We've been getting a lot of migrations to ELL lately. That's actually fine by me – I think a lot of them are okay on ELL, even if they're not suitable for EL&U. The two sites have different standards, and that's okay.

But we've also been getting migrations like this:

When someone wanna talk perfect English

I wanna learn English how can I do that, can someone help me or give me good ideas


I'm sure the migration will be rejected within the hour, but it'd be better if it had never been migrated in the first place. Please don't migrate terrible questions! When questions are this bad, please use another close reason.

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    The approach I usually use is to ask myself whether I would be sufficiently motivated to actually remonstrate with another ELL user if they were to closevote as "Too Basic" (specifically, after making allowances for the fact that many non-native speakers might find it difficult to locate even quite basic information, since the Net itself is heavily skewed towards English, making everything a bit of a struggle). But with the example you've included above, it's just a no-brainer. – FumbleFingers Mar 6 '16 at 22:09
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    I believe the migration was a mistake. We need a close reason "This question is off-topic because it is not on-topic." – user140086 Mar 10 '16 at 7:20
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    We do have close reason other. I would like to have seen: This question is off-topic because the topic: "How to improve my English?" is expressly prohibited by the help. I remember being a clueless newb. The sticks that came with explanations did me more good than just getting beaten with the stick. – candied_orange Mar 10 '16 at 13:37
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    I want the ability to migrate users not their questions, as the answer to that question is go join ELL. – Mazura Mar 10 '16 at 22:33
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    @Maxura you can find that ability in a kindly worded comment. – candied_orange Mar 11 '16 at 3:06
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    @CandiedOrange So what you're saying is you're okay with being beaten with the stick as long as they tell you why you're being beaten? :) On-topic, I agree that some questions have been migrated that should never have existed in the first place, but I feel that outright ostracising a user because they didn't ask a question the way we felt they should is perhaps unnecessarily harsh. Surely there's a comfortable middle-ground somewhere. – John Clifford Mar 11 '16 at 8:33
  • On ELU, "Questions that can be answered by a quick dictionary lookup" is not on the "do not ask about" list, while it is on ELL. ??? – user3169 Mar 17 '16 at 15:30
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    @AndrewLeach Understood, but "research" is a broad term, and especially for the learner a clear "check your dictionary first" would be appropriate. – user3169 Mar 18 '16 at 16:30
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    @JohnClifford, whoa, who is being ostracized? Closing a question without migrating is not supposed to be seen as equivalent to ostracizing the person who asked it. – herisson Mar 18 '16 at 19:55
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    @Lawrence Migrations are supposed to be limited before graduation (so the site has a chance to form its own identity rather than being overwhelmed with higher traffic from another site), not after. – Matthew Read Mar 19 '16 at 8:40
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    So then is it time for someone to go out to Area 51 and try to launch "Infelicitous Inquiries SE" as an involuntary migratory destination for everyone's dross? – Rob_Ster Mar 20 '16 at 5:14
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    This query might help the discussion - it's migrations that were rejected on ELL: data.stackexchange.com/ell/query/411705/… (Click on the column header to sort by date). What I'd like to do is also write/find a query on migrated questions that were upvoted (say more than twice) to get a list of questions that were welcomed. – ColleenV Mar 21 '16 at 17:32
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    @Rob_Ster Exactly. I cant believe the arguements in the comments below. By their logic we should migrate all closed questions to Stack Overflow, its their job to close them - not our fault for migrating. – J.Todd Mar 26 '16 at 16:03
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    Well, allow me to say congratulations on being the most upvoted question in the history of EL&U meta. And I detected not the slightest hint of animosity, I was more peeved about the strain of comments, than your actual request. – Mari-Lou A Apr 21 '16 at 9:42
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    @Mari-LouA It makes me happy that it got so many upvotes. I take it as a sign that the EL&U folks really do care about ELL :-) – snailplane Apr 23 '16 at 7:57

Everyone's banging on about that one bad question that was migrated.

Someone lets their dog crap in my yard and I go out and scoop it. Now I can toss it in the garbage, or I can go leave it on my neighbor's lawn, because he has to clean up after the dog walkers sometimes too. It seems stupid to try justify dropping that crap on my neighbor's yard because if the dog had just walked a couple more feet it would have been in his yard. I've already done the work to clean it up, why would I ask my neighbor to do it too? Colleen

Roaring your arguments are ridiculous. I'm being blunt here, since the complex reasoning is explained above clearly already. The question was trash. ELU users used ELL as a trash can. ELL doesn't appreciate being treated as a trash can. Viizionary

and ...

