So there was this question asked by a new user. And it's undeniably crap. It is a code-dump showing 0 research effort, not even a problem statement. This is the prime example of what a crap question is.

https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/255703/how-to-get-the-average-of-an-array?noredirect=1 :

Screenshot of the crap question...

Now that question is on SO and the situation isn't any better. The question still is crap.

I know what you all are probably thinking right now: "Another mindless rant by a new user". Well you may think that way, and I'm okay with that, but I want you to ask yourselves a simple question:

Has SO become the trash dump of Programmers?

From what happened to that question, this one definitely looks like a yes. And I think that is very sad.

Some users have even realized that this question should not be migrated. Please programmers-users, don't become mindless crap-migrating SO users and think before pressing the migrate button.

Some thinking...

  • 5
    Definitely related: Open letter to students with homework problems
    – Vogel612
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 14:21
  • 13
    Related: "Add a "don't migrate crap" migration 'path' to all sites on Meta Stack Overflow
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 14:26
  • 4
    Related: close reason (and associated expand the close reason count) request on Meta Programmers
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 14:26
  • 3
    Related: An answer to "How can I write a good custom close message?" on Meta Programmers
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 14:27
  • 4
    For this question, unfortunately I was too slow in writing the 'please code this quickly to kill a migration' flag (it was migrated before I was able to complete it). Unfortunately, the 'just send it over the wall and let them deal with it' is an endemic problem across Stack Exchange sites.
    – user40980
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 14:32
  • for the 10k+ people you can see the migration stats (currently 258 with 13% rejected in the last 90 days) Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:04
  • @ratchetfreak worth noting that there is a known issue of migration stats being not consistent between sites - that is, 10Kers and moderators at SO may see different numbers at their side than we see here from our side
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:12
  • @gnat in this case they don't differ too much: 257 with 19% rejected reported on SO Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:18
  • 11
    I must admit that this raised a wry smile from me given the propensity of regular SO users to migrate crap to us when the option was available. That's not to say that I'm happy with crap being migrated (speaking as an SO mod), but you know I'm only human.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:28
  • 2
    While I agree with @gnat below, I have to question this a little bit. Do you really want me (and my stellar 328 SO rep at time of writing) to proxy moderate your site when I couldn't close the same question on SO?
    – Telastyn
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 19:37
  • @Telastyn FWIW if one knows the custom close reasons at SO, this is not really hard (their reasons are definitely simpler than ours... and one about off-site resources is even better spelled:). And with rep over 15 one can flag to close at SO which works almost as good as VtC, at least in clear cut cases
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 19:40
  • 2
    @Telastyn one doesn't even need to check the flags. Just as We've got our into in the help/on-topic, so does Stack Overflow - they've spelled out all the close reasons there. The one in this specific question is the first listed reason. Anyone doing a migration (or flagging it, or commenting it as such) should be familiar with that page on the target site.
    – user40980
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 0:40
  • 1
    ... and I applaud the SO mods for not including P.SE on that page for other places to look.
    – user40980
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 0:41
  • 2
    A single question isn't statistically significant. This "question" (coughrantcough) doesn't even try to establish a pattern of this happening frequently. (And I use SO way more than Programmers.)
    – jpmc26
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 23:20

3 Answers 3


Has SO become the trash dump of Programmers?

The specific question certainly isn't... stellar, but you are over-reacting. In fact, of the 258 questions we've migrated to SO (in the last 90 days), only 13% have been rejected. Conversely, the numbers aren't as good the other way around. We've rejected 16% of the questions SO has send us (but you don't see us complaining about it, do you? ;).

Next time you spot a shady migration, just vote to close it and move on.

  • 10
    Actually 16% is outrageous, concerning that migrations SO -> Programmers can only be done by ♦mods. I think you have every right to complain ;) What enraged me so much was the fact that the migration happened in the first 5 minutes of the posts lifetime...
    – Vogel612
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:02
  • I would contend that we've migrated some stinkers over there recently. I blame September. I'm sure SO has gotten a bunch more crap from the other sites too.
    – user40980
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:06
  • 2
    @Vogel612 It used to be close to 50% when regular SOpedians could vote to migrate to Programmers (the "toilet bowl" era). 16% is great, by comparison.
    – yannis
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:16
  • 4
    @YannisRizos my personal opinion on this one is that you should never be content with "by comparison" for such cases. Only if it's good, it's good ;)
    – Vogel612
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:21
  • 1
    @Vogel612 - people still flag stuff for moderators to migrate. I get asked about some, but I'm not online 24 hours a day, and sometimes I agree to a borderline question being migrated. The fact that other users sometimes disagree with migration is not really an issue.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:26
  • Or better yet if you wouldnt want it at your site if it was on topic... then do not migrate it to someone elses. Which means for programmers it should be a pretty stellar question to get migrated. Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 15:11
  • @Vogel612 This is why is it that stack exchange enrages so many people. I've had 2 legitimate questions closed and deleted in the last few days. Difference of opinion. No one wants to use these sites because of this. Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 5:03

