A comment was recently left on a recent question; it read:

Hi, Welcome to WritingSE. This question actually belongs on EnglishSE. ell.stackexchange.com

Just a clarification:

  • English.SE is English Language & Usage, the site for "serious etymologists"
  • ELL.SE is English Language Learners, the site for English learners.

In this case, I believe the link (to ELL) pointed the OP to the right place to go on the Stack Exchange. However, the question was migrated to ELU.

Maybe this site wants to consider adding a Migration link to ELL? As of right now, there is only a link to ELU:

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Depending on how many similar questions you get, it might be nice to add:

1 Answer 1


From a quick look at recent migrated-away question statistics, the vast majority of the questions we get which are migrated away from the site go to English Language & Usage (which, given that that and Writing Meta are the only two migration targets available to the community, isn't terribly surprising). Only a small minority of questions that do get migrated to English Language & Usage are rejected; a migration is rejected if the question is closed on the target site as anything other than a duplicate of an existing question.

There's a small handful of questions which are migrated away from Writing to other sites in the network other than English Language & Usage.

Very, very, very few questions are migrated from Writing to English Language Learners. In the past three months, we've migrated as many questions to The Workplace as to English Language Learners, and both of those migration paths require the involvement of a diamond moderator.

That said, while a community migration path is certainly nice as it cuts down on moderator workload, if a question genuinely should go to a site to which no community migration path exists, no matter which site that is:

  • Put the question on hold as off topic (you can use "Other" for this, since we don't really have a specific "this really isn't about writing at all" close reason); a question that isn't off topic here is not a migration candidate even if it would also be on topic elsewhere
    • The rationale for that last point is simply: If a question is on topic on more than one site in the network, it's up to the OP to choose where to post it; we shouldn't impose our choices on them, though we can suggest that a question might get better answers on some specific other site in the network and mention that the question can be migrated if OP so desires
  • Once the question is on hold (or immediately if you're willing to live with the risk of the flag being declined or aging away if the question isn't considered by the community to be off topic here), raise a custom moderator flag on the question and suggest migration to whichever site you feel is a good fit for the question, or even better (especially if the user is relatively new to the network) suggest that OP raises such a flag
    • Having the OP raise the flag increases the OP's awareness of what's happening to their question, which is a good thing

If we start getting a lot of migrations to English Language Learners, it might be reasonable to set up a community migration path for that, but:

  • Right now, in my opinion we just don't have sufficient volume to justify taking up a slot for such a migration path
  • For the specific case of EL&U and ELL, I can see a clear risk that it would be confusing to people, seeing that the two sites have at first glance rather similar subject scopes, with a fair bit of apparent overlap

So, before we set up such a migration path, the community should make the case that it is needed by showing that we actually would be using it at least semi-regularly. For the time being, that means first putting the question on hold as genuinely off topic here, then having a moderator migrate it away. The community already has all the tools for the former, and a custom flag is by far the easiest way to do the latter.

Also, for clarity's sake: I am not saying that we can't have a community migration path to English Language Learners. I just don't think that the data currently shows any indication that one is really needed. If we do start to migrate a reasonable number of questions to ELL, or if our migration reject rate to English Language & Usage starts to go up, then it may well make very good sense to set up a community migration path to cover that need.

  • 1
    Thanks for taking the time to investigate and answer. I'll accept that the migration path is not needed, but I still hope the community here at Writers will be careful about migrating learner's questions to the etymologist's site. As we all know, getting a new user plugged into the right exchange can be one of the bigger challenges on SE, particularly as the number of communities continues to grow.
    – J.R.
    Jul 21, 2018 at 6:42
  • @J.R. I agree that some questions that do get migrated to EL&U probably should be migrated to ELL instead (though our migration rejection statistics for EL&U migrations are hardly horrible, indicating that the community gets that mostly right), and I'm not against the idea of an ELL community migration path as such. However, it's much easier to argue that we need a specific community migration path if there's existing usage to support the case. The easiest way to get that is to first establish that there is an actual need, and then we can set up the migration path.
    – user
    Jul 21, 2018 at 6:52
  • 2
    The vast majority that get migrated are migrated to the only site that is suggested for migration. Of course it is. Most people will not realize that there is any other choice. ELL and Worldbuilding and History at least ought to be there and you would see the numbers go up for those sites if they were. I personally give up on making something for migration is the site I think it should be migrated to is not listed. Doing it through a comment is to much effort for too little hope of a result.
    – user16226
    Jul 22, 2018 at 11:29
  • @MarkBaker "The vast majority that get migrated are migrated to the only site that is suggested for migration. Of course it is." The vast majority of the questions that do get migrated to EL&U are also considered sufficiently on topic there that the migrations do not get rejected. If those questions weren't on topic on EL&U, then the rejection rate for Writing->EL&U migrations would be much higher than it is. Voting to close and also at the same time flagging as "this should be on Site X" doesn't seem to me to be all that more involved than just voting to migrate, and it shows the need.
    – user
    Jul 22, 2018 at 15:15
  • 1
    @MichaelKjörling - To be fair, ELU and ELL are similar enough that a question that is on topic for ELL would also be on topic for ELU the vast majority of the time. The difference between the two basically comes down to the level of experience with the English language that the OTHER members of the SE are expecting from the person posting the question. As such, a question posted on ELU may receive a lower rating than if it had been posted on ELL since the people voting for it are expecting higher level language skills. The same can be said for the level of answers being beyond the ability
    – Ernesto
    Jul 30, 2018 at 12:25
  • of the person asking the question. I read and write fairly well for someone who isn't a native English speaker, but I often time have questions that people think are so rudimentary that by asking them I must be trolling.
    – Ernesto
    Jul 30, 2018 at 12:26
  • @Ernesto I am a native English speaker, and I post questions to both ELU and ELL, depending on my perception of the sophistication of the concepts and where I think it will better fit. An identical question on ELU and ELL should have different answers to reflect the audience. The OP in question seems to have thought "Writing=English, therefore I can ask my question here". I can understand people writing wanting to know about correct grammar, etc. but I would expect that most of those people would have a good level of English, so ELU would be appropriate in the majority of cases.
    – CJ Dennis
    Aug 1, 2018 at 13:06
  • @MarkBaker I agree with Worldbuilding (without have seen any numbers at all) but not ELL.
    – CJ Dennis
    Aug 1, 2018 at 13:07

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