@Mari-LouA It seems simple. Migration is a process for users who have a strong understanding that the question would be a good fit for the site they're migrating it to. Not only was the question an obviously terrible question for the site, the question was an obviously terrible question for any SE site. ...Viizionary

the crap analogy continues....

Wow, so much fuss over something so obvious. Don't send us your crap, okay? The end IͶΔ

In case it needed reminding, which judging by the stream of comments under Roaring Fish's answer it appears necessary, the number of users who voted to migrate the question: When someone wanna talk perfect English, were exactly three. Three users out of the hundreds of users who have earned the ‘privilege’ to close questions through democratic decision. Only three users voted to migrate it, not five. I was the 5th user to cast their vote to close that question. It needed to be closed. It was a very, very poor fit for a Q&A website, but three other users believed that ELL could make something from it.

However, the question was clearly off-topic for both English sites, that is not under discussion, mistakes happen and we can all benefit from understanding how to avoid repeating them in the future, but from here to claiming that EL&U dumps their “crap” on ELL — is jingoistic war warmongering at its worst.

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    sneaks in +1 sneaks out – Dan Bron Mar 30 '16 at 12:05
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    Since so much is being made of that particular example, it may be worth noting that four of the five close voters on that question at ELL are high-rep users at EL&U—snailboat being the lowest-rep voter at EL&U among those four. So at least in that instance, most of the people doing the cleanup work for ELL participate at both sites. – Sven Yargs Mar 30 '16 at 17:04
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    ...That circumstance leads me to wonder whether the solution to bad migration requests might be to restrict the vote-to-migrate privilege to people who have vote-to-close privileges at both sites. I have sometimes suggested in comments that a poster consider asking a seemingly elementary question at ELL, but I've never voted to migrate a question to ELL because I feel insufficiently attuned to that site's standards and interests to make good calls about what particular questions are welcome there. Worthless crap or enriching manure? It's a question for the lawn's owners to decide, I think. – Sven Yargs Mar 30 '16 at 17:13
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    @SvenYargs it's a bit of a no-brainer closing that question, you don't need much rep to see that it was simply an inappropriate question for a Q&A format. Perhaps some users thought ELL was the best place to help that particular user. That maybe the more experienced members could have dedicated more time to that learner and provided greater guidance. Who knows. – Mari-Lou A Mar 30 '16 at 19:36
  • That question belongs on Meta.SE. There it would get (closed as a dupe? ) three suggestions, to be completed in order: Join ELL. Join ELU. Join Writers.SE. -Profit. (the migrated post is locked, so I'll just leave this right here) – Mazura Mar 31 '16 at 19:42
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    jingoistic war warmongering at it's worst is a little dramatic for a legitimate complaint about the quality of the questions that are getting migrated. We have plenty of overlap in our communities, so there aren't even 'sides'. I posted to provide some feedback to this community about bad/weird migrations, not just to bitch about one question. Maybe I shouldn't have agreed so readily to closing my discussion post as a duplicate of this one. Because so few people can migrate a question it's important to talk openly about what works and what doesn't. – ColleenV Apr 5 '16 at 19:38
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    @ColleenV My melodramatic turn of phrase was an attempt to illustrate how melodramatic the tone of "legitimate complaints" were, saying that users on EL&U send crap, or newcomers poop on EL&U and ELL is kind of an exaggeration, isn't it? – Mari-Lou A Apr 6 '16 at 7:46
  • Right, because tit-for-tat is the most mature and constructive way to handle things. You can get all defensive and pretend like we're attacking EL&U for no reason and make excuses instead of hearing what we're trying to tell you and work with us to make things better for both sites. I like and respect a lot of folks in both communities, so this isn't about ELL vs EL&U. All I'm asking is for folks to set the bar higher for the quality of questions they vote to migrate. I don't speak for all of ELL and I'm not talking to all of EL&U, just the folks that migrate crap questions. – ColleenV Apr 6 '16 at 14:54
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    @ColleenV And I was pointing out that the folks who migrate the crap questions are a minuscule number, it's worthwhile remembering that only three votes are necessary to migrate a question, so perhaps a more constructive suggestion would be to demand that five votes are needed for migrating, otherwise the question is put on hold and left to the mods' discretion. I believe they are probably the best to judge whether a question remains on EL&U or not. – Mari-Lou A Apr 6 '16 at 15:06
  • @Mari-LouA Last I checked it takes four migration votes, not just three. – tchrist Apr 21 '16 at 3:17
  • @tchrist I distinctly recall 3 CV for migration, and 1 for a separate reason, I added my CV as being too broad, and the question immediately migrated. – Mari-Lou A Apr 21 '16 at 4:46
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    @tchrist Maybe it takes four migration votes on Stack Overflow, but three elsewhere? Jeff Atwood posted about raising the requirement to 4/5 back in 2011, but he said "This is also specific to Stack Overflow only at the moment". I don't see any more recent posts suggesting the change has been rolled out to other sites. – snailplane Apr 21 '16 at 5:19

I think it should be, but you'd have to read my comments above to understand how and why.

