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It's hard not to notice that some of our meta discussions are going in a somewhat toxic direction. The bulk of these issues surround migration decisions.

If I may (or even if I mayen't) -- we're engineers. As engineers, we realize that there are dozens of acceptable pathways to solutions. Sometimes the chosen solutions are ones that gibe well with our concept of what the solution needs to be, and sometimes they don't -- but if they get the job done, and the outcomes meet spec, we consider the process successful.

So, what is "spec" here? I suggest that spec is a) finding the asker an acceptable answer in cases where questions are of sufficient quality to enable that result; b) helping the asker, or at least providing the asker with opportunity to improve the question where a) isn't met; c) maintaining an accurate and searchable archive where people can easily find solutions to solved problems; and d) maintaining a pool of involved experts who are happy to help people.

Toward this end, I suggest that discussion about migration decisions be driven by OUTCOMES, in the context of both the sender and the receiver. In fact, since migrations can be turned down by the target site, perhaps even limiting discussion to EESE is appropriate. That said, the asker is an important stakeholder, with needs that are important.

Let's talk about a, b, and c for the moment. "This shouldn't have been migrated" is frankly a whine. "This shouldn't have been migrated, and because it was migrated the outcome with respect to a, b, and c was poor" is not a whine. If the asker got a good question answered, and got the best answer that the question allowed for, and the historical archive (including the migration path and pointers from the original site, maybe??) is intact, the SE process has performed to spec, and hashing it out over and over is a waste of resources from an engineering perspective. If the outcomes weren't good, then discussion is appropriate and helpful.

"D" is a little trickier to address. If people are offended by migration, regardless of whether a-c are met, the community can be hurt. If people find the ongoing argument about migration tasking, well, once again, the community can be hurt.

Additionally, we can address whether my spec list is correct. I posit that there are those who believe that every migration of a question that is on topic here is a failure of our process. I'm happy to discuss this. In the context of a-c, I'm not sure I can agree. If the question gets a good answer that searchers can find, I think that's an acceptable outcome. If those who disagree with that can link me to the "why", perhaps I can understand that viewpoint a little more clearly, and I'm willing to hear it.

As I've said before, I'm not in agreement with some of the moderation decisions that have been made-- I suppose that's one of the reason why we have community elected moderators. Even sans agreement on all these decisions, I'm still good with respect to "D" (though my "expert" status can certainly be brought to question ;). I can abide by the decisions and participate as a community member.

Now, in total frankness, the ongoing meta bickering might well chase me away from the meta. I don't say this because I think my meta participation is particularly valuable or necessary-- but I do want to point out to the participants that there is more than one way that a site can become less than pleasant.

In any case, I'd like to encourage people to discuss migration in terms of OUTCOMES, and express my opinion that migration in and of itself, even for on-topic questions, is not necessarily a poor outcome.

There -- I've done my level best to try to put this in a context that none find offensive. I'm sure I've failed, and I'm sure that I'll hear about it from the offended parties -- but the last few weeks have shown me why my parents used to say "Don't make me stop the car" when my brother and I used to argue in the back seat.

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Concerning migrations

So, what is "spec" here? I suggest that spec is a) finding the asker an acceptable answer in cases where questions are of sufficient quality to enable that result; b) helping the asker, or at least providing the asker with opportunity to improve the question where a) isn't met; c) maintaining an accurate and searchable archive where people can easily find solutions to solved problems; and d) maintaining a pool of involved experts who are happy to help people.

I definitely agree.
To me personally, the archive is the most important, more important even than finding the asker an acceptable answer. That maintaining a pool of experts is important, is a nobrainer.

If the asker got a good question answered, and got the best answer that the question allowed for, and the historical archive (including the migration path and pointers from the original site, maybe??) is intact, the SE process has performed to spec

The problem with migrations to Arduino.SE is that it's a beta site. If it gets shut down, all useful questions have to be migrated back in order to maintain that historical archive. Migration pointers only live for some time and then disappear. Let's face it: we have more users than Arduino. Users searching for some electronics design question come here, not on Arduino. When migration pointers disappear, they can't search them anymore.

"D" is a little trickier to address. If people are offended by migration, regardless of whether a-c are met, the community can be hurt.

I do not consider myself to be in the pool of involved experts. However, there surely are cases of experts that got lost due to the climate on this SE site. A recent example was Mark Rages. I do not know it myself, but it wouldn't surprise me if also Anindo left (partially) for similar reasons. So this is in fact a problem we're facing right now.

