If you can cast close votes, you now have a new privilege!

Up until recently, only moderators could migrate an off-topic question to Stack Overflow or Programmers.SE - if you haven't noticed yet, the close > off-topic > migrate dialog now offers two new migration paths (migrating to CR.Meta was always an option).

This means if you can vote to close, you now can vote to migrate, without moderator intervention!

What are the important things to keep in mind when migrating questions?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are we a target for migration yet?... \$\endgroup\$
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 23:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RubberDuck AFAIK, we're not. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 0:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ In time, can we make this part of the faq? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast Mod
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 9:42

5 Answers 5


The Golden Rule of migration, of course:

Don't Migrate Crap

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Ok, sure, yeah.. but beyond that? (wink-wink 200's migration checklist) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 1:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ What is "crap"? By this, do you mean, "don't migrate posts of poor quality"? \$\endgroup\$
    – SirPython
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 1:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SirPython: Yes, pretty much. This is Jeff's exact wording, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 1:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also don't migrate "this is pretty close to being an ok question" aka crap. If its not a good question, it's crap. Even if it's mostly an ok question. \$\endgroup\$
    – enderland
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 2:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jamal if you want the link, its Why was this question closed as off-topic without being migrated? \$\endgroup\$
    – user22048
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 2:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't upvote this enough \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Raystafarian: It must be said, that exact line. :-) Now if this were adhered to when commenting about a recommended site, then we'd be in better shape. That's entirely why there's this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 19:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have to disagree that that's a good line. It conveys nothing because it doesn't describe what's meant by "crap" and is overly aggressive to the people trying to help. (I already see conflicting answers to the question of "what is crap?" in the comments to this answer.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 19:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user1118321: "Crap" was quoted by the co-founder of SE and generally refers to low-quality questions that cannot be salvaged. One common example is a question with a copy-paste of a homework assignment, asking others for the code for it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this mean questions should be edited to meet the destination site's guidelines before migration, even if such edits cause to meet this site's guidelines even less? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 21:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Unless the target is SO. SO is used to crap ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 13:04

If you come across a question asking for help with a design as opposed to the code, that is technically on-topic at Programmers and may be a candidate for migration there.

Programmers welcomes design review questions, but they have to be reasonably scoped with clear design goals. "Critique my design" will be closed as "too broad" or "unclear" on Programmers. "Here is my design: the end product has to meet criteria X and Y. I tried A and B, but so far the design is not clean enough or maintainable/understandable to other developers" is a better question.

If in doubt, you can always visit The Whiteboard for feedback. We are generally fairly active during USA business hours, and we even have a Stack Overflow moderator who hangs out there too.

Six Questions

While Programmers does not have a strict list of criteria for design review, a good way to gauge whether a question should be migrated would be to replace "code" with "design" in the six questions:

  • Is the design included directly in my question? This could be pseudocode, UML, or a concise and accurate textual description.
  • Am I an owner or maintainer of the design?
  • Is it actual design from a project?
  • Do I want the design to be good? (i.e. not code-golfing, obfuscation, or similar)
  • To the best of my knowledge, does the design work as intended? Did the asker come up with a design that will function, but needs better quality? We also welcome questions where the asker cannot get one part to work, but has made a strong attempt at other portions of the design. Perhaps there is a tradeoff: "I have to do two things, but everything I tried and listed here achieves one or the other but not both."
  • Do I want feedback about any or all facets of the design? Design reviews must be scoped on the narrow side, but one must be willing to entertain a suggestion to loosen a constraint outside the scope of the question if said suggestion is possible and would move the design toward the requirements.

See Also

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Remember that when considering if a design review should go to Programmers.SE, we expect similar levels of information as code reviews here. If it doesn't have that level of information, it may get closed and rejected as either unclear or too broad. \$\endgroup\$
    – user22048
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 14:21

For migrating to Stack Overflow, there are some good guidelines at What topics can I ask about here?. Quoting, specifically:

Stack Overflow is for professional and enthusiast programmers, people who write code because they love it. We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but if your question generally covers…

  • a specific programming problem, or
  • a software algorithm, or
  • software tools commonly used by programmers;

    ... and is
  • a practical, answerable problem that is unique to software development

    … then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

(emphasis on "bit" added)

What does this mean for Code Review members who are considering flagging/submitting for migration to Stack Overflow? Well, perhaps a few things:

  • Big "code dumps" with little or no explanation as to what the specific programming problem is are not good fit to migrate to Stack Overflow;

  • Software algorithms that don't have a clear explanation or definition of how they work (or how they are supposed to work and how they don't currently work as expected) are not good fit to migrate to Stack Overflow;

  • General questions about software tools, practices, design, etc. are not good fit to migrate to Stack Overflow;
    Instead, perhaps consider Programmers.StackExchange, as long as it is on-topic for that site.

