There has been a string of meta questions about ELU migrating low quality questions to ELL. The most recent was this one. This question stems directly from that one.

To help prevent poor questions getting dumped on ELL and others, I suggest that the Migration buttons be removed from the Close tree and placed below the question along with Share, Edit, Close, and Flag .

As things currently stand, ELL Migration is buried four levels down in the Close tree. When an experienced reviewer looks at a question, they most often know, before any clicks, where they are headed. If it's to ELL Migration, then they have to click though the tree, and then the actual migration vote is a 'fire and forget' action. I think the current path/placement is an impediment to segregating bad questions from those that simply belong elsewhere.

There are things I just don't like about it being there. The decision tree is inherently condescending towards our sister sites. And why should someone opting to close a question be shown the migration vote tallies, given the tendency to just pile on?

And apparently, there are some dubious scoring rules as well. Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but if the fifth vote is to Close for lack of research, they could inadvertently cause the question to get Migrated. Wouldn't it make more sense for close votes to inhibit migration?

Question 1: Does the current location of the Migrate button contribute to the poor record of migrating low quality posts to ELL. Does it condition reviewers to migrate poor questions? Does it make it too easy to migrate poor questions? Does having both the migration and close vote tallies presented together muddy what should be a pretty clear distinction between 'bad' and 'wrong place'?

Question 2: If the current location of the Migration buttons is part of the problem, where should they go?

  • 4
    Of 2663 questions migrated from EL&U to ELL, 109 were rejected. That's 4%, which does not seem excessive. The problem is that 16 of those— almost 1 out of 6— have been in the last month, giving the impression of an epidemic. My hypothesis is that this holiday season found more-experienced users (who are concentrated in Western countries) less active here, so questions were not closed for "better" reasons. – choster Jan 9 at 3:29
  • @choster Does 'rejected' mean they were closed after they got there? Or is there inbound vetting process? – Phil Sweet Jan 9 at 3:41
  • Yes; if a migrated question is closed on the destination site, the migration is rejected; see e.g. ell.stackexchange.com/questions/150302 english.stackexchange.com/posts/422214/revisions – choster Jan 9 at 3:46
  • @choster This bit helps my case, though, doesn't it? 'My hypothesis is that this holiday season found more-experienced users (who are concentrated in Western countries) less active here, so questions were not closed for "better" reasons.' Would you consider summarizing your stats and editing my Q? – Phil Sweet Jan 9 at 3:52
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    I wasn't taking a position on the proposal, I was just pointing out that some of the recent attention may be attributable to a blip in behavior that may not warrant radical action. – choster Jan 9 at 4:43

The current placement doesn't reflect the basic logic of how we categorize Close actions and Migration. The distinction between a deficient question and one that's just not in the best place is pretty basic. As things stand, if you cruise through the Close tree looking for an option that fits your thinking, and don't find any, you dead-end at the Migration buttons. Unlike automated phone menus, there isn't an operator standing by to help you if you drop out the bottom of the tree. Migration as the action of last resort is build in to the current structure, and I don't think that is a good thing.

Another reason that people end up at the Migration buttons is that there is a strong tendency to play follow-the-leader and click on the options that have been voted on previously. Deplorable habit. I'm as guilty as anyone else. It makes no sense to me to expose would-be Close voters to the temptation of piling-on to a Migration vote.

The review vote count evaluation scheme needs an overhaul (and a nickname). Migration needs to stand on its own, vote-wise. If anything, Close votes should act against migration, or prompt the Migrate voter to review the post.

I think promoting the Migration button to the top level would make it easier to manage migration issues.

Possible advantages -

  1. Vote tally visibility can be kept separate from Close votes.

  2. Privilege can be separately managed. A separate reputation trigger is possible.

  3. Get rid of the built in condescension, ie., it's not good enough for us but maybe it's good enough for them.

  4. Migration could be added as an option to the Flag button

  5. A separate review queue could be created for Migrations

  • I kinda dig the separate migration queue. – NVZ Jan 9 at 5:04
  • 1
    How does the "Not piling on" thing cope when the labels actually show votes? "share edit close (1) migrate (3) delete (1) flag"? Doesn't it actually encourage more migration votes? – Andrew Leach Jan 9 at 7:47
  • One thing to consider is how many other sites have the volume of migrations that EL&U sends to ELL. This sort of change would probably need to be network-wide and other than SO/SU/Programmers, I'm not sure many other sites have the well-trod migration path that we have. I do think though that a tweak to how "controversial" migrations are handled might help. Here's a suggestion from Meta that I thought was interesting: meta.stackexchange.com/a/226031 – ColleenV Jan 9 at 13:11
  • @AndrewLeach I'm not sure why we do that. That info probably shouldn't be pushed in the absence of other decision guidance. We have a detailed review queue page where that info makes sense. It has room for a variety of info to aid reviewers. But having a tally as the only info showing, is, in my opinion, pandering to the worst in human nature. I like the dots in the review drop-down better. – Phil Sweet Jan 9 at 13:25
  • @ColleenV I don't know either. The relationship between ELU and ELL may always be a bit unusual. Somehow, I doubt Physics is as likely to dump VLQs on Math. But that's a bit above my paygrade. I'll load the wagon and let the drovers mind the horses. – Phil Sweet Jan 9 at 13:51
  • I like several possibilities raised by this suggestion. In particular, 1. I like having the possibility of making "vote to migrate" a separate privilege from "vote to close"—it'd be especially interesting if we could require some minimal level of reputation on the target site (say, 10 non-association points, just so folks have at least been to the other site). 2. It could also make the bar for migration higher, as we could require five actual "migrate" votes, rather than three + two closevotes. 3. It might also allow for greater flexibility/more guidance in the associated pop-up text. (Cont.) – 1006a Jan 9 at 15:43
  • 4. Possibly this could also allow for an expanded number of migration paths (I have no idea of the technical issues here). – 1006a Jan 9 at 15:51
  • I also see some potential difficulties. 1. If migration has a higher profile, I can imagine seeing a large up-tick in migrations of questions on-topic at EL&U, just because they're apparently from learners. 2. How would close and migrate votes interact? Would it become a race to see which hits 5 votes first, or would one trump the other, or ? 4. In addition to the piling-on issue, I can also see potential for votes in one queue to inhibit votes in the other. – 1006a Jan 9 at 15:51
  • @1006a Re 1, that is a risk. As things stand, all the questions in the review process are designed to examine the suitability of the question for ELU. There isn't anything similar which prompts us to examine the suitability of the question for the target sites (I feel the fire-and-forget aspect is part of the problem). And I don't think Migration should necessarily be restricted to "Off Topic" ELU. The topicality topography (I can't believe I wrote that) on SE just isn't that exclusive. – Phil Sweet Jan 9 at 17:02
  • 1
    "Don't migrate for the sake of migration. We only migrate questions because they are off-topic on the original site. It is perfectly possible for a question to be on-topic on multiple sites, but that is not a reason to migrate it elsewhere, unless the OP requests migration. As a general rule, if someone asks a question here, and it's on-topic here, it should stay here." (A quote from meta.stackexchange.com/a/10250) The purpose of migration is not to shuffle questions to the best site, but to get them to a place where they are on-topic. – ColleenV Jan 11 at 3:33

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