Writing Stackexchange was set up as a public beta 8 years ago, and has pretty good stats. Apparently they can migrate to us:

migrated from writing.stackexchange.com 8 hours ago
This question came from our site for the craft of professional writing, including fiction, non-fiction, technical, scholarly, and commercial writing.

I've seen a few questions with comments recommending migrating to Writers.

Is it worth having a migration option as a close vote option? Is there a basal rate of off-topic-here-but-on-topic-there questions? If so, what's the standard way of setting it up?

  • 4
    Moderators can migrate to any site. Whether a migration path is needed for the community to use to migrate questions depends on how many misdirected questions there are.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 18:39
  • @ColleenV how many is too many? Is there a standard? Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 19:07
  • 1
    I've noticed that sometimes someone will comment, "This question is off topic here; maybe it will fly over at Writers.SE, though"; and in most cases, it really doesn't fly at Writers.SE, because they don't tolerate requests for proofreading and feedback any more than ELU does. Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 4:24

3 Answers 3


An important criterion for community migration paths is the level of migration that occurs already by moderator action.

There's no "right" level for establishing a migration path, but tens or hundreds of migrations with a single digit rejection rate seems safe. Single digit migrations in the last 90 days and/or rejection rates that can order a drink without ID are signs that the path will be a waste of time to establish.

Opening those migration paths is fraught, as sometimes low-quality questions that should be closed get migrated instead (a constant frustration already on the part of ELL.SE members), or questions that are answerable here get migrated unnecessarily. Moderators are expected to be more knowledgeable and careful than the community, on the whole, so if they do not deem many questions worth moving, there is no cause to throw that open to a wider constituency.

A SEDE query for questions migrated away turns up these results since the EL&U epoch:

Site Count Latest Migration ELL 3676 2019-08-23 13:00:32 Writers 166 2019-08-22 14:55:45 Linguistics 65 2019-07-01 03:07:07 SuperUser 21 2019-01-14 13:21:33 Philosophy 19 2019-01-23 17:11:37

(Writers.SE was renamed Writing.SE in January 2018, after several months of discussion; presumably some SEDE table needs updating. Literature is at #6, with 17, but I think that includes migrations from the failed 2011–12 incarnation as opposed to the currently constituted Lit.SE).

Since this is skewed somewhat by the age of the available targets (why else would we have more migrations to Mathematics.SE than to LanguageLearning.SE?), 10K users can also see the 90-day migration statistics:

Site Count Stats ELL 175 6% rejected Meta.ELU 12 16% rejected Writing 4

followed by eight singletons.

The migration rate to Writing is two orders of magnitude below that of ELL by either measure, which doesn't make a compelling case in my view, though of course I am just an ordinary community member with no larger insights.

If you come across questions that would be better-answered at Writing.SE, it sounds like we should step up our efforts to flag them and have moderators move them. The case for community-driven migration will be much stronger once we can demonstrate that adding that path will be beneficial for both communities.

  • Thank you for the explanation, choster. Have a green tick. Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 20:34
  • I've just thought - don't you get in trouble if you flag lots of things and the mods don't agree? Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 4:36
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    @marcellothearcane If you’re acting in good faith, you probably don’t have to worry about declined flags. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/208965/…. Declined flags do affect the bonus flags you can earn “You are awarded additional bonus flags when you flag correctly - one bonus flag for every ten net helpful flags (helpful flags minus declined flags).“ (from the help center)
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 12:18
  • I personally object to the number of migrations from EL&U to ELL. I believe that too many questions are simply "disposed of," when, instead, they should be properly closed at EL&U. (Many don't belong at ELL either.) In fact, I'd actually vote in favour of removing the existing ELL migration path, which I think is frequently misused. Needless to say, I think that introducing another so-called removal catchall would just exacerbate the problem. Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 2:53
  • @JasonBassford The migration path is good for ELL even though some mistakes are made. It’s easy to remember the stinkers, but the statistics show significantly more migrated questions are well-received on ELL than not, and their authors often join ELL’s community.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 14:52

This has been regularly discussed here over the years (e.g. here); the difference now is that, with Writers out of Beta, it is a practical possibility.

You will need to persuade the moderators here that we receive enough questions that are off-topic here but would be on-topic at Writers.SE to justify the work of setting up a migration path; you would also need to convince the mods at Writers.SE that we won't flood them with opinion-seeking, unclear or plain badly-written questions, but that should be comparatively easy. The best way forward would be to compile a list of fairly recent ELU questions that you think should be/have been transferred to Writers, and get a consensus of opinion. I suggest a community wiki question here as a starting point.

Once there is enough of a groundswell of opinion on ELU, our mods can put a request in to the Stack Exchange programmers to set up a migration route, and add it to the list of closevote options. "Enough" here means literally 'sufficient that the improvement to the SE network will be worth the time and trouble, and possible collateral problems'; nobody really knows how much that is, so just provide as much evidence as possible. It won't come as a surprise, at least.

I will add a note of caution; there actually was such a path for a short time, in 2011 as I recall. But Writers.SE did not then justify the hopes placed in it; it was reverted to Beta, and the path automatically ceased to exist. Transferring questions that are better there than here will improve both sites; but just offloading stuff we don't want is both discourteous and counter-productive.

  • Thanks Tim, that's some helpful advice. Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 19:59
  • Here's a +1 to help build the case that the community thinks a migration path to Writers.SE is a good idea.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 10:54

Writers.SE welcomes the following types of question:

If you have questions about writing techniques, style, usability/readability, planning and organizing, research techniques, publishing, and related topics, your questions are welcome here.

  • Non-fiction, technical, scholarly, journalistic, or professional blog writing, including the presentation of examples, charts, and diagrams.
  • Writing fiction, poetry, scripts, or song lyrics.
  • General copywriting, style, and organization.
  • Questions asking for help expressing a concept or an idea, within limits. (See this meta post for more information.)
  • The publishing and editing process itself.
  • Questions about specialized writing tools.

As per @TimLymington's suggestion, here is a list of questions that would be on-topic at Writers.SE, but are closed as off-topic here:

I've used this data query to search for all comments with Writers.SE in them. This is a non-exhaustive list.

Interestingly, almost all the users who asked the questions have >200 reputation. If we could redirect the questions to a place where they would be better received, there might be better user retention. The questions are fairly high quality, they just aren't what we do here.

  • The first step is to figure out what is on-topic and welcomed at Writing. Questions have to be on topic there and off topic here, not just “better suited because someone is asking for help writing something”.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 21:33
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    @ColleenV better? I've removed all but the closed ones, and added why as per writers help centre. Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 5:09
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    It’s much better. However, some of those questions mention writing, but they’re really questions about English usage, not writing. Take english.stackexchange.com/questions/125568/… That doesn’t belong on Writers just because the author mentions they’re writing a novel. ELL has a “past-vs-past-perfect” tag because we get so many questions about that.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 10:17
  • I think you shoud make this a CW question, not least because views and alternatives can go in the answers not the ephemeral comments. Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 9:35
  • @Tim The consensus seems to be 'no' at the moment, so I won't bother myself. Feel free to steal if you want to CW it Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 9:53

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