I'm told that question migration paths don't just appear automatically, but we ought to discuss which ones we need.

(Why not? I always expected the list to be populated the same as the upper-left corner button, and never knew why it never worked.)

So, what other SEs do we find useful for this list? I'll start a community answer.

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    $\begingroup$ I would really suggest making one answer per site, rather than one big answer listing a bunch of sites. That way, we can vote on each suggestion, and then take the top ones. Since we can't have an unlimited number of migration paths, it makes sense to add those that the community feels would be most useful, and voting would be a good way to indicate this. $\endgroup$ – user Nov 17 '15 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ How many slots are available? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Nov 17 '15 at 22:51
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for kicking this off. Re "why not all of them like the site selector?", because we don't want to overwhelm users with many irrelevant choices. I don't know the hard limits here, but the migration dialogue is designed to have 3-4 choices (one of which is meta). So we should really be trying to identify our top two or three choices here. Also, I second what Michael said -- one answer per will let the community vote on those options. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Nov 17 '15 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ I'm wondering if we should use the paths we think will be useful, or the ones we want to be useful. Like I'd hope that most questions in need of migration should go to RPG or Writing, but I imagine many more will actually end up being physics or astronomy questions. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Nov 18 '15 at 3:00
  • $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh We should have the migration paths that are useful (i.e., needed based on experience), not the ones we want to use. We don't want to have to close as off topic anything here. $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz Both Super User and Stack Overflow have their respective metas plus four more sites, and the dialog looks like it can accomodate one more entry. So I'd guess that four, or possibly five, is the limit. If we can demonstrate an actual need for more, then it might be possible to expand this, but I wouldn't count on that. $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 8:24
  • $\begingroup$ Relevant from the SE FAQ: meta.stackexchange.com/a/10250/162102 $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Dec 3 '15 at 23:19


We get lots of questions that are about real-world physics. While the answers may be used in building a world, the person most able to answer such a question isn't a worldbuilding expert, but a physics expert.

Questions about real world physics should be migrated to the Physics SE.

  • $\begingroup$ Does this mean questions about fictional solar systems (habitable zones, revolution, etc.) should be asked on Physics, instead of here? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Nov 18 '15 at 13:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I don't think so. For a start, the examples you list would be more along the lines of astronomy than physics. Also, if a question is about building the world, then it should be fine here. It's the what is our world like questions that belong on other sites in the network. $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ Your Astronomy answer indicates that that site is only for real-world systems, rather than the fictional ones we tend to create here. Between the two answers, I was getting the impression you were suggesting solar-system building should be done elsewhere. Maybe I'm just reading too much into this... $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Nov 18 '15 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I was breaking out two sites as suggested migration targets which (a) have had a comparatively large number of migrations from us and (b) cover subjects which come up semi-regularly. For example, if you are building a solar system and want to know if a stable orbit is possible around a binary star, that's likely to get good answers from an astronomy expert, more so than a worldbuilding expert. (Same if you want to know when galaxies collide.) If you are building a solar system and want to know about likely effects of a hypothetical large asteroid impact, that's probably better here. $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ So we don't like solar systems anymore? Those tend be among the more popular questions. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Nov 18 '15 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Solar system questions are fine. Questions about our world are likely to receive better answers elsewhere, because there are likely categories of experts other than worldbuilding experts who can provide better answers. If you don't think we need to establish migration paths to Physics and Astronomy, feel free to downvote. I posted the two answers I did here because I think voting for each proposal separately makes it clearer what we want and don't want, and I posted them because I think the specific proposals have significant merit. That doesn't mean my words are gospel. $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, Lord Diamond Mod, I meant no offense! :) I'm just trying to make sure I understand stuff. I don't have a problem with either. In fact, I'll bypass my more normal voting apathy and vote both up. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Nov 18 '15 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre No offense taken! We aren't changing the site scope here; we're largely just trying to figure out how to give the community better ways to handle some moderation tasks without involving diamond moderators. Leave us for the tricky, exceptional cases. :-) $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ I and other on the WB SE have physics backgrounds (MS in Engineering and Sr. level physics courses). While we can't field all of the questions we can field most of them. Should we only migrate questions we can't answer or anything physics related? I'd suggest the former rather than the latter. Similarly I have extensive knowledge of the solar system with an eye towards colonization of bodies, what sort terraforming might be required, etc. We could migrate those questions to Astronomy but they might be better answered here if possible. $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Nov 18 '15 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ Discussing terraforming with technological, social, and narrative implications is Worldbuilding. Asking what the orbit details would be is a "real" problem in celestial mechanics, which is math informed by physics of interest to astronomers. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Nov 18 '15 at 17:22
  • $\begingroup$ I see I'm late to the party, but in response to a comment somewhere far up the chain: astronomy questions are on topic at Physics. $\endgroup$ – David Z Dec 7 '15 at 7:23


Lots of questions are pure physics questions and don't involve worldbuilding even if the situation is hypothetical.


