If I see a post that I think belongs on MathStackExchange, what should be my first response?

  • a) Comment to the user
  • b) Down-vote
  • c) Vote to close with suggestion of migration

And how long should I wait for a response before moving to another step?

I am new to voting to close, so my tentative answer is: comment and immediately vote to close, without down-voting. I would use a down-vote to suggest that even on MathStackExchange, the post would deserve a down-vote, but in that case I wouldn't recommend migration. I'd be glad to hear a consensus protocol.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'd say if you think that the question would be on-topic and likely well-received on MathStackExchange, then rather don't downvote, but vote to migrate -- commenting is optional, but usually good if nobody else has commented yet. Downvotes are rather for questions which you think are bad, unclear, not useful, written down in a sloppy way or lack necessary background information. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Jan 24, 2017 at 22:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I will point out that if a question is bad enough (i.e., likely to by close on math.SE; example would be a typical copy-paste of the text of the exercise), then it does no make much sense to choose migration, since the after question is closed on the target site, the migration is rejected. This has been previously discussed here on meta, for example, Migration versus on-hold and Migrating to Math.SE: too many close reasons. $\endgroup$ Jan 24, 2017 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ When posting a comment suggesting to post question on math.SE instead of here, one can use some of existing templates: Comment template for questions more appropriate for MSE, (And, of course, it is possible to add new ones in the same thread.) $\endgroup$ Jan 24, 2017 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ I would think that the suitability of a question for MathStackExchange (or for Facebook or for the Huffington Post) is quite irrelevant. All that matters is its suitability for MathOverflow. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2017 at 22:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Steven, since one of the options given when voting to close is something to the effect of, "this question should go to MathStackexchange", I'd say the suitability of the question for MathStackexchange is quite relevant when considering what action to take on it here. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2017 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson: I've argued in the past that we should not offer this as a reason to close, precisely because we are (for the most part) not qualified to say what belongs on a website we don't frequent. I agree with you that if this is a valid reason to close, then suitability for MSE is relevant. But I deny the premise. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2017 at 23:10
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I believe there is too much concern with closing questions, and this is harmful to our community. So please relax about it. It is neither necessary nor beneficial for you or anyone to become very active about closing questions. I have seen too many interesting questions closed by people who did not understand or appreciate them. The closers erroneously pick up on some subtle cues or flaw, thinking it is no good, but too often they are wrong and end up closing an interesting question. So please relax, and close only questions that you really understand and know for certain are inappropriate. $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2017 at 1:41

1 Answer 1


This is very much dependent on the question and the poster. There are some questions which look like high school homework problems posted by users who are new to the forum. These are usually quickly dispatched, although a leading question in a comment may be a public (dis-)service. There are some questions which look like homework or show a serious lack of understanding, but are posted by a user of some standing and history. A recent one went from a vote score of -3 through some edits to a positive score when the question morphed into something that got a lot of positive consideration from the community. If you want to give the user some slack and some time to improve the question, a guiding comment followed by some patience is a strategy I use. If the question just looks out of place, a comment as to why is appreciated.

I have seen too many questions on this forum closed by those who did not appreciate the contribution such a question gave to the forum. I have left comments asking why and asking for reconsideration. I feel that there are enough active close voters in the community, and not enough explanation. I recommend flagging if it is really important, and otherwise commenting to guide or inform the user about forum standards. I have yet to vote to close a question.

Gerhard "Did Register To Vote, However" Paseman, 2017.01.24.


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