The feature request in this post is at the bottom; I will first highlight why I think it should be implemented. Currently, when I go to close-vote a question I see the following pop-up menu:

If I click the second option (as most close-voters usually do in my experience) I am presented with the following menu:

Now, if I feel like the question belongs on math stackexchange in its current format I would typically click the second option above -- I just recently found out that this is the incorrect course of action to get the question migrated in its current format. To achieve that, I should have been clicking the third option above labeled 'This question belongs on another site in the stackexchange network', bringing up the following menu:

enter image description here

From here, if I click the second option and vote to close (and at least two other voters do as well) the question will, upon recieving it's fifth close vote, immediately be migrated to math stackexchange in its current format with all answers and net-positive vote scores intact, and any net-negative vote scores reset to $0$. (also any associated rep gains here will be wiped and transferred over to math stackexchange).

This seems, to me, a very counterintuitive system.

  • Why is there an option to vote that something 'belongs on math stackexchange', which then just closes the question here?
  • Why is this option the easy one to find, while the option that actually migrates the question is hidden behind an additional pop-up menu?

I see two potential options to make things more intuitive:

  1. We change the menu so that the obvious option in the second pop-up menu (that everyone clicks when they want a question migrated) actually migrates the question if it receives $\geq$3 votes, and we eliminate the (after implementing the first suggestion) redundant second option in the third pop-up menu. We should also add language explicitly explaining how the migration process works to this option.

  2. We keep the second option in the second menu as is, and use it to close questions that belong on math stackexchange but need imporvement from the OP before they're suitable and consequently shouldn't be migrated as is. We also move the migration option to the second pop-up menu so it's on equal footing with the close option, however, and we add language explicitly explaining the difference between the two options: one is for questions that are fine on math stackexchange as-is and should be teleported over there instantly, and one is for questions with appropriate content but requiring significant editorializing before they are appropriate for migration.

Those of us feeling particularly generous could even edit the question to make it appropriate, then vote to migrate it. Although there may be concerns about low-quality migrations happening more often, in my experience when people feel a question is also too low-level for math stackexchange they will simply click the first option in the second menu (and alert the OP if they want to be nice), avoiding undesirable question migration.

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    $\begingroup$ This previous question seems related: Migrating to Math.SE: too many close reasons $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 7:49
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    $\begingroup$ Honestly, the difference between the first two MO-specific close-reasons isn't very clear. Maybe they should be merged? $\endgroup$
    – gmvh
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 8:00
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    $\begingroup$ @gmvh I always read the first one as "It's not just that it's not research-level; your question is bad and it would be closed even on math.SE". $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 8:26
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    $\begingroup$ @gmvh Here is another question about difference between those two reason: What's the difference between two off-topic flags? (And maybe also: Redundant ways to close as off-topic/better on MSE.) As far as I can tell, these two close reasons were introduced in 2013, following a request from MO: Revamping the closure reasons. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 10:46
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    $\begingroup$ Martin's link explains why migrations that are not initiated by the OP should be discouraged, so making it easier to migrate based on close votes is perhaps not a good course of action. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 10:46
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    $\begingroup$ My view is that if a question has no answers, it's better for the OP to delete it and post a copy at the appropriate site. It's only when there are some nice answers that deserve to be preserved that the migration tool is called for. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ BTW the tags (math-stackexchange), (migration), (close-reasons) are some of the tags that might possibly fit this question. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ I think option 2 is suggesting to the OP that MSE might be a better fit for the question but leaving it up to the OP. It doesn't actually migrate the question and many people who use MO don't use MSE and so might not feel comfortable doing an actual migration. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ My understanding is that a big problem on many SE sites is people migrating low-quality questions, which the other site then has to deal with. So the difficulty of finding this option may be a feature, not a bug. $\endgroup$
    – Will Sawin
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 20:09
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    $\begingroup$ My reading is somewhat similar to Federico Poloni. I would interpret the three, in reverse order, as "Your question is more appropriate for math.SE than MO, but otherwise good, I think it would be well-received at math.SE, so I am pushing it there.", "Your question is about a topic suitable for math.SE but needs to be rewritten. Please ask a refined version there.", and "I don't think any version of your question would be well-received." But my interpretations may not be universal. $\endgroup$
    – Will Sawin
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ @CarloBeenakker I agree that the points made in that link are relevant, but the issue seems to primarily lie with the 'special status' of migrated questions on the target site as opposed to the overall quality of the questions migrated. The quoted rejection rate is 1% off from the close rate at math stackexchange which is essentially just noise in the data, so the questions we migrate are as likely to be good as the overall questions asked there. THe issue seems to be that migrated ones are 'frozen' to some extent on the target site, and not amenable to usual editing tools. Can we change this? $\endgroup$
    – Alec Rhea
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ @WillSawin My reading is generally in line with what you and Federico are expressing, although it seems like the issues with migration have less to do with question quality overall (at least from MO to MSE) and more to do with the special status of migrated questions. $\endgroup$
    – Alec Rhea
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ @WillSawin these are my readings also. And, given a recent reminder by Asaf about not migrating bad questions to math.SE, I'm loath to suggest the middle option if it's clearly a homework fishing exercise, and will write a comment explaining briefly that the question needs to be changed, as well as saying it's off-topic at MO (the close comes and its reason comes later than any downvote/comment, so it's important to give meaningful feedback over a -1). $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts Mod
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ The above discussion reminded me of this older post: Comment template for questions more appropriate for MSE. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


Just for closure, here is my slanted summary of the discussion in the comments:

It is a feature and not a bug that it takes some digging to actually migrate a question. This is because migration is only appropriate in very specific circumstances, but to the casual MO user (even one with enough rep to vote on closures), this is generally initially unclear -- it makes a lot of intuitive sense that migration should be appropriate much more commonly. In actuality, the circumstances are so rare that it is scarcely worth trying to educate all MO users on the esoteric circumstances appropriate for migration -- we all have more pressing concerns on the site. So it seems appropriate for the actual migration option to remain almost an easter egg which is counterintuitive to find. In fact, I might go so far as to say the circumstances appropriate for migration are so rare that it might even be best to eliminate the option entirely and just flag for the mods when you think it might be appropriate.

There are many clarifications and useful links for more information in the comments; see for example quid's discussion.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree that migration should be something only moderators do. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 5:47

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