Just today, that started this discussion. People designing settings on other planets might want to know what is "out there" and other characteristics about other kinds of stars etc. These are "real knowledge" questions with their own communities.


Likewise, hypothetical questions on non-exotic life forms can best be answered by a biologist, and sometimes questions are mundane real-existing-knowlege questions.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

What previous stories have used the idea? Or is it involving an existing "shared universe" rather than designing a new one?


Closely related! Often times general SF plot and character ideas surface here and need to be turned away.

Is there a reason to keep the list short? Or at least to keep it ordered manually rather than automatically sort by actual use? If someone asks a Chemistry or Economics questions once we can't migrate it because we didn't think it would be a common thing.

  • $\begingroup$ I like this set but we've also had occasion to use ones like programming, medicine, and math (but much less frequently). Do we just add these lesser frequency paths as needed? $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Nov 17 '15 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ Why can't you just migrate to any SE? That is, why is a short list anything more than just a handy menu for common cases? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Nov 18 '15 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know. I'm new to this too. $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Nov 18 '15 at 4:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Jim2B As I said also in the comments to the question, a diamond moderator can migrate any question, unilaterally, to any site in the network. That feature is not available to regular users because even familiarity with the origin site's scope doesn't guarantee familiarity with the subject scope of all other sites. (Not that having a diamond really does either, but we can always drop into the moderators-only chat room and ask, and we are supposed to know better than to migrate questions to places where they would be off topic.) $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 8:21
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    $\begingroup$ Thus, if the community comes across a question that needs to be migrated to a site that is not listed as a migration target, it's a simple matter to flag that question with a custom flag and suggest that it be migrated to a specific site. A moderator would then review the question and the suggested target site's scope, and take appropriate action. $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, the goal here is to handle the common cases by the community and leave the moderators as exception handlers for the rare cases. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 18 '15 at 9:20
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    $\begingroup$ The scope of Writers seems to be a poor fit for what you describe, likely precisely for the same reason why we don't want those questions here: they tend to only be useful for the original asker. $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ Michael is right. Questions about what to write are off-topic on Writers, as are critique questions. Writers is about the techniques of writing, not about specific pieces of writing. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Nov 18 '15 at 15:24

If we are to establish the migration path based on our current numbers, we can use this to have an idea. Although, it seems like many more questions could/should get migrated away.

Statistics for questions migrated away to:

  • WB Meta: 6
  • Physics: 3
  • RPG: 3
  • Astronomy: 2
  • Cognitive sciences: 2
  • Engineering: 2
  • Science fiction and fantasy: 2
  • Super user: 2

Only one occurrence: Ask different, Earth sciences, English Language, English learner, Freelancer, History, Home improvement, Law, Pets, Movie/TV, Philosophy, Space exploration

