Several questions have been migrated to m.se of late, and several others have been put "on hold" as off-topic, and I'm having trouble seeing how the distinction is made between the two courses of action. For example, both https://mathoverflow.net/questions/135342/find-the-eigenvectors and https://mathoverflow.net/questions/135314/equivalent-condition-for-certain-an-equation have been put on hold, where it seems to me that both should just be migrated to m.se. Maybe people who are voting to close as off-topic aren't following the prompts that would lead them to suggest migration?


There is a broad consensus among most active users on MSE that questions should satisfy certain minimum quality standards. See for example this meta thread there. While MSE welcomes questions on all levels of mathematics, there are still standards on how questions there should be asked. They should tell the background of the problem, what the asker has tried themself etc. It is a sad fact that many questions pass on MSE that violate these standards, but I would appreaciate if MO users would not make the situation worse.

When in doubt, only transfer questions which would be good questions on MO if they would be on a more advanced level.

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    $\begingroup$ I am pleasantly surprised to hear that there is such a consensus, since one of the reasons I left MSE was that I felt drowned out by certain people vehemently having a go at those who urged questioners to improve their questions $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Jul 1 '13 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ I must confess, I am suggesting migration for several questions which are (a) not suitable for MSE in their present form (b) might be suitable for MSE once improved in response to feedback from MSE users (c) will never be suitable, in my opinion, for MO, in which case why should I spend time persuading the users to improve the question here? But if this is unhelpful for MSE then I will stop doing this and just flag as "crap" $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Jul 1 '13 at 1:17
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    $\begingroup$ @YemonChoi My personal view is that MSE does not suffer from a lack of homework-like questions. That someone asked them on MO is a further sign that that someone didn't really bother to read what the site is about is unlikely to become a valuable user in either place. $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker Jul 1 '13 at 1:24
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    $\begingroup$ As a fellow math.SE moderator, I would like to add that I concur with the entirety of this answer. $\endgroup$ – Alex Becker Jul 1 '13 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Michael and @AlexBecker for the feedback. I will adjust my reasons for closing accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Jul 1 '13 at 1:55
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    $\begingroup$ I suppose meta.mo is the wrong place to discuss m.se, but I have just about given up trying to get people to improve their questions on m.se. So often, when I try, someone else just steps in to post an answer; recently, a highly-respected m.se member told me in no uncertain terms to back off from asking posters to provide the sources of their questions. Encouraged by Michael and @Alex, I'll keep trying. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jul 1 '13 at 6:10
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    $\begingroup$ @YemonChoi: please note that if one migrates a question to MSE and it gets closed there because the user isn't being clear enough about the question, the question is bounced back to MO. That is to say, migrated questions do not get the same "second chance" one has on the original site. So if you want to help the OP get and answer, and want the question to remain off of MO, the best course of action is to help the OP edit it into a form where it won't be closed immediately (for any reason other than duplicate) when it gets migrated. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 1 '13 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ (The SE team implemented the above in part to precisely prevent communities from dumping "crap" on others' lawns.) $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 1 '13 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ @WillieWong In which 'status' does it get bounced back? (open or on hold?) If the latter nothing much seems lost. In any case I am against the idea to help improve questions here to then migrate them. The improvement-part being often the most annoying part of the process. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 1 '13 at 11:31
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    $\begingroup$ @quid: it bounces back as On Hold. And if the OP then edits, it gets dumped in the reopen-review queue... If you do not care to help the OP improve, then may I suggest that (a) vote to close, and not to migrate and (b) leave a comment saying to the effect that "a clarified version of this question may be more suitable at Math.SE". If you are not going to help the OP edit anyway, then I would prefer the OP gets spared the ping-ponging between the two sites. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 1 '13 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ @WillieWong: Seems reasonable to me. Only, the formulation, 'do not care to help' is sort of unfriendly, IMO. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 1 '13 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ @quid I meant it in the sincerest, neutral way as a statement of fact (since you stated that you find the improvement part often the most annoying). I did not intend it to be in any way accusatory. My apologies if people are offended by that formulation (unfortunately it is a bit too late for me to edit that comment). $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 1 '13 at 11:44
  • $\begingroup$ @WillieWong: thank you for the reply. I should have been more detailed regarding what issue I see. It is not only that it is annoying, in the sense of sometimes being a longish process, involving many comments and edits and thus bumps. But also that it seems inefficient to me in the sense that the user(s) that helped in the process of clarifying/improving then typically have a good grasp what is going on, better than easily inferrable from an 'improved' but typically still not that great question plus a long comment string. Thus in a global sense it seems unreasonable to me [cont.] $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 1 '13 at 11:59
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    $\begingroup$ @quid: you are preaching to the choir here. I understand exactly where you are coming from. I will not advocate a position where it becomes the duty of other users to help edit a question into a reasonable form. (The onus should always be, first and foremost, on the OP.) My point is simply that we shouldn't migrate "bad questions" on the assumption that there is a good question hiding in there that is suitable for some other SE site (not necessary Math.SE, but also physics, chemistry, statistics...) $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 1 '13 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ @WillieWong: yes, but the questions mentioned by Gerry Myerson do not strike me as so bad questions. And, if now two math.SE moderators under these questions still raise various red-flags regarding migration then this entire migration buisness will grind to a halt, IMO, since people are anyway not used to it yet. (Anyway, the one I helped to migrate was received about alright; and another one that got migrated has the mathjax edit in from me; just added not to appear as completely unhelpful person ;-) ) $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 1 '13 at 12:18

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