I'd like to encourage people to discuss migration in terms of OUTCOMES

Theoretically, I agree. Practically, there are some issues/disagreements concerning what is an "outcome". Is how many people get to a question from a search engine an outcome? Considering spec C, it is. But how do we measure this?

Maybe we don't have to measure it. It is obvious that EE.SE scores higher in search engines than Arduino.SE. For this reason, I would argue we should always try avoiding migrating to smaller sites, unless the answer that would be given there would be significantly better than the answer that would be given here. Unfortunately, this is not happening right now. Most of the questions that were mentioned in the recent discussions here on Meta would've been answered very well here as well.


As a side note: I noticed a chatroom has been instantiated for moderators of EE.SE and Arduino.SE to discuss the migrations. If that is used more for questionable migrations (before the actual migration), that would probably be a big improvement. There's one issue though: it's partially also the community's task to come up with guidelines for migration, and this role may get forgotten.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I see you changed your UID. Can you start it with a normal character so I can flag comments to you? \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Apr 18 '15 at 21:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman I'm sorry. "Display name may only be changed once every 30 days; you may change again on May 18 at 20:48"... I didn't know that before I changed it, otherwise I would've done something else. Apologies. \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 Apr 18 '15 at 21:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ No prob, but try to follow up on ongoing conversations on other users answers for the time being. I'm sure I'll be able to get it right on a pc, but not so for my tablet. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Apr 18 '15 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman you can copy and paste the name and it'll still work. \$\endgroup\$ – Anonymous Penguin Apr 26 '15 at 1:47
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The outcome of "omg you dare use an Arduino and/or RPI your a fake engineer gtfo n00b" becoming the default prevailing attitude new users experience here, is the problem.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not that I agree that this is what's happening, as there are plenty of Arduino tags that get good answers every day, but if this is, in fact, the prevailing attitude, and this is a community moderated stack .... \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Apr 16 '15 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ To be a bit more specific, there have been 17 migrations to Arduino since Mar 30, and about 70 total questions with Arduino tags over the same period. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Apr 17 '15 at 1:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ As far as I can tell, this attitude only affects "omg I got an Arduino I'm a total geek now what do I do with it" kind of questions. It's not the community fault that Arduino/RPi correlates strongly with bad questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Apr 21 '15 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DmitryGrigoryev not exactly. I think the community is evolving in a way that is more welcoming to Arduino users, but there is some strong opposition. \$\endgroup\$ – Anonymous Penguin Apr 26 '15 at 1:45
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Disclaimer: Arduino SE mod here. My opinion is not necessarily the opinion of my community; it is my own opinion.

Let's talk about a, b, and c for the moment. "This shouldn't have been migrated" is frankly a whine. "This shouldn't have been migrated, and because it was migrated the outcome with respect to a, b, and c was poor" is not a whine. If the asker got a good question answered, and got the best answer that the question allowed for, and the historical archive (including the migration path and pointers from the original site, maybe??) is intact, the SE process has performed to spec, and hashing it out over and over is a waste of resources from an engineering perspective. If the outcomes weren't good, then discussion is appropriate and helpful.

The thing is, unneeded migrations do not conform to your specifications.

  • b) Helping the asker, or at least providing the asker with opportunity to improve the question: The issue is unneeded migrations hurt the asker.
    • I've noticed that very few askers of migrated questions from EE -> Arduino have an account on Arduino after a respectable amount of time. I'm not even sure that they know their question was migrated; SE doesn't do notifications for closed questions.
    • If they did find out, it leads to a bad UX. We all are familiar with the migration pages, but a new person isn't. I've seen more than a few users get upset over question closure when they didn't realize that they could edit their question to nomiate it for reopening (despite the help text on a closed question).
  • c) Maintaining an accurate and searchable archive where people can easily find solutions to solved problems: EE has a higher ranking in search engines.
  • d) Maintaining a pool of involved experts who are happy to help people: Unneeded migrations damage Arduino's pool of contributors. I've seen people getting close to leaving Arduino Stack Exchange because of the terrible migrations and I've gotten numerous complaints from a handful of people complaining about this issue.

There is an issue that you don't see. Arduino SE doesn't have the review community built up yet to handle mass migration to us that's unneeded. Sure, migrate an IDE question here or there, but there's no need to remove quality posts from our community.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ ... which is indeed why we normally don't migrate to beta sites. There is no reason why we should do that in this case if a post is not bluntly off topic here. jQuery-haters on Stack Overflow don't migrate jQuery questions away, and don't close them -- then why should Arduino-haters here migrate everything away? Thank you for your answer, Annonomus Penguin. \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 Apr 26 '15 at 8:37

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