First of all, lets remember the golden rule of the migrations:


That said, why don't we open the migration paths from AU and UL? There has been 10 migrations to UL in the last 90 days, here the stats:

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The migration to UL has been rejected lately, which has been normally in 0% but I don't really see where was the fail.

Some stats:

  • In the last 30 days, there has been 200 question closed using the OT>not Ubuntu close reason, that is ~16% of all closed questions in that period.
  • In the last 7 days, closed questions has been 44, or ~21% of all closed questions.

Relevant discussion on UL

  • DO NOT MIGRATE CRAP. -- Jeff Atwood, Always.
    – cat
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 2:10
  • Why not include ElementaryOS as a migration path as well?
    – K7AAY
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 22:27

3 Answers 3


EDIT 25-01-2020

Since posting this answer, I have spent a few years being a moderator on both Ask Ubuntu and Unix & Linux. I now have a much better idea of what users here suggest for migration and am completely, 100%, adamantly against opening a migration path. It's just not worth it, there are vanishingly few questions that would be worth migrating and what the community tends to think is worth migrating is usually really, really bad questions that would not be welcome on U&L.

I'd like to chime in here as a regular on U&L. First of all, I have to agree with Oli that our crap threshold is much lower on U&L. We tend to be far more aggressive with closing questions than AU and we seem to feel more strongly about having quality questions. That said, there are many Qs I've seen here that have been closed but would have been welcome on U&L. Some random examples:

All of the above would have been perfectly fine on U&L. While there are extremely few cases where a question would be considered off-topic on U&L and on-topic here, there seem to be many cases of the inverse.

The only reason I am wary of this idea is, as suggested already by Oli, that AU members don't seem to be as aware of the SE model as other SE communities and I am afraid that U&L might be inundated by crappy questions if this migration path were opened for non-mods.

On the other hand, U&L is much smaller than AU and we can deal with a good deal more questions than we are currently receiving. If the AU community were to be diligent in not migrating crap so that U&L does not become a dumping ground for the, admittedly very many, bad questions that are posted here, I would be in favor of this proposal.

In summary, I think I can speak for U&L when I say that we would welcome your good questions that are off topic here but not at the price of a slew of bad ones.

As @derobert suggested in the comment below, it might be a good idea to just try this for a week and see how it goes. Unless it is very hard to implement, that should give us an idea of whether this is worth it or not.

  • 1
    Not migrating crap is the golder rule of migrations anyways ;). Now, I know I have slapped around communities for migrating questions to other sites they are not active/aware of their rules, but I feel that the non-crap questions that deserves answers is easier and cleaner to migrate them rather than asking OP to re/crosspost it rather than face deletion due being OT in the site asked. Heck, I know I could get slapped in UL by this proposal, but I do it thinking in what's the best for both communities.
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 15:18
  • 6
    (speaking as another Unix.SE user) I'm not sure how hard it is to enable/disable a migration path, but if its not too much work, the obvious approach would seem to be turn it on for a week, and then ask on Meta.UnixSE if it should stay enabled or not.
    – derobert
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 17:53
  • 4
    @derobert It's about 5 seconds of work.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 18:40
  • 6
    As the #2 rep'd user on U&L I'd like to weigh in here and would welcome this, esp. if we could do it on a trial basis. I think a week is too short, perhaps 1 month? At any rate we have a lot of ppl that could participate more if we had more questions flowing in, we're by no means overworked and have excess bandwidth to deal with this.
    – slm
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 18:46
  • 2
    Developing this migration relationship is likely going to take effort from both communities but IMO these Q's are a untapped source for U&L and are an added burden to AU. Both communities could benefit from this. We already share a fair amount of users (I see several AU users w/ fair amounts of rep on U&L) as you should recognize many of the U&L users frequenting AU. This seems like a logical step to me, assuming we get enough ppl buying into the idea!
    – slm
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 18:58
  • 4
    I like the idea of trying it for a month. A week wouldn't give us enough time to teach those users who don't understand the tool the correct way to do this, but a month should be enough. Might also liven things up a bit ;P
    – Seth
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 19:39
  • 2
    @Seth indeed :). I think if we coordinate things well enough between the two sites, it might work. A closer relationship between the two main *nix SE sites would be a good idea in general. It would be nice if the regulars of both sites knew enough to pass questions around correctly. And thanks for stepping in above, I know what he was getting at, I was objecting to the way he chose to get at it. Don't worry, I'm sure he's just having a bad day and is not usually quite as abrasive as that :).
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 19:43
  • @AnnaLear :(...
    – Braiam
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 17:24
  • Did we end up trying that trial run? or was this discarded?
    – Dan
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 11:06
  • 1
    @Dan no, it was discarded. If you find posts that would be a good fit for U&L, just flag them for mod attention and suggest migration.
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 11:07