I think it's pretty easy to identify users, who belong,* on ELL.

But this question, and the general animosity about migrating to ELL, prevents me from even trying. If that was your goal, you've succeeded. (friendly indeed, in my mind that's a different "f" word, just cleverly worded.)

** users whose own self interest, as well as the interest of SE at large, would be better served there

How can we expect users with a poor grasp of English to be instantly good SE'ers on sites where the text is in English? How does ELL deal with questions like that? Are they just complaining because they already have to deal with plenty of them, themselves? And basically have no outlet for, "You're beyond any help (that would be on-topic for this site), try [this site.]" like ELU does?

Shouldn't it be ELL's job to teach people English and how to SE at the same time?

IMO, if you don't want crap questions migrated, make a feature request at ELU for an automatic "user creation script" for user (migration) / creation (or some such route for what I'm intending). Then you can have them all to yourselves from the get-go. However, this may be difficult to implement without SE itself violating the Be Nice policy.

Having to "kindly word" yo, you need to go learn how to english is not my cup of tea. It does however, pain me to admit that I've given up on y'all (users who need help). SE exists to answer people's questions, not to make life easier for moderators or whatever.

The example question is actually a dupe of a Meta question (cross-site duping is a battle for another day). This one is even better, because it's written in the broken English someone would use to ask it. And it (the link) has but one sole answer that might as well have a full stop after: Go join ELL.

I'll take any DVs as, "That user migration thing would be even worse." Please note if otherwise and BTW, you can leave the "kid gloves" at the door. Mine came off when the OP fudged the F word. Or don't (explain yourself), the numbers on my first comment and the one below it, tell us that about 1/3 of the users who read it agree (that there should be a way to migrate users, which also tells us that it's unlikely to be status: completed). So, if this ends up with half as many ups as downs, we won't make any ground here unless you explain why.

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    I'm honestly quite shocked that you think I "fudged the F word". – snailplane Apr 21 '16 at 3:13
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    @snailboat - Intended or not, that's how I've come to read it. Stop F-ing using ELL as ELU's trash can. Thank you. – Mazura Apr 21 '16 at 3:21
  • Rather than migrating a bad question, you can just leave a comment saying something like "If you are a English language learner, the following site may be more appropriate for your questions: ell.stackexchange.com But this particular question is not a good fit at either site for so-and-so reasons." It would be nice to have an automatic way to do this, but that's the case for many other types of comments. I think some users have written scripts that can do this. And you can also just copy-paste if you have a good place to store these messages. – herisson Apr 21 '16 at 3:50
  • Here's a question that currently, four people think should be migrated to ELL. I disagree; their command (the OP) of the English language is good enough to operate at ELU. The only problem it had was (almost) failing to avoid a Proofreading VTC. Proofreading is not summarily off-topic. But lacking sufficient "command" is grounds for account-migration IMO. The context of the question has nothing to do with it. The goal is to help the user now and users later. – Mazura Apr 21 '16 at 4:10
  • I'm starting to wonder how many ELL questions are closed for being unclear, and forever will be. – Mazura Apr 21 '16 at 4:11

Maybe the problem is that questions get migrated at all?

If that option is there, then I don't see anything unreasonable in expecting the ELL community to sort out which ones to close. Surely that is more reasonable than expecting the ELU community to make those decisions for ELL.

If the sheer volume of migrated questions is becoming a problem, I think it would be better just to take the option away, or change it to something more akin to a resubmission option presented to the poster: "your question is not right for ELU. Perhaps you would like join our other site here (ELL link)"


Looking at the history of discussion about migrations to ELL, we see here (repeated here) that even when ELL was in beta and migrations were handled by moderators, ELL still rejected one out of six of them. This kills the argument that 'folks with enough rep to migrate should know what fits and what doesn't.'

Both of those threads also have warnings that opening a migration channel could lead to problems of ELL accusing ELU of sending crap. Those predictions have come true. I can't really think of a better argument for closing the migration channel.

