This question got posted here a few hours ago. It's a phrasing request asking for help wording a sentence, which is off-topic here but - if I understand correctly - is on-topic on English.SE. I therefore cast the first close vote as "belongs on English.SE".

The other close-voters appear to have just closed it as "off-topic", however, and so it hasn't been migrated. I know it's off-topic here, that's why I voted to migrate it somewhere where it isn't off-topic.

Shouldn't we have migrated the question to English.SE?

  • I voted to migrate too. Which makes it a question to the moderators, I think: how many of the close votes need to be for migrating, rather than just "off topic"? I know there's an issue with closing reason being listed always as the one from the first vote, even if everybody else voted to close for a different reason. But in this case, your vote to migrate was the first one, right? Nov 17, 2018 at 20:00
  • @Galastel At least three votes need to be for migration to the same site. (But that's irrelevant here; see my answer below.)
    – gparyani
    Nov 18, 2018 at 3:12

3 Answers 3


(Context: I'm a contributor on Meta Stack Exchange, and I wrote this answer to Monica Cellio's question there.)

The migration was automatically rejected because the sole tag used on it, , doesn't exist over on the English site. As such, when normal users vote to migrate, the migration will be automatically rejected. On the other hand, if a moderator migrates the question, it will work, with the destination question getting the tag .

All that needs to happen to fix this is for a moderator to reopen the question and migrate it. Provided the author hasn't cross-posted it there using a different account, it will work.

  • 1
    Ah, I've think I've heard about that issue before, actually. Okay, that would explain it. Thanks for the answer!
    – F1Krazy Mod
    Nov 18, 2018 at 9:08

All five close votes were to migrate the question to English and it was migrated. It appears that it was then closed on English, bouncing it back to us. This isn't super-easy to see, but the revision history shows it being locked and then unlocked, which I think is the migration -- it was locked here went sent there, and when they rejected it it was unlocked here, leaving it on hold as off-topic.

Even with the mod tools I can't find a link to the question over there, short of searching their site. Search didn't turn it up so I browsed their recent questions and didn't find it. Possibly this means that they not only closed but deleted the question; we'd need a moderator there (or someone who saw the question go by) to be able to confirm that. I've asked for help understanding what happened on Meta.SE, 'cause I've used all the mod tools I know about and I still can't figure out what happened.

Aside: I really hate the mechanics of migration because bounce-backs are confusing. It feels like we're jerking the user around -- ask over there, no they don't want it either, now there are locked posts... it seems like an unwelcoming experience to me.


We've had some excellent investigative work and good feedback, but no-one has explicitly responded to the core question

"Shouldn't we have migrated the question to English.SE?"

I'm game. It would seem, based on the advice in [@gparyani's answer], that the logical answer is

"Yes [we shouldn't have]."

If flagging as "off-topic, migrate to EL&U" is almost certain to result in the system automatically rejecting the migration because of the tag issue, then this flag option is useless and we should stop using it. More pertinently, we should ask that an appropriate fix be applied - for example, integrating the same mechanism that works for moderator-assisted migration. I didn't understand the suggestion in the MSE comment about "intrinsic tags" but this seemed like another potential solution. If for some reason a fix isn't possible, the only remaining solution is for the "off-topic/migrate to EL&U" option to be removed.

Unless/until the flag mechanism can be fixed, I suggest that questions suitable for migration to EL&U should be flagged "in need of moderator intervention" with an explanation along the lines of "off-topic but suitable for migration to EL&U".

Assiduous users could also post a comment on the question itself explaining that it's off-topic but has been flagged for migration to another SE site. I'm in two minds whether it's appropriate to say explicitly that it's to EL&U, as the OP is then just as likely to go and cross-post to that site; this can be messy, as it then requires another process on EL&U (assuming the question is successfully migrated) to close the migrated post as a duplicate of the cross-post.

If it's been flagged for moderator-assisted migration, I think a separate VTC for "off-topic/what-to-write" or "off-topic/blatantly-off-topic" (depending on the nature of the post) is still necessary, as the primary objective should be the integrity of this site rather than where the post might go. But I'm not sure on process: can you do it in this order, or do you have to VTC first then raise a moderator-intervention flag?

  • Someone will also need to retag so it doesn't bounce. That doesn't require a moderator, just someone to dig around in ELU's tags. Nov 29, 2018 at 19:09

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