Three recent questions are much more suited for Literature SE, https://literature.stackexchange.com/

See the question about Pride and Prejudice Pride and Prejudice, what does: “decline the office, I will take it on myself” mean?, which has an outstanding answer by @Kiloran_speaking, and another P&P question,What does this passage mean from ‘Pride and Prejudice’?, which has a short explanatory comment by anongoodnurse.

Then there is the Dracula question, What does this sentence mean (from 'Dracula')?, which two users voted to send to ELL, which is not the correct place to send it. I understand the English in the Dracula question, but I am not sure what the passage means. This is ideally suited for Literature SE to sink its teeth into.

Should such questions go through the usual VTC/migrate route, or is there is shortcut?


3 Answers 3


Literature.SE has a brief list of what's on topic:

  1. Questions about how to interpret a specific scene, quote, theme, plot point, etc. in a work of literature.

  2. Specific questions about the publishing process, literary conventions, or tropes in literature.

  3. Story and quote identification questions: if you can't remember a story or a quote, we can help you. Please be as detailed as possible when asking these questions.

The first two questions you cite don't obviously fit into those categories: they are simply asking "What does this collection of words mean?" and are therefore on-topic here [subject to our rules about prior research etc.]

The third probably does: that asks "Does he mean that he has made up his mind to become a vampire too if Mina became one, or that he wants to use his love to help Mina ascend to heaven if Mina became a vampire?" That question probably assumes some knowledge of the work, and would appear to fall into category (1) on Lit.SE's list.

It's not clear what you mean by a shortcut. There are no shortcuts. Stack Exchange has a defined route for migration, via the close-vote/flag process. In some instances, another site is explicitly mentioned in the close dialog ("This question belongs on..."); in most cases, it isn't. Beta sites are never offered explicitly. This is because they may never graduate — until that point there is no guarantee that the site will stay available as a migration target. It is also the case that there should be a significant number of migrations to a particular site before it's offered as an explicit option. It's not a moderator customisation, and staff will need evidence that the change is justified.

Community involvement is important in migration, particularly while a target site is still defining its parameters. That said, moderators have been elected to make this sort of decision on behalf of the community [among other things], and can do so unilaterally.

So, if you feel that a question should be migrated, vote to close. Others may well agree with you. If you feel that there is a particularly bad mischaracterisation of a question and it is definitely off-topic on ELU because it requires the specialist knowledge offered by another site, then VTC (with a custom close reason mentioning "...because it belongs on [Literature.se]" and perhaps raise a custom flag as well. Bear in mind that a flag may be declined if a moderator does not feel that a unilateral action is justified; we may well ask the moderators of the suggested target site to see if they will accept the question.

Members with between 15 and 3000 rep can flag to close, which puts the question into a review queue where "real" close votes can be cast. A custom flag for moderator attention can also be raised.

  • 2
    In the case of the Dracula question, three people have voted saying it doesn't belong here. I've asked Lit.SE mods whether it does fit there, and it does. So now it is.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 18, 2017 at 8:19
  • 5
    For the record, questions about "what does this collection of words [in a work of literature] mean" are on topic at Lit.SE - see e.g. this question or this one. I'm not sure how ELU tends to treat this type of question (I notice that the two P&P questions currently have 1 and 2 close votes), but if you don't want 'em, we'll definitely have 'em. Jul 18, 2017 at 9:43
  • 2
    Lit mod here. Happy to have the questions, but please don't migrate old questions, or questions with a lot of votes, etc.
    – user8573
    Jul 18, 2017 at 14:19
  • 1
    @Hamlet Old questions (>60 days) can't be migrated anyway. Jul 18, 2017 at 14:59
  • 2
    Lit user here. Happy to have the questions, but please keep in mind Jeff's golden rule of migrations.
    – Shokhet
    Jul 18, 2017 at 15:32
  • 2
    Exactly so. Bad questions will simply be closed on our criteria. Questions which are about English (whatever the context) don't need to be migrated elsewhere because they are on-topic here. Questions which are reasonable questions but which require specialist knowledge or treatment which may be available on another site -- including ELL -- might be migrated.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 18, 2017 at 15:35
  • Also, to clarify: our main worry is less so the quality of questions (which we can close without much fuss if they're bad) but the quality of answers. Some of the answers here are really good, but there are a few answers that have a lot of upvotes but that don't really fit what we're looking for. And of course, if the answers have a lot of upvotes that they wouldn't get on our site, that's something that's harder to fix. So it would be great if you could run migrating questions with highly upvoted answers by us first. Other than that, thanks for your help!
    – user8573
    Jul 18, 2017 at 18:02
  • The part of your answer about raising a custom flag is what I meant by a shortcut. Obviously, this should not be done often.
    – ab2
    Jul 18, 2017 at 20:20

There has to be a significant number of questions that need migration to a particular site before we include such a site in the usual migration close reasons.

I've not read those linked questions, but there is this 'shortcut'.

Edit to improve it and, if you're sure it's on topic for the target site, custom flag for a moderator's attention and ask for migration.

So there's that.

  • Is this method a shortcut, or is it an end run?
    – user239189
    Jul 18, 2017 at 5:42
  • 1
    @GypsySpellweaver I believe it's a tongue-in-cheek reference to the question.
    – Dog Lover
    Jul 22, 2017 at 3:14

There should not be a shortcut, and it should go through the usual VTC/migrate route. The logic behind the normal route is to prevent what would have happened if a shortcut, to ELL in this case, existed. With the idea of a shortcut in place the Dracula question would have (improperly) been migrated to ELL, and then rejected and returned here. The normal method requires more votes, hence more oversight, which increases the likelihood that only questions that deserve to be migrated are migrated, and that the target site is the best choice for that migration.

  • If adding Literature.SE as a migration target for the flag/VTC options, then 1) I misunderstood the question, and 2) I'd support it completely. I did take it to mean a lower vote count to perform the migration. :(
    – user239189
    Jul 18, 2017 at 6:37

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