Most of you would know that I'm active here and on Ask Ubuntu. Recently, I started a discussion about enabling one-way migration paths from Ask Ubuntu to Unix & Linux, so I'm here to discuss with the other party so discussions can be in parallel for both sides and expedite the process.

Here are the relevant migration stats over the last 90 days:

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    On the one hand, I tend to agree with you. I think that most commandline questions from AU would find a better home here for example. Conversely, we tend to be command line geeks and GUI questions often don't get the attention they deserve and might be better treated (if on topic) on AU. However, we really really need to be mindful of the 1st rule if we do this. We should also clarify the lines between the two sites and lay down clear rules on what we want to migrate. – terdon Mod Mar 6 '14 at 0:50
  • @terdon that's why the discussion tag ;) – Braiam Mar 6 '14 at 1:08
  • We've got a few similar questions for other sites; see my answer here, for example, which mentions AU specifically – Michael Mrozek Mar 6 '14 at 3:32
  • @MichaelMrozek I rewrote my question. – Braiam Mar 7 '14 at 0:01
  • @MichaelMrozek - Braiam's changed the slant so this would be getting a migration path established for AU to UL. Are your thoughts the same with doing that as well? – slm Mod Mar 8 '14 at 22:28

It seems to me most/all of the objections to this discount the significance of answering the question well and instead focus on minor technical hassles and how it will impact people potentially providing an answer (e.g. "Why would you want our crap?"). Perhaps this misses the forest for the red tape, so to speak.

I'm kind of baffled as to why these paths don't exist already. WRT to good questions:

  • Very ubuntu centric questions will be better off on AU because:

    1. It's got a greater volume of ubuntu-centric answerers.
    2. Specific questions tend to benefit from being properly categorized. This is why we have tags, for example.
  • General linux questions would likely be better off here because:

    1. The lower volume of questioners means they will get more attention -- keeping in mind also that, given time, a cross-over of knowledgeable users from AU should occur.

    2. This re-reinforces to the questioner that it is a general linux question and not something specific to their distro -- an issue which seems to confuse many new users.

    3. The Q&A is then more accessible to non-ubuntu users.

WRT to bad questions, good questions should not be restricted from migration because bad questions exist. Further, if somebody has to deal with crap, I don't see what difference it makes whether it is dealt with here, there, or wherever. The larger community of which we are all a part is Stack Exchange.

Another objection which seems to assume there is nothing to be done about the lowest common denominator and that we must all simply throw our hands up on a race toward the bottom is

Migrations are abandoned more times than not (unless the user is already a user in both places)

If we were selling product for money, this kind of statistical analysis might be useful, since getting paid to do something the wrong way is better than not getting paid. Fortunately, such is not the case. Going back to two points I've made already:

  • That new linux users would benefit from understanding the difference between distro specific question and general linux questions.

  • That the community in the large is actually SE, not AU or U&L.

Migration is a positive thing even if it often fails to bring the user, because not migrating is certain to fail to bring the user (i.e., it is a gesture of pure defeat). People should be encouraged, not discouraged, from learning about the various boards. Given time, this would likely increase the amount of cross-over; saying that there isn't enough now so we can't do this is like saying there's no point in building a bridge here because there's not enough traffic crossing the river.

That's ass-backward. The reason there's not enough traffic crossing the river is because there is no bridge.

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    This assumes that everyone subscribes to the "larger community" concept. By this logic, there should be migration paths to all of the other related technical sites (Pi, Superuser, Security, etc)... – jasonwryan Mar 10 '14 at 1:31
  • I like your analogies. Good points! – slm Mod Mar 10 '14 at 1:47
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    @jasonwryan Yes, absolutely by this logic there should be significantly more migration paths all round! And I'll gentleman's wager you that is part of the long term future of S.E. The opposite logic asserts either S.E. is just a piece of forum software we are using and the sites are little fiefdoms, or (and) more abstractly they are akin to "big chill" cosmology, whereby they fly further and faster apart until any possible relation has cooled into stagnation. (3rd option: It's all preserved under glass...) – goldilocks Mar 10 '14 at 3:58
  • OK: I'll respectfully disagree. I like contributing to U&L and one of the real appeals, for me, is its niche. I have no desire to be part of a bigger, grander more unified Empire and am yet to be convinced that communities like this can scale that way. – jasonwryan Mar 10 '14 at 5:04

I commented on your AU meta Q already, I'd be in favor of this. When Q's such as these are migrated it will contain the typical "migrated from ..." banner so these will be obvious when they come in. I think we need to just coordinate with the regulars that these might need to be treated a bit more relaxed to get them in the door but I have no problem with setting this up as a migration path from AU to UL. I'm not condoning the reverse, just so we're clear!

But we must have AU's buying into this as well, which I believe they're OK with it, assuming Oli is speaking for the broader community.

  • I read Oli's answer as not supporting the proposal. – jasonwryan Mar 10 '14 at 1:33
  • @jasonwryan - as did I, I thought I saw him state, perhaps in comments that if ppl wanted this he would be willing to support it, but I cannot find that verbiage now. – slm Mod Mar 10 '14 at 1:55
  • @jasonwryan - this quote from his A: " If that's really content you as a community want, I'll stop wringing my hands and help this along." – slm Mod Mar 10 '14 at 1:56
  • So it is: I missed it after the firehose and winning references (that and the fact that it doesn't really strike me as a ringing endorsement of the proposal). – jasonwryan Mar 10 '14 at 2:00
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    It's wringing not ringing 8-) – slm Mod Mar 10 '14 at 2:08
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    Actual LOL... :) – jasonwryan Mar 10 '14 at 2:09
  • @jasonwryan - I could not resist, you set me up perfectly for that one 8-) – slm Mod Mar 10 '14 at 2:39

Do we need this? I wouldn't think so. We have a migration option for SO because of the volume, that clearly doesn't apply here.