  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to see a path to Space Exploration. I can see where we should have cross over questions with that board. Possibly Earth Sciences too. $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Nov 18 '15 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a "Fantasy" or "Medieval" board other than the SciFi & Fantasy? $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Nov 18 '15 at 0:36
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    $\begingroup$ How do you have statistics if it hasn't been done before? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Nov 18 '15 at 2:15
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz It's a moderator tool. Also, questions can be migrated even without the migratory path. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Nov 18 '15 at 2:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Jim2B No, fantasy should go into science fiction and fantasy. And with medieval, there is the History SE. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Nov 18 '15 at 2:40
  • $\begingroup$ So questions are migrated and have been, in a way other than the Flag/off-topic? I see 29942 was not migrated but is On Hold. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Nov 18 '15 at 2:53
  • $\begingroup$ Are these successful or all migrations? I know that we've had at least one migration rejected (I believe to Movies & TV). $\endgroup$ – Brythan Nov 18 '15 at 5:15
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    $\begingroup$ @JDługosz Because almost all questions that get put on hold and closed are so by the community. Migrating to any site in the network, as opposed to established migration targets, is a diamond-moderator-only feature. We now have a chance to establish which sites would be useful as community migration targets. Questions that don't fit any of them can be flagged for moderator attention and request migration to any site. $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 8:18
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    $\begingroup$ Keep in mind - public migration paths are primarily for there actually being enough of a load that moderators basically are insufficient. If there's only a handful a month, that's something very easily handled by flagging for a moderator. It being a logical migration path is secondary - for example Arqade has never had a migration path to Game Development, despite the obvious logical link, because in the long run so few questions asked actually need to be migrated there. At the moment these statistics demonstrate a lack of need for a public migration path update. $\endgroup$ – Grace Note Nov 18 '15 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ @GraceNote Your point is well taken. Keep in mind though that a lot of questions that probably are on topic on other sites simply get closed as "not about worldbuilding" and are never even suggested as migration candidates. Come to think of it, maybe we need to address that first... $\endgroup$ – user Nov 18 '15 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Brythan All 3 of the migrations to RPG.se were rejected, so I suspect this is all migrations, not successful migrations. $\endgroup$ – Miniman Nov 24 '15 at 4:28
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling But would those questions be acceptable on other sites without rewriting the question? It's often better to refer them to the other site rather than migrate their question. Closing the question as (e.g.) Unclear What You're Asking would reject the migration. We should only be migrating good questions. Questions that are malformed on any site should just be closed. If the question is on-topic on another site, we should refer them. Then their new question can get editing guidance from the on-topic site. $\endgroup$ – Brythan Nov 24 '15 at 5:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Brythan We do get some questions that aren't really a great match for worldbuilding but could easily be welcome on other sites. For two recent examples, consider What happens to the possessions of a deceased Jane/John Doe? (voted net +4 on Law) and What does the interior of a spacesuit smell like? (voted net +3 on Space Exploration). Generally speaking, I feel background facts research questions are often more appropriate on other sites. $\endgroup$ – user Nov 24 '15 at 8:10
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    $\begingroup$ Very surprised to see that no questions have been migrated to Writers, honestly. $\endgroup$ – corsiKa Nov 25 '15 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling I have found most items that I initially think "this should be migrated", once analyzed, are too low quality for -any- site on the network, on-topic or not and I just force close them. $\endgroup$ – corsiKa Nov 25 '15 at 20:04

Daring proposal: no migration paths (other than meta). Here's why:

We have a lot of questions that are on-topic here, but collect migration votes to sites where they are also on-topic. That's not how SE is supposed to work. As discussed in Respect the Community -- Your Own, and Others', we should jealously guard our on-topic questions rather than sending them away. Sometimes a question can be asked on more than one site; the asker chose to ask it here, so if it's within our scope we should answer it here. Of course, if it's not within our scope (but is otherwise a good question) it should be migrated to a site that can help.

I am concerned that we don't all agree on the science-related aspects of our scope. For now, I would like those migrations -- which have been few in number thus far -- to get some extra scrutiny. First the community should close them as off-topic, and then -- if they are good questions (wouldn't just be closed as too broad or unclear etc on the target site) -- they can be flagged for migration.

If they're not off-topic, they shouldn't be migrated. If they are off-topic, let's make sure our scope as expressed through the Help Center is as clear as it can be.

See also: Meta.SE FAQ post on migration.

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    $\begingroup$ Agreed. We should not be closing questions because they "can be asked on physics" (or history, or chemistry or whatever). If someone is building a world they may want a physics answer but in the mindset of a world-builder. $\endgroup$ – James Dec 3 '15 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ Additional note. If we have a question and the poster is not getting the answer they want from us, THEY can ask to have the question moved to a different site. $\endgroup$ – James Dec 3 '15 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ This. I see no reason to move these questions, just because they're on-topic somewhere else. We have folks here who can answer them; I think we're qualified to keep them. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Dec 9 '15 at 16:51


Questions about real world astronomy are better off asked to astronomy experts. This site is intended to cater to the hypothetical, so if a question seeks purely science-backed answers about astronomical phenomena in our real world, whether or not the intention is to integrate the knowledge presented in answers in a work of fiction, that question should be asked on the Astronomy SE.


Space Exploration

There have been several times where I was about to ask SE and then realized it would be better on WB, and vice-versa.

Questions about space elevators, interplanetary exploration / space colonies, exposure to space, satellites, etc. could frequently be posted on SE's page, but just fit better here since there's an open to speculative science.


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