I really don't like migrating crappy questions to SO. This is really the only place where its an issue because of the migration path (no, taking away the migration path would mean more suggestions to repost - there are enough of those for the workplace). The past 90 days, we did 206 migrations To SO and 23 of them were rejected. A number of them were embarrassingly bad.

When something is off topic here, on topic there, isn't up to the standards there and would get closed - the close reason being:

Questions asking for code must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved. Include attempted solutions, why they didn't work, and the expected results. See also: Stack Overflow question checklist

I would like to see a new close reason along the lines of:

This question is off topic on Programmers.Stack Exchange. It would best be answered on Stack Overflow, however, the question doesn't meet the minimum requirements for a question on Stack Overflow. Please read the Stack Overflow question checklist to fix up your question for migration.

With this close reason, we might be able to avoid some poor migrations, giving close voters another sanctioned reason (people tend to avoid the custom reason for "this is off topic here, but not up to the standards there.").

That said, the reasons not to are:

  1. We shouldn't be guessing as to someone else's close reasons after a migration
  2. A rejected migration about two a week isn't that big of a deal
  3. This would be used for about two closes every week which isn't enough to persuade the powers that be to give us another close reason (and if we had one, there are likely better close reasons than this)
  • If something belongs on SO but doesn't meet the standards, should I flag with the "other" field instead? I flagged 2 questions yesterday that I would flag for closure on SO, but they clearly belong there. I couldn't salvage them through editing as I can't make up the code they're having problems with :)
    – Deco
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 0:56
  • @Deco I believe that the best choice is to flag them with an other and explain that it is off topic on P.SE and has a content problem that would prevent it from being a good question on SO. I've used a variation of the SO close reason here as a custom reason, myself to try to give an alternative to a migration vote for something that would get rejected.
    – user40980
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 2:44
  • programmers.stackexchange.com/q/207545/42031 is an example. I've left a comment hoping the question author includes some more information before I flag it. Should I flag it now anyway?
    – Deco
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 3:16
  • @Deco as of this writing, that particular question has a number of close votes and has a plethora of comments that are starting to get into... yea. I'm not sure if it will get migrated (I can't delve into the off topic close vote totals once I've cast one (unclear)). For that question, I'd wait to see what happens with the existing close votes. It would indeed have been a prime choice for a "for SO, but not enough" off topic if it was there.
    – user40980
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 3:26
  • How about a /dev/null migration target in addition to MP.SE and SO?
    – user53019
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


I think having a "Stack Overflow question" off-topic reason is a good idea. Here are the off-topic reasons that exist now or have existed, along with the number of votes or flags that chose them since site-specific off-topic reasons were introduced:

  • 776
    [CURRENTLY ACTIVE] Questions asking us to recommend a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Programmers as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.

  • 578
    This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network

  • 454
    Other (add a comment explaining what is wrong)

  • 397
    [CURRENTLY ACTIVE] Questions seeking career or education advice are off topic on Programmers. They are only meaningful to the asker and do not generate lasting value for the broader programming community. Furthermore, in most cases, any answer is going to be a subjective opinion that may not take into account all the nuances of a (your) particular circumstance.

  • 165
    Questions about specific programming problems encountered while writing code are off-topic, but can be asked on Stack Overflow.

  • 152
    [CURRENTLY ACTIVE] Questions about what language, technology, or project one should take up next are off topic on Programmers, as they can only attract subjective opinions for answers. There are too many individual factors behind the question to create answers that will have lasting value. You may be able to get help in The Whiteboard, our chat room.

  • 63
    Questions seeking career advice or help with office politics are off-topic here unless they're specific to the programming profession. If people in other professions face similar problems, ask about it on The Workplace Stack Exchange.

  • 25
    Questions about the use of general computer hardware or software are off-topic, but can be asked on Super User.

Something that should jump out at you right away is the relative usage of the "specific programming problems" reason compared to "what language should I take up next" - even though the latter has now been active for about twice as long (4 weeks) as the former. Here's a crowded graph to curse at:

OT reason usage by week

Note how the number of "belongs on other site" votes jumped as soon as "programming" was disabled?

I strongly recommend replacing "what language should I learn" with some variation on "you should ask this on SO, after you learn how to ask questions on SO".

  • Can we get that graph in admin/analytics or in the 10K+ tools?
    – yannis
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 2:07
  • 2
    "primarily opinion based" can be used in place of "what language, technology, or project one should take up next", if we decide to replace it with "you should ask this on SO..." I was happy with the original SO close reason, but people were confusing it with a migration vote. So, we should probably be a bit more careful how we phrase it this time. I like Michael's version in the question, but I think I should let the native English speakers decide if the phrasing is clear enough.
    – yannis
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 2:14
  • 3
    Part of the importance of the "what language" custom close vote is to help direct those who have a question into the chat room. This has been successful and we have had a number of new whiteboarders who had a closed question but were able to get an answer in chat. The "primarily opinion based" caned reason lacks this and there would have been a number of people who wouldn't have gotten answers from the extended part of Stack Exchange.
    – user40980
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 2:38
  • 1
    One such recent example was Is c++ a good language to learn as an indie developer? which lead to this conversation and a followup here. I want to point out that is a happy person after getting his question closed - we don't have enough of those.
    – user40980
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 2:42
  • 4
    as far as I can tell, suggested replacement is intended to address issues with 23 rejected SO migrations through last 90 days (mentioned in question). I am having hard time to see how this is more of a problem compared to 152 what-next type questions. Do I miss something?
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 7:41
  • @Michael: that guy has two deleted and one closed question and is q-banned so won't be asking more here. He might've had a good time in chat, but it doesn't seem to have done much for him on the site.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 20:46
  • @gnat: the request here is for a SO close reason. If that's gonna happen, it makes sense to remove the reason that's doing the least good right now.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 20:48
  • you mean, there's no room for additional close reason; that is if anything goes in, then something has to go out, and if we pick that something to go out, then what-next appears like the most reasonable (or, should I say least unreasonable) "victim". Something like that?
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 20:52
  • 2
    Please note the full title includes "(and associated expand the close reason count) request". I'd like to have an easy off topic close to avoid migrating one crap question a week that gets rejected, but there's also 150+ questions in that range that get addressed with a good close reason for them for a common question. Some people have started picking up on the custom close reason, but crap still gets migrated before that custom reason gets entered.
    – user40980
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 21:01
  • 1
    ... Its been almost 6 months since this was tossed in as an idea. There is not an inconsistent usage of standardized custom close reasons (see meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/6251 ) - how often are these close reasons showing up (including in deleted messages - I'd poke Data myself, but I can't pull the deleted info)?
    – user40980
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 20:52

One option for freeing up a custom close reason slot would be to combine "career or education advice" with "what language...". Possible wording is below.

Questions seeking career or education advice (including what language, technology, or project one should take up next) are off topic on Programmers, as they can only attract subjective opinions for answers. There are too many individual factors behind the question to create answers that will have lasting value. You may be able to get help in The Whiteboard, our chat room.

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