Also, it is straightforward enough to edit your generic off-topic close option1 to propose migration to another site in the SE family—that has proven quite a workable solution for a range of sites over the last couple of years that I have been here...

Update 7/3/14: for retitled question


1. Close > Off-Topic > Other (add a comment)...

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    Yes, but that creates more work for the mods and takes more time. What @Braiam is suggesting would let the community be able to handle this with no mod intervention. – terdon Mod Mar 6 '14 at 1:10
  • Agreed. I just don't see--based on the stats--that it would create enough additional work to justify an option. Granted only a Mod can really answer that, though... – jasonwryan Mar 6 '14 at 1:12
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    The thing is that the stats are misleading. Since only mods can migrate to AU, the rest of us don't so, perforce, not that many questions get migrated. Nevertheless, both of us hang out here enough to read most Qs and I agree that there are very very few I'd consider migrating to AU. Incoming questions would be far more than the ones we migrate away I think. – terdon Mod Mar 6 '14 at 1:14
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    So AU needs an option and we are fine? :) – jasonwryan Mar 6 '14 at 1:18
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    Kinda, yes. I mean, nobody needs it but I would expect to see many more Qs coming here from AU than the other way around. I've been active here for about a year now and have only seen maybe one or two Qs I'd move to AU if I'd had the choice. I've seen many on AU I'd love to see here though, despite spending far less time there. – terdon Mod Mar 6 '14 at 1:20
  • Are "Close > Off-Topic > Other (add a comment)" votes passed to a moderator? I guessed that I have to flag for moderator attention in order to get questions migrated (except for SO, of course). – Hauke Laging Mar 6 '14 at 2:49
  • @HaukeLaging Apparently not always... – jasonwryan Mar 6 '14 at 2:52
  • @jasonwryan How do you know? Flagging for migration need not lead to the moderator share your opinion. :-) – Hauke Laging Mar 6 '14 at 4:33
  • @HaukeLaging Some of the posts I have adopted that approach with in the past have been migrated. I guess it just depends on if the mods see it and feel that it is a reasonable move. – jasonwryan Mar 6 '14 at 5:06
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't see any downside to AU users being able to migrate stuff to UL? In an ideal world I see both sides being able to send one and the other. – Braiam Mar 6 '14 at 19:03
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    @Braiam I do; but the argument for reciprocal rights is subordinate to the case for a single migration path and there is (statistically anyway) only justification for AU -> UL. Because it could work one way doesn't mean it should work both ways. – jasonwryan Mar 6 '14 at 19:51
  • Ok, let me rephrase my question then. – Braiam Mar 6 '14 at 23:03
  • @HaukeLaging I rewrote my question – Braiam Mar 7 '14 at 0:06
  • @Braiam I updated my answer... :) – jasonwryan Mar 7 '14 at 1:55
  • "it is straightforward enough to edit your generic off-topic close option1 to propose migration to another site in the SE family" If migration is what it's about then it might as well be automated, this is information technology after all. By your logic, up/down/close/whatever voting should be replaced by "edit your generic comment to propose an opinion". It also means you would have to vote to irrevocably close something when you are actually trying to indicate that it would be better off somewhere else. – goldilocks Mar 10 '14 at 4:11

I'm a mod on Ask Ubuntu. Braiam has probably seen the arguments I've made against this on our meta but this is the short version for the Unix.SE community:

  • The quality of our Mint (et al) questions would often not meet standards here. They barely meet our standards and if not for being off-topic, many would be duped, nuked, edited down heavily or otherwise butchered. But on seeing the word Mint (or another distribution) our users will migrate them here.

  • Migrations are abandoned more times than not (unless the user is already a user in both places) — we need to push the users not their questions

  • There's very little that you would need to send to us and what there is can be handled by moderators just fine

Even if the follow-up wasn't an issue, I honestly don't think you'd want to be on the receiving end of our close-OT firehose. Again, if you haven't, look at the stuff you'd be winning. If that's really content you as a community want, I'll stop wringing my hands and help this along.

For the questions that actually need migration (great questions or requested migrations) there are more than enough moderators between us to handle the migrations. These are few and far between.

I've taken so writing this post that the question was halved but the above should still apply.

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    Thanks for pitching in Oli! I agree that extreme caution should be exercised to avoid migrating a lot of the crap you guys need to deal with (I do not envy you that ♦). On the other hand, I think it would be nice to get more of the good ones that you guys close. I've answered the linked Q on AU explaining my point of view but even if the migration path is not opened, the AU mods might want to consider migrating some more questions our way. Just not the crap ones :). – terdon Mod Mar 7 '14 at 16:12
  • "look at the stuff you'd be winning..." SOLD! – jasonwryan Mar 8 '14 at 9:00
  • @terdon If you see an off-topic question on AU that you'd like migrated, please go ahead and flag it, we're always happy to give them to you ;) – Seth Mar 8 '14 at 18:02
  • @Oli - Thanks for keeping an open mind on this as it's discussed, it's very much appreciated, even if you've been down this path yourself it's helpful to everyone involved in understanding the implications! – slm Mod Mar 8 '14 at 22:22

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