Questions that lack "a practical, answerable problem that is unique to software development" are also not good fit to migrate to Stack Overflow.

This includes questions that are very broad in scope and/or where answers would be largely opinion-based, and questions that are extremely narrow in scope where the answer(s) are unlikely to be useful to others besides the original poster.


As always, be courteous, be , and be careful before nominating a question for migration to Stack Overflow to make sure it won't be closed there for being off-topic.

One late but significant note

One additional note (redacted from a comment by Deduplicator):

As an aside, don't consider a lack of reaction [from Stack Overflow regulars] as a sign that you were right [in migrating a post]; Stack Overflow has such a high volume of posts that lots of them may slip through the cracks. And in some cases, while the questions bad, they just might not be bad enough to spend a vote on it, considering the other targets which are also in the big pile of posts to triage/look through in the Stack Overflow review queues.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ As an aside, don't consider a lack of reaction as a sign that you were right, SO has such a high volume lots of posts slip through the cracks. Or while bad, just aren't bad enough to use up a vote on it, considering the other targets. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 23:28

Migration checklist

My migration checklist, applicable to all sites:

  1. Is it off-topic here? (Remember that being a better fit elsewhere is not a reason to migrate.)
  2. If it's off-topic, does it have potential to become on-topic? (A closed question can be reopened, but recalling a migrated question is trickier.)
  3. Is it on-topic there?
  4. Is it not crap (i.e. would you upvote it after migration)? Don't migrate crap; just close it.
  5. Does the question not already exist on the target site? (Check the poster's user profile.)

All of the conditions above need to be met to qualify for migration.

If in doubt, it would be better to simply close the question and leave a referral comment, especially if:

  • There are no existing answers, in which case nothing would be lost by starting afresh.
  • There are existing answers that would not be good answers on the target site. (For example, a Code Review answer that consists solely of style nitpicks would be considered Not an Answer on Stack Overflow.)
  • The OP does not have an account on the target site. (Users who are new to SE tend not to upvote/accept answers if they don't already have an account there, so I prefer to just advise them to repost it on their own initiative.)

Don't migrate questions that are not suitable Stack Overflow questions.

If a question has been formatted to look like a Code Review question, with lots of code, and lots of text, then it is almost certainly not a good Stack Overflow question.

Stack Overflow questions should typically be small, self-contained code examples, or perhaps no code at all, and should have a direct, discrete question, not a general, opinion-seeking question.

In other words, if a person asked an almost-on-topic code review question, then it is likely a really, really bad Stack Overflow question.

Editing a Code Review question to reduce it down to a suitable "good" Stack Overflow question should be considered before voting to close.

In other words, make the question much worse for Code Review in order to make it better for Stack Overflow.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Or in other words, it has to be off-topic on Code Review before we can consider migrating it elsewhere. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 1:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, it has to not just be off-topic, it has to be so far, way out of bounds, light-years away from on-topic that it's almost unimaginable. A question that's got the subject "Here's my code, it does not work, what's wrong", is really, really off topic on Code Review, but it is not off-topic enough yet to be on-topic on Stack Overflow....!!! \$\endgroup\$
    – rolfl
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 1:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Put another way, the other migration target is "meta" - a question has to be so far off-topic on main site before it is on-topic on meta.... right? That same difference, and same certainty, has to be there before it's a migration candidate to Stack Overflow. \$\endgroup\$
    – rolfl
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 1:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or, put yet another way.... consider if Code Review was a migration candidate for Stack Overflow..... how far off-topic on Stack Overflow is a question before it is on-topic on Code Review? \$\endgroup\$
    – rolfl
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 1:46

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