This "question" (asking for generalized help with a long list of elementary topics) is clearly going to be unwelcome almost anywhere, yet two users voted to close with a suggestion to "see math.stackexchange to ask general questions in mathematics".

I feel like I see equally good examples of the same phenomenon at least a few times a week.

I'm sure there are some times when it's appropriate to suggest that users ask their question on MSE, but by making it so easy to click thoughtlessly on this suggestion, I fear we're doing more harm than good. Should "see math.stackexchange...." be eliminated from the vote-to-close menu?

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    $\begingroup$ Let me reiterate, as a moderator on MSE, that MSE is not the garbage dump of MO. Not everything should go there, or could go there. And to cite the SE directive "Do not migrate crap". $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 21:44
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    $\begingroup$ This is to some extent related: When we close questions and suggest MSE, should we link to their How to Ask?. (BTW I think that the (math-stackexchange) tag might be suitable also here - similarly at in the linked question.) $\endgroup$ Commented May 15, 2019 at 3:00
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Yeah, but with the amount of junk floating there every hour, I feel like the posts mindlessly transferred from MO contribute to the overall pollution there about as much as a cup of coffee spilled into the river next to the sewer pipe. $\endgroup$
    – fedja
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 3:16
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    $\begingroup$ Also, as pointed out in the comment to the linked question, even if the user click "thoughtlessly" on the link, on MSE they will be shown How to Ask Page before asking the first question. (This was result of this discussion. A similar feature doesn't work on MO.) Of course, it's quite plausible that user who posted non-research level question here tend not to read instructions - after all they posted here without checking what this site is for. $\endgroup$ Commented May 15, 2019 at 4:01
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see a need for a hardcoded way to suggest posting a question at Math.SE. Individual suggestions can be made in comments. -- And why not going a step further -- i.e. wouldn't just two close reasons "off-topic" and "no longer relevant" be sufficient -- where "off-topic" closure is only applicable to questions with no or only relatively new answers, and causes existing answers to be deleted immediately and the question to be deleted after some time if it is not reopened, and "no longer relevant" closure keeps everything intact and has no negative implications or connotation whatsoever? $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 9:23
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    $\begingroup$ @StefanKohl sometimes, just sometimes, a closed off-topic question is reopened, and at that point, should the deleted answers be undeleted? Should the authors of those questions be able to see them in the meantime? $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts Mod
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 10:48
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak : My "click thoughtlessly" was meant to refer to the vote-to-closers who choose this reason, not to the users who follow up on it. I will edit to clarify. $\endgroup$ Commented May 15, 2019 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ Is it possible for us to add explanatory text to the list seen by reviewers? Something like "Please do not click this button unless you think that that this question complies with the guidelines for MSE" (with link). $\endgroup$ Commented May 16, 2019 at 8:53
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    $\begingroup$ What about adding more sites in the option "This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network", e.g. scicomp, cstheory, academia? $\endgroup$ Commented May 16, 2019 at 10:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Bullet51 The suggestion to add more outgoing migration paths seems to be orthogonal to what is discussed here. Moreover, there already have been several posts on meta about this. So that I do not digress too much from the topic at hand, I have listed a few such posts in the MathOverflow chatroom, $\endgroup$ Commented May 16, 2019 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ The rule I try to follow is (1) If I think the question is a good question, just not appropriate for the site, vote to migrate. (2) If I think the question needs to be rewritten, but would be fine when rewritten, vote "see math.stackexchange.com...". (3) If I doubt the question can ever be rewritten to a good question, vote "this question is not about research-level mathematics...". It seems from considering the comments here that this is still a fairly reasonable policy. For the linked question, it's of type (3), so I would vote with the majority. $\endgroup$
    – Will Sawin
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ Part of the reason for this is the current close messages are giving information by omission, which is probably not obvious to the asker. If I have the power to (vote to) move your question to another website, but instead tell you to ask future questions on that website, it probably means your current question is not good enough for that website. If I could tell you to go to another website, but instead tell you to leave this website, it probably means your current question is even worse than that. $\endgroup$
    – Will Sawin
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ I wonder if the close reasons could be changed slightly to make this more clear (if others use them in a similar way to me). They shouldn't be rude, but the non-migrating ones could be a little more forceful about the need to improve the question than they are now. $\endgroup$
    – Will Sawin
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 22:08
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    $\begingroup$ @NeilStrickland If a question does comply with the guidelines for MSE, shouldn't one click the migrate option instead of that one? Or should migration only be for questions that exceed the expectations of the guidelines of MSE? $\endgroup$
    – Will Sawin
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 22:09
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    $\begingroup$ As regards the OP's question, the main absurdity is that the choice between "This question does not appear to be about research level mathematics within the scope defined in the help center" and "MathOverflow is for mathematicians to ask each other questions about their research. See Math.StackExchange to ask general questions in mathematics." is just senseless. None contradicts the other. Ticks "I'm voting to close because", but "See Math.StackExchange to ask general questions in mathematics" is not a cause for closing, but a message to the OP of the closed question. $\endgroup$
    – YCor
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 11:38


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