I'm of the opinion migrations just don't work. I've said most of this before but I'll add in some Unix.SE-specific arguments

What is "crap" on Unix.SE and other sites?

I would say we have a higher tolerance for the crappier question than most sites. There will be lacking information (that we tease out in comments) or just failing to Google (how many bloody MergeList questions have you seen this week?!) but we help people nevertheless.

Now, if we go ahead with this, any future questions that dares even mention another distribution, whatever the current quality, people are going to jump on the migrate-to-Unix.SE-NOW button.

I think if Unix.SE want to petition to become a migration target from us, they need to look at the crap they'll be dealing with and realise that our users aren't always their users and they won't always adhere to their standards. That is going to be additional workload for reviewers.

We could easily be having this conversation again in a few months if/when Software Recommendations thinks it's ready to be a migration target. Their quality bar is so much higher again.

What's the follow-up rate on migrated questions?

I've been playing around with Data.SE and taking a look at questions migrated to Stack Overflow (just because they have the most in all directions). I didn't have time to build up a proper cascade count but a quick observation of the questions that were migrated:

  • Many didn't have their users come over from the old site (denoted by no user account on SO)
  • The vast majority weren't accepted
  • Many had floating follow-up comment-questions showing the whole thing was just abandoned

We have enough of that without adding another way for people to lose track of their questions. I don't want to start shipping them in (or forcing them on other moderation/review teams).

If we push the person (rather than the question) they're more likely to end up in the right place, hopefully in the right way and they'll remain there.

Why does Unix.SE need to send us anything?

Theirs is a superset of our scope, if it's on-topic here, it's probably on-topic there. Only the most Ubuntu-only situations are ever going to be considered for migration and allowing for all other arguments past and present, their mods are very capable and experienced. If something needs migrating, somebody can flag it and they can migrate it.

Do our reviewers even know our scope? What happens if people disagree?

A running concern is that review here is not always consistent. Different people have different ideas and it's already true that people make decisions that others disagree with. We have reversals, mods stomp around and everybody's unhappy.

Given how many "Oh this would be better on x.SE because it's about programming" I still see littered around on questions that are perfectly on-topic with us here (the tag has dozens), there could be a forced exodus of harder questions...

There is always going to be significant cross-over between the sites. A Bash/Ubuntu question is going to be on-topic here, Unix.SE, SU, SF, and SO... And probably more. I'm all for people advertising that there might be a better SE site but we pull our own even when it's not a question about Unity.

To put it frankly, I don't want our community scope lobotomised by a small group of like-minded reviewers who can't stand questions about Bash (or whatever). If you give people the option to migrate (without a feature like "counter votes") and that's what could happen. Even with a counter-vote, it could turn the entire thing into a tug of war over certain questions.

Migration is a dangerous tool that doesn't do what you think it does nearly as effectively as anybody would like. To work it needs to be user-centric and not just a process that reviewers churn posts through. It also needs safe-guards that don't currently exist.

The incidence where migration is needed is low enough that moderators can handle them manually.

