Do we want the CSTheory.SE moderators to migrate low-quality questions over here? More specifically, when someone posts a question on CSTheory.SE that is not a research-level about theoretical computer science, if the question is poor, do we want the CSTheory.SE moderators to migrate it over here? Or do we only want them to migrate questions that are likely to be acceptable here?

Background: Of course, if someone asks a question on CSTheory that isn't a good fit for that site (e.g., isn't a research-level question about theoretical computer science), but would be considered a good question on this site, I think it's pretty clear we'd like them to migrate the question over here. I don't see any disagreement about that.

The part I'd like to discuss is, should we ask the CSTheory moderators look at the quality of the question before migrating it? If the question is pretty clearly bad (e.g., not well-researched, no evidence of effort, or something we'd immediately close over here on CS.SE), do we want them to migrate it?

The CSTheory moderators seem happy to do whatever we want, so we should decide what we want. On a separate thread over there, one of the CSTheory moderators said that our admins (the CS.SE moderators) told them to migrate all questions that are in-scope for CS.SE even if they are badly written. Do we really want to be telling them that? Do we really want those kinds of questions? What criteria do we want them to use, when deciding which questions to migrate? Let's discuss. I'll sure they'll be glad to do whatever is best for our site, so let's figure out what we want, and then pass that along to them.

Related: Please don't migrate bad questions to CS.Stack Exchange.

  • $\begingroup$ “Badly written”? I don't know where this comes from. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 4 '13 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles, I remember that you said that I can migrate questions which are not in good shape but I think can be salvaged to Computer Science and we can improve them here. That is what I have meant. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Aug 5 '13 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles, regarding the scope of Computer Science, we don't have a level restriction here as far as a I know. A weak student taking a class and not understanding very basic topics is also welcome to ask questions on Computer Science. I think we were in agreement that the model to follow is Mathematics, and such easy questions are welcome there as far as I know. It seems to me that D.W. has a different idea about the scope. If a question would not be closed (except for being a duplicate) here then the question is on-topic here. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Aug 5 '13 at 8:16

My view: If the question is one we would consider a good question here, yes, please do migrate it.

But if it's a bad question -- one that would be a bad question here -- please don't migrate it here. If it's a bad question, we don't want it. In particular, if it's a question where the first thing we would do with it is close it, then please don't migrate it here.

If the problem has some English problems that can be fixed through editing, we shouldn't let that stop others from migrating the question here. If it's a good question -- well-posed, well-researched, on-topic, focused, narrow -- but has some English/grammar problems, we want it. Yes, let's ask CSTheory to continue migrating those sorts of questions here. If it's just the English, we can edit it once it is migrated here.

But if it is a fundamentally bad question -- e.g., not well-researched, or a duplicate, or unclear; if the problems are fundamental enough that we won't be able to fix them through simple edits -- I think we should ask others not to migrate those sorts of questions here.

My rationale: I think there's a "broken window" effect of bad questions here. I personally find it discouraging to participate on the site when there are many bad questions. I also worry that it sends signals to new users of the site that those sorts of questions are OK (because they may see those questions at the top of the list, before they've been closed, and assume they are a good model of what is acceptable). Of course, I cannot quantify this, so it's possible I could be inflating the concern.

For an opposing view, see Kaveh's reasoning, where he suggests that migration is more helpful to the users whose questions are migrated and where he feels there's little or no harm to CS.SE. I personally am not persuaded, but see his reasoning for a lucid and reasonable counterargument.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think we all agree on these guidelines, and the problem is a difference in judgement as to what constitutes “low quality” and “not well-researched”. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 5 '13 at 0:07

I disagree with the way you have stated this discussion. No one is saying bad questions should be migrated to here. The issue is that you consider particular kind of question to be bad whereas it is not clear that is the case. As far as I understand, you are requesting the following:

questions which are in the scope of cs.se and make sense but are too easy in your opinion (e.g. what is the big O of the following function, etc.) should not be migrated to here.

As far as I know these question are on-topic here and would only be closed as duplicates and not as off-topic or other issues. I think it is not reasonable to expect users who have incorrectly posted such a question on cstheory in place of here to have searched for answers on cs. There questions are similar to the question on math.se and part of the idea of this site was to have a site like math.se for computer science.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, that's not quite what I'm requesting. A good litmus test would be: if they'd asked the question here, would it be immediately closed here? If it's pretty clear that it would be immediately closed here (e.g., as a duplicate; because it is unclear what is being asked; because it shows no evidence of effort/research before asking; or for whatever reason would cause us to close it immediately), then I recommend it not be migrated here. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Aug 5 '13 at 1:52
  • $\begingroup$ @D.W. acutally I think it is a very good criteria to consider how a question would be dealt with if it was posted on Computer Science. However, note that question which are closed as duplicate are fine questions: duplicate is quite different from other closing reasons which indicate the question is problematic. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Aug 5 '13 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding effort I think we have different ideas about the reasonable amount of effort to expect from users. For example, I guess you think a question like this or this should not be migrated but as you can see they are not closed here (and should not be, they are on-topic here). The question you are objecting to its migration is in its essence not much different from these. As I understand, you are objecting to the migration of questions which would be OK (but not great) on Computer Science. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Aug 5 '13 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ I agree. "Too easy" is not a good criterion; "no own effort" is a better one. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Aug 5 '13 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ I just found this migration; now that's clearly not a good question in any context, isn't it? $\endgroup$ – Raphael Aug 16 '13 at 11:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Raphael, that was migrated before these discussions. Would it be closed if it was posted on Computer Science? No, so I migrated it. The goal of migration was to move incorrectly posted questions to an appropriate site, not just very good questions. The criteria was on topicness, not greatness. If a question was not appropriate it can be closed, if it is not then the migration was fine. In any case I have decided to refrain from migrating questions for now. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Aug 16 '13 at 17:28

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