Worldbuilding SE looks like a pretty active place. They have a 'physics' tag, a 'science-based' tag, and a hard-science tag, and many of the people who frequent the site also have reasonably active Physics SE accounts.

A couple of times, I've seen questions which I think belong there, like questions about the laws of physics in hypothetical vehicles. Under what circumstances should I suggest that the OP moves their question to Worldbuilding?


Here're some helpful Worldbuilding meta posts I found

Physics questions with little to no actual story

A proposal to finalize the “are real world questions on-topic” debate

It looks like the general position over there is that if the situation is realistic and it happens, it's meant for Physics SE. But do we have some counterpart guidelines about when we should tell people that Worldbuilding is the better place for their questions?

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    I'm a bit confused what exactly you want to discuss here: The scope of worldbuilding.SE is not our topic - our meta is not the place where discussions about what kind of questions belong on worldbuilding.SE should happen, that place is theirs, and you already provided links to their discussions. We cannot prescribe what is on-topic on their site, only what is on-topic at ours. Additionally, our scope is not defined in opposition to any other site. If a question asks about mainstream physics, it's on-topic here. What do you think needs to be clarified about that? – ACuriousMind Sep 12 at 13:18
  • @ACuriousMind I wanted to know about what things we should suggest migration for. Like cases where I should leave a comment like "Perhaps worldbuilding would be a better home for the question?" I'll make the question a bit more clear; I get that it's a bit ambiguous in its present state. – Chair Sep 12 at 13:33
  • @ACuriousMind The SE concept is common in both sites, which results that - in theory - the topic of both sites are well defined. Thus, in theory, also the topic of $WB-PSE$ is well defined. With it: "our scope is not defined in opposition to any other site", I can't do too much, typically the scopes of the sites are defined roughly independently from eachother. – peterh Sep 12 at 13:35
  • @ACuriousMind So if I understand your comment correctly, questions like this, which are definitely mainstream physics, are perfectly fine here, although worldbuilding's guidelines suggest that it would be appropriate there. Is this the kind of case where a question is on-topic for both sites? – Chair Sep 12 at 13:37
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    @ACuriousMind The questions like "What is ontopic on another site" appear if it is about cross-site interactions, which are somehow suppressed on mysterious reasons. However, the problem seems to be unavoidable. For example, if someone's question is offtopic on the PSE, but it would be ontopic on the WB, then at least a suggestion to the OP to re-ask on the WB should happen. At least if the SE network wants to become more welcoming. – peterh Sep 12 at 13:40
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    You should suggest migration to another site if the question is on-topic there and either the question is off-topic here or you believe it will receive better answers (or the kind of answers the OP is really looking for) there. There's nothing special about Worldbuilding in that respect (e.g. we also have scope overlap with Astronomy and Quantum Computing). – ACuriousMind Sep 12 at 13:43
  • @ACuriousMind Just making sure I understood that... questions like the one I linked are appropriate and on-topic here on Physics. But since they are on-topic on (some other site), I can tell the OP that the question may receive better answers there. – Chair Sep 12 at 13:45
up vote 3 down vote accepted

As mentioned in the comments, the scope of this site is completely independent of the scope of any other SE site. That implies:

  • The fact that a given question might be on-topic elsewhere is entirely irrelevant to whether it is on-topic here.
  • The fact that a given question might be off-topic elsewhere is entirely irrelevant to whether it is on-topic here.

In other words, considerations about whether a given question would or would not be acceptable on other sites do not play a role in whether it should be closed if it's posted here.

Migration is a subset of closure: we only migrate things which are off-topic here, and that decision is independent of whether they are on-topic elsewhere; that only comes into the process when deciding whether the appropriate action is a straight closure or a migration. If a question is on-topic here, it shouldn't be migrated, no matter how on-topic it might be elsewhere.


Now, that said:

  • If a question has been closed and you feel it might be well received elsewhere on the SE network, you're free to suggest to OP that they flag it for migration.
  • If a question is on-topic but you feel that it would be better received elsewhere on the SE network, and that OP might not be aware of the possibility, then it is perfectly acceptable to suggest in a comment something like

    would X be a better home for this question?

    and it is then up to OP whether to flag for migration, or (with due regard to the network etiquette) to cross-post a re-tailored version of the question on the other site.

The things that you are not allowed to do in comments are spelled out in the Code of Conduct. So long as you conduct yourself politely, there's nothing stopping you from providing such suggestions.

  • "So long as you conduct yourself politely, there's nothing stopping you from providing such suggestions" I was more concerned about sending people about to the wrong place or driving away questions which are actually appropriate here. – Chair Sep 12 at 14:53
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    @Chair If you make a suggestion which is obviously wrong (i.e. something like "This is off-topic here and it belongs on site Y" on something that is on-topic here) then yes, you can expect a sharp correction. If you're really worried about that, follow the core guidelines: this site has its own internally-defined scope, and that's what you should refer to when telling people their question isn't a good fit here. You're always welcome to suggest, if you think that it is true, that a given question is a better fit elsewhere. – Emilio Pisanty Sep 12 at 14:58
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    @EmilioPisanty For the comment suggestion you quoted in the answer, I tend to prefer wording like "This might also fit well on X" because "...better home..." could be taken to imply that it's off topic here. – David Z Sep 12 at 19:46

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