, although sometimes people repost here because they don't understand how migration works. We often ask SO mods to migrate the original question here and then do the "close as duplicate & merge" dance. Still, a cross-posted question is a sign that some action needs to happen in most cases. – Adam Lear Oct 27 '11 at 21:43
  • Closed is not deleted as has often been misunderstood. – World Engineer Oct 27 '11 at 22:26
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    @WorldEngineer Sure, but if the question belongs on Programmers it should stay open here even if it was posted to SO and not migrated here. It makes no sense to close a question on the site where it belongs just because it was posted elsewhere first. – Adam Lear Oct 28 '11 at 1:07
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    Either way, though, it's not "spam". Spam's reserved for cases where the "question is effectively an advertisement with no disclosure. It is not useful or relevant, but promotional." (quoting from the flag text). – Adam Lear Oct 28 '11 at 1:08

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