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    I believe that just like we wouldn't migrate a spammy or abusive or blatantly off-topic post on the grounds that "it's not our place to moderate ELL, they can close if they want", there are questions which are bad, uniformly across SE, which should just be closed. – Avner Shahar-Kashtan Mar 23 '16 at 17:53
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    Also, if the migration path were shut down today, it wouldn't be ELL that suffers. It is to ELU'S benefit to direct users to the site where they can get the best answers to their question. If their question is welcomed the next one along those lines may get asked elsewhere first. It's not good for anyone for a question to get bounced back and forth. It just generates bad will and meta complaint threads. – ColleenV Mar 23 '16 at 18:37
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    @AvnerShahar-Kashtan ~ questions that are bad do get closed. The ones that get kicked to ELL are the 'too easy' ones, which the ELU community can close if they don't like them. – Roaring Fish Mar 23 '16 at 18:42
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    I would have flagged it as too broad, but you are completely missing the point here. This is a simple matter of who decides which questions are right for ELL. Answer a couple of questions: if that question had gone directly into ELL, what would you have done with? And what did you actually do with it? If those two questions have the same answer, then you have no grounds to be complaining at ELU, and by doing so you are expecting ELU to moderate for ELL. That being the case, I would cut the migration link to save having complaining threads like this repeating over and over again. – Roaring Fish Mar 23 '16 at 19:20
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    Someone lets their dog crap in my yard and I go out and scoop it. Now I can toss it in the garbage, or I can go leave it on my neighbor's lawn, because he has to clean up after the dog walkers sometimes too. It seems stupid to try justify dropping that crap on my neighbor's yard because if the dog had just walked a couple more feet it would have been in his yard. I've already done the work to clean it up, why would I ask my neighbor to do it too? Also, I have "grounds" to discuss issues that face any of the communities on SE that I am a member of on their meta sites. – ColleenV Mar 23 '16 at 21:12
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    To make your scenario relevant, you need to add the details that your neighbours exists for people to throw dog poop on, has signs inviting people to throw poop on, you have an arrangement with the neighbour to throw dog poop on it, and your neighbour is complaining that some of the dog poop you throw is the wrong colour. Details make a difference. – Roaring Fish Mar 24 '16 at 3:13
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    You are still missing the point, or maybe deliberatel avoiding it as you refused to answer my questions illustrating it. To put it as simply as I can, if ELL wants posts migrated from ELU, then ELL has to accept that some of those migrated will not be acceptable to the ELL community and the ELL community will have to take on the role of deciding which ones to close, exactly as they would if the questions were posted directly. If ELL doesn't want them, then cut the link. What ELL shouldn't do is open threads like this, complaining that ELU is not choosing for ELL which questions to close. – Roaring Fish Mar 24 '16 at 3:22
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    Roaring your arguments are ridiculous. I'm being blunt here, since the complex reasoning is explained above clearly already. The question was trash. ELU users used ELL as a trash can. ELL doesn't appreciate being treated as a trash can. Enough said. – J.Todd Mar 24 '16 at 4:52
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    When you make a bad migration you waste time for the other site's moderators who now have to reject your terrible migration request. Dont migrate things unless you understand the format of the Stack Exchange network and the site you're migrating the question to. – J.Todd Mar 26 '16 at 16:06
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    By your logic we should migrate all of our closed questions to Stack Overflow. Its their job to close them if they want to, not ours. – J.Todd Mar 26 '16 at 19:36
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    Going back to the dog poop analogy: A letter that is meant for my neighbour came to me instead, by mistake. I send it over to him. Acceptable. Dog poop showed up on my yard; its meant neither for me nor for him, and i know that. He has no interest in dog poop, he even has fine print on his mail box saying please don't leave dog poop on my yard. Its (supposed to be) common knowledge that people don't like dog poop. I still send it over to him. NOT acceptable. Of course, he can still make the call to throw it away or not. But you see why it was wrong of me to dump it on him in the first place.. – insanity Mar 29 '16 at 11:48
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    And of course... Just because your neighbour doesn't want you sending over dog poop, please don't stop sending over his mail that got delivered to you by mistake. And he trusts you to know the difference. I rest my case. – insanity Mar 29 '16 at 11:53
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    @Mari that's another issue. Let's not forget that what prompted this question was something that was off-topic in all language sites. How much polishing can be done to such questions? – M.A.R. Mar 30 '16 at 8:33
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    @Mari-LouA - or 4. That the ELL community feels that it's important to leave such errors intact, so that the asker's proficiency levels are kept plain, and that the question doesn't make the OP appear more advanced than reality would indicate. See StoneyB's Point #2 in his answer to this ELL meta question. – J.R. Mar 30 '16 at 8:37
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    You know for folks that go on and on about how high your standards are, y'all seem to have a lot of trouble calling a duck a duck. Alright, everything is subjective and I'm sure we'll never agree that "Learn me to speakgood English" is a bad question. – ColleenV Apr 6 '16 at 3:43

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