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Currently, one of the custom off-topic closing reasons is:

MathOverflow is for mathematicians to ask each other questions about their research. See Math.StackExchange to ask general questions in mathematics.

Moreover, the second Math.StackExchange is a link. I think several times I chose this link instead of the migration link because it looks like this should be the migration link.

So my reason for this "question" is two-fold. One reason is to make this visible in case others close for this reason instead of selecting migration (which involves saying it should be on another site and then choosing MSE).

The other is to ask why one would use this reason to close instead of migration? The not research level off-topic reason should be sufficient to close HW level questions. Non-HW questions are surely welcome at MSE (or else they can reject the migration).

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    $\begingroup$ My guess is that this is for questions that would be suitable for math.SE if cleaned up, but at the time aren't well-formed enough to merit migration. $\endgroup$ – S. Carnahan Feb 20 '14 at 21:03
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IIRC, but I did not pay full attention when this happened (added: here is the relevant proposal and discussion Revamping the closure reasons), the motivation is that the usual off-topic because not research level math was considered as confusing as many might overlook or at least not fully appreciate the research level and be confused why their question that clearly is a math question was deemed off-topic as not math.

So the idea was to use the default one for 'not math' and this one 'for math but not research level.'

Regarding why this is needed in addition to migration:

First, some are against migration out of general considerations and thus would not want to vote for migration.

Second, sometimes a math question is als not suitable for math.SE (e.g. for lack of context or motivation). In this case it is better to close but still signal the other site, perhaps with additional instructions in comments. But even if no instructions are given, it might be better in such a case the question is actually asked on math.SE rather than migrated, among others since then it can be closed, improved, reopened, which is impossible for migrated ones (as upon closure it is 'game over,' except perhaps for moderator intervention).

Thus, I can see why it is in theory useful. Yet, that being said, I am not very convinced of it either, since it adds some complexity for not that much gain and also might have some other issues to it (as highlighted in the question).

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  • $\begingroup$ thanks. I had somehow missed the revamping closure reasons discussion. $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Steinberg Feb 20 '14 at 23:00
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    $\begingroup$ I think somehow that the closing reasons still overlap too much and should be more disjoint. $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Steinberg Feb 20 '14 at 23:35
  • $\begingroup$ You are welcome. I agree that there is a lot of overlap and this can result in some confusion. I hardly vote to close these days, but I always thought the (old) 'rule' of somebody commenting when voting to close worked well (and makes these fixed "reasons" for closing effectively unnecessary; sure we always had them but it was sort of understood that they are vague and the particular selected reason is not so relevant). $\endgroup$ – user9072 Feb 20 '14 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ I also rarely vote to close anymore which is perhaps why I was confused. $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Steinberg Feb 21 '14 at 0:15

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