  • 4
    Oli, throught you say that the incidence of migrations is low, is because we prefer to do not bother moderators with flags and rather we direct users to ask their questions using comments/the close reason. If we had data points of how many questions gets closed by "OT>Not about Ubuntu" it will show us if we really need it. 2) Migrations is not for things that are on topic here and there too, but for things that are off topic here and on topic there (think, any question that is not about Ubuntu, like Mint, BT/kali, even SteamOS)
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 14:21
  • that will give an stronger push to users and will given time show them that when they are not using Ubuntu, there's another site that would accept their questions without drama, and then we would see a lower question counts that gets closed because they are not about Ubuntu, the close voters load will decrease, the moderation will be easier, etc. Is not about that AU doesn't want to be helpful, but what's the best way to be helpful for us. People would not stop asking questions here, but they will stop asking questions that would end closed.
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 14:27
  • 2
    Just a comment about the migration of Ubuntu to AU from UL, that was never in the request, if I'm reading it right. I believe this suggestion was to migrate non Ubuntu questions to UL only. I know you've worked hard as a mod here and appreciate your candor on the subject of migration. I'm curious if you'd be completely against this if we were to try it for some period of time and also if we attempted to coordinate this b/w our 2 communities in a more controlled fashion, at least in the beginning? Do you feel this would never be able to work?
    – slm
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 0:19
  • 2
    I don't think we would be against trying it out. But to be honest, I share the same opinion as Oli. If U&L is fine with the migration after a trial run for a month or so, sure, it'll ease the load off us, and that would be great. I don't worry much that users won't be pampered, they will learn to ask better questions eventually.
    – Mahesh
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 6:36
  • "There is always going to be significant cross-over between the sites. A Bash/Ubuntu question is going to be on-topic here, Unix.SE, SU, SF, and SO... And probably more. " - maybe this shows that separating sites like that was a mistake, and a model closer to Quora's is better (one site with many tags/topics). Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 1:46

Simply put - while it would be nice to have an all-in-one solution, they rarely work. Ubuntu is a Debian fork of Linux, with its own set of issues. Take, for example, the FFMPEG fight, which Ubuntu took sides in (rather than letting users decided between the two). Any who knows Ubuntu, knows how they handled the Unity desktop issue. These issues are specific to Ubuntu.

  • Through this is a discussion, it's also a feature request, so exactly what is your standing?
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 12:39
  • AskUbuntu is needed to deal with the differences between Ubuntu and standard Linux. Removing, or merging, into U&L (which serves Unix & Linux - generally) would be a disservice to those trying to resolve issues specific to Ubuntu, and not Linux in general. Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:09
  • 4
    We are not talking into merging anything. Please, read what are migrations paths
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:13
  • However - (just a thought) - the two communities can be linked, by the user via link to questions in either AskUbuntu or U&L I've done this on the FFMPEG issue casting a wider net, trying to determine whether an FFMPEG issue is a Ubuntu specific issue or a larger Linux/bug issue. Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:13
  • I was speaking generally, migration whether in part (single topic) or in whole defeats the purpose of community based support. Individual communities (like AskUbuntu and U&L) have individual interests (and concerns) and mutual interests. With this in mind determining what's "Off Topic" is highly subjective. Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:20
  • Further, since links and tags can be used to link issues together, migration paths become a mute point. Remember, not everyone in this community is an expert. We come here for community support! Not administrative abuse! Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:22
  • 5
    Ok, apparently you have not read the help center pages. It specifically says that any question that is not about Ubuntu or using software in Ubuntu is off-topic. Full stop. If you want to change that, you better ask another question.
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:33
  • 1
    When tracing a bug; a bug may be specific to Ubuntu. However, it also may be a larger Debian issue (Ubuntu is a Debian branch of Linux). This situation, is by definition "off-topic" but useful to the community in locating and resolving issues. If these groups are not for debug and community support (which does in certain cases result in "off-topic" questions). Then this should be clearly stated. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 17:02
  • 1
    I will say this again, you are not discussing the topic at hand. Ask your own question.
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 17:08
  • "Activate migration paths to Unix and Linux, should we?" The issues I've posed are on topic! They are in regards to circumstances that need to be considered - in the "should we" part of the question. I have no interest in being a moderator. However, my opinion was asked, when this question popped up -- so this is my ---OPINION--- . If you don't like it then -- fine. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 17:13
  • Again, you are discussing policies of the site such as on/off topic, which is not the main propose of this question. Your POV is just that we shouldn't, fine. Why? I don't know. You want to change the underlying causes that made me suggest this, ask another question.
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 17:16
  • 2
    The issue discussed here is whether there should be an option to migrate to Unix & Linux when users vote to close questions. This is a feature of many other SE sites but at the moment, no such choices are enabled here. Since you don't have enough reputation to vote to close on any site, you have never seen it which is why you have misunderstood the question and are discussing something completely different which is not relevant to Braiam's suggestion.
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 23:30

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