Close voters at Programmers would better memorize the criteria for debugging questions to be acceptable for Stack Overflow:

Questions seeking debugging help ("why isn't this code working?") must include the desired behavior, a specific problem or error and the shortest code necessary to reproduce it in the question itself. Questions without a clear problem statement are not useful to other readers. See: How to create a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example.

As for the question in question, I for one picked the custom close reason that stated that question isn't appropriate at both sites. It was pretty sad to see how it was migrated against my will and I immediately voted to close the incorrectly migrated question using above reason:

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking debugging help ("why isn't this code working?") must include the desired behavior, a specific problem or error and the shortest code necessary to reproduce it in the question itself. Questions without a clear problem statement are not useful to other readers. See: How to create a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example." – gnat, Stijn, Unihedron, ItachiUchiha, kiheru
  • 2
    main problem is that there's only "SO" to choose from in the "would fit better on another site" category. Adding CR, superuser, and maybe some others to the list might be a good idea. And a close option "very low quality, blatant request for code/homework" might be a good idea as well (right now those get flagged for migration to SO and might well make it there).
    – jwenting
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 12:25
  • @jwenting CR can't be in the list while it's still in beta. As for close option for h/w dumps, I personally prefer dealing with these in a way that doesn't involve spending close votes, as it scales better (imagine 20-30-40 suckers from the whole class dropping their dumps at us in a day - that could simply go over close limits)
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 12:36

I think the migration is right.

The question is, let's be honest, utterly crap.

That said, such "flavour of crap" belongs to SO. Let's see the options the community at Programmers have:

  1. Migrate the question. Have the people in SO close the question according to the rules of their forum. Now, the original poster knows (ok, that's wishful thinking) both where and how post the question that is nagging him/her/it.

  2. Close the question in Programmers as off-topic. The poster knows now that Programmers is not the forum to ask such kind of question. And then, the poster will diligently go to SO and post again the same question (to get it closed again, because it is crap).

  3. Have a Programmers "close option" that explains both that it belongs to SO and also that it is crap by the SO standards. For the poster, who may not be fluent in English, it will sound something like "you should post in SO but you can not post in SO". Quite confusing, IM(ns)HO.

  4. Get some mechanism to deliver a electric discharge that fries the poster PC as retribution for posting that crap.

While I fully endorse #4, I'll discuss also about the others:

#3 seems the most direct approach. It has the disavantages that it only makes sense for issues that happen often and that may be confusing to new users. If it is considered worth having such an option, it should be worded with extreme care

The only practical difference between #1 and #2 is that with #2 the OP will have to post the crap twice before he gets to understand what he should be asking and where. Hardly an improvement, and may discourage newcomers from using the SE forum.

So, I would say #1 is not such a bad option.

  • 5
    You state it yourself... The question is utterly crap. Of course if it weren't it should go to SO, but as already mentioned in comments and countless discussions across the different meta-sites: The golden rule of migration is Don't migrate crap!
    – Vogel612
    Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 21:27
  • 1
    It was migrated (#1), and it was closed because it was crap and some SO users quite properly took us to task for migrating something that we should have known would be closed on SO. Item #3 is a favorite topic of mine. I absolutely think it should be done. #2 is also a topic I have written about. #4 - I await the implementation of ECO, EXOP, EP, EPI, and HCF op codes.
    – user40980
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 2:54
  • Vogel, you really should try to relax yourself. That said, you completely miss the point that just closing the question would have no benefit for anyone as the question would have been reposted "as it was" in SO.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 7:35
  • 2
    @SJuan76 just closing instead of migration would benefit Programmers regulars - because higher rate of rejected migrations puts us at risk of dropping SO from list of standard migration targets. In my experience, both as close voter at 3K and close flagger under 3K, having site as standard migration target is much more convenient compared to using custom flags asking moderators to migrate, when site isn't listed
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 14:43

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