In the recent days there has been a (thankfully) small trickle of questions migrated from Stack Overflow.

Here are two that I stumbled upon, probably there are more:

To be honest, I'm a bit unsure why these have been migrated here. They both seem to have good and accepted answers, although some responses are of dubious value at best, and are of the answers-should-be-comments, or not-really-an-answer variety.

Incidentally, the second question has already been asked and answered here in the olden days of TeX.SE:

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I'm not even going to discuss the reputation these questions have accumulated, that would be another question entirely.

What I'm asking is really summarized in the title, but here are a few more points:

  • What is the policy on migrating questions from other StackExchange sites, particularly related to Tex.SE?
  • Why old and answered questions are migrated here, when the original inquirer is long gone, and we have better alternatives?
  • Are we going to see this continuing in the future, and if yes, is this a Good Thing (tm)?

Perhaps I'm missing the point of migration, but I always thought it should be for (challenging) questions that are better answered somewhere else, not when they already have good and accepted answers.

  • 1
    Both of these questions have been asked by SO users who are now also TeX.SX users. So they might have initiated the migration themselves.
    – Caramdir
    Jan 28, 2011 at 16:33
  • Or, perhaps it was TeX.SE users who are also SO users, but had trouble finding those questions at SO because they were looking here. Or some combination of the two. (I think I might be partly responsible for the former one migrating, in fact -- I recall having flagged some question I saw over there for moderator attention, suggesting in the message that it be migrated here, and that certainly might have been it.)
    – SamB
    Feb 3, 2011 at 17:44

5 Answers 5


Questions should only be migrated if they are off topic. If the question would benefit from the input on another site, better, I think, to ask the question there again. Remember that the person who asked the question may not be interested in this site outside of that question, not have an account, &c., and there are SO participants knowledgeable about Tex&c who are not active here.

Existing discussion

Migration and the on/off-topic question has been discussed on meta.SO:

and meta.SU:


Re-ask the questions, or link to existing equivalents, and make sure each question links to the other. Again, only migrate questions that are off topic where they are now.

  • 1
    Can you please fix the link? Jan 30, 2011 at 9:22
  • @Hendrik: Fixed, thanks. Jan 30, 2011 at 9:55

Generally I don't think it is going to be a big problem, as long as we do some cleanup. It would probably be useful if mods/high rep users get notified of migrated questions in order to do that.

If the questions are duplicates, we should simply mark them as such (in the present case it is a bit hard to tell which question is a duplicate of which, as marking the newly migrated question as a duplicate of the old one, will make them reference each other in a circle).

If there are bad answers or comments, or comments that do not fit anymore after migration, they should be mercilessly deleted.

If the questions are badly written (or written with a different audience in mind), we should simply rewrite them. Same goes for answers. Especially if the posters aren't TeX.SX users, that won't hurt anyone and might even give us good questions/answers.

  • you are correct that these question migrations tend to be initiated by users on this site who flag the question for migration on that site. Jan 29, 2011 at 5:18
  • How does one delete? I seem to recall there being a delete link on closed questions before. I don't see one now.
    – TH.
    Jan 29, 2011 at 9:24
  • @TH. They need to be closed for at least two days.
    – Caramdir
    Feb 2, 2011 at 17:26
  • Ah, thanks.
    – TH.
    Feb 3, 2011 at 23:05

I can only say that I also find it rather strange that these old questions with no recent activity are migrated here; in fact, I mentioned the issue in this question on meta. It's good that you're bringing it up as an issue of its own, but I'm not sure if there's anything we can do about it. So I can only answer the last question: I fear that we'll continue to see this, and no, it's not a Good Thing.


I concur with Caramdir that notifying mods/high rep users of newly migrated questions would be useful - not only because there may be duplicate questions or badly written questions/answers, but because nearly every migrated question will have to be retagged. (I myself have removed the tag from such questions at least two times.)

  • 1
    Apparently mods and 10K users get a list of migrated questions. I don't know why it isn't available at lower rep levels.
    – Caramdir
    Feb 2, 2011 at 17:28
  • @Caramdir: That's news to me! (but having been told that it exists, I find that I can now find it - thanks) Feb 3, 2011 at 11:46

Speaking as a new participant, for purposes of doing research, it would be helpful to have all TeX questions on the same sub-site or sub-domain. So yes, migration is good, and it's helpful to have a record of answered questions for the long term, even when those questions may have later and better answers.

I was surprised when my initial TeX question to stackoverflow was migrated here. Since this site exists, migration makes sense, of course, but in that case I'm puzzled as to why all the older TeX questions on the same site have not also been migrated.

When I search google using the site: tag, all site:stackexchange.com entries can be searched together, but when two separate domains are involved, a combined search query is not always effective if there are a large number of hits. For instance,

`(site:stackexchange.com OR site:stackoverflow.com) xetex`

seems to prefer stackexchange matter;

`site:(stackexchange.com OR stackoverflow.com) xetex`

seems to prefer stackoverflow.com material.

  • 2
    The reason that the old questions haven't been migrated is simply that nobody wants to sort through 2000 questions to make sure that they really belong to this site, are properly tagged and aren't bad questions/duplicates (well except lockstep maybe ;-))
    – Caramdir
    Apr 11, 2011 at 2:53
  • 1
    Additionally, many questions tagged [latex] on SO should stay there, e.g., stackoverflow.com/questions/5587626/git-merging-within-a-line Apr 11, 2011 at 13:59
  • Well, how about some sort of cross-referencing system? The more different places one has to look, the less useful a site is. Apr 24, 2011 at 3:21
  • @brannerchinese At one point I requested something similar on meta.SO. :) Oct 18, 2012 at 13:10

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