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With some frequency I stumble across posts that, while interesting, are asking something about the History of Physics rather than Physics itself. As a consequence, with the same frequency I find myself typing the closing reason "I believe this should be asked over at History of Science and Mathematics Stack Exchange".

Now, I checked the Help Center and it seems mods can migrate questions to any site in the network, but since I feel this is a sort of common closing reason not listed on the current options, I wanted to ask your opinion on whether it would be interesting to add it as a closing reason. What I have in mind is to add HSM to the list of "This question belongs in another site in the SE network" group, alongside Meta and Math.SE.

A related question that has been asked before is this one about adding an "Other" option for the list of migration sites, this one about Electrical Engineering SE and this one that also asks for an "Other" option, but I believe the specific case of HSM hasn't been discussed yet.

To be clear, I'm raising this discussion because I feel like I might be voting to migrate to HSM more than to Math, although I don't know the actual data for the whole site (would love to see the numbers if anyone has them!). Also, it seems the previous discussions might be outdated. How does the community currently feel about this?

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    $\begingroup$ In the last 90 days, there have been 26 migrations to Mathematics (19% of which were rejected) and 1 migration to History of Science and Mathematics as well as 1 migration to Electrical Engineering (both accepted). $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Aug 30 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ Pre-defined paths are not a good think, IMO, as there is no chance for the community here to revert a migration (i.e., to say that a question does very well belong here). So in essence, it takes 3 people here who say "I don't want to have this content here", and as long as it also fits the other site, it is gone. (@ACuriousMind : Seeing the 19% rejected migration to Math -- which means that likely, a significantly higher fraction of those would have seen by the community here as also suitable here -- I wonder once more whether the migration path to math is a good thing.) $\endgroup$ Aug 30 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind Regarding the numbers, I would suspect there is a bias to more likely migrate questions to sites with pre-existant paths, simply because it is easier to flag for that (which I would say is confirmed by this very question). $\endgroup$ Aug 30 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ For completeness: The other migrations (each a single question) in the last 90 days are: Computational Science (accepted), TeX - LaTeX (accepted), Worldbuilding (rejected), Academia (rejected), Astronomy (accepted), Aviation (accepted), Chemistry (rejected) $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Aug 30 at 17:37

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I do not think a migration path to hsm.SE is a good idea. Let me remind you that most history questions are still on-topic here, even if they are also on-topic at hsm.SE. In general, questions should only be voted to be migrated when they are off-topic here, not simply when you think they might be better elsewhere. When authors want to have their questions migrated (which is perfectly fine even when the question is on-topic herE), they have to use custom moderator flags anyway.

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    $\begingroup$ I wasn't aware history of physics questions are on topic here. In any case, the numbers and the points made by you and Chris seem very fair =) $\endgroup$ Aug 31 at 1:40
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Before today, the last question to be migrated to HSM was this one, all the way back in May.

Migrations tend to be problematic for a number of reasons. If a question is migrated away, it is gone with no chance to be reopened without moderator intervention. Even more problematic, if the question is closed on the target site, it is rejected and is no longer able to be edited or reopened.

A fairly typical pattern network-wide is closing a question that has minor issues, editing those issues, and reopening it. Migrations break this pattern.

In other words, questions shouldn't be migrated unless they are already on-topic on the target site without needing any edits. This is sufficiently unusual that in most cases I think it is better to encourage the poster to edit their question and ask it on HSM themselves.

In any case, When should we consider adding a default migration path? makes it clear that it would be rejected by SE anyway:

Single digit migrations in the last 90 days and/or rejection rates that can order a drink without ID are signs that the path will be a waste of time to establish.

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting quirk: Our current rejection rate from math.SE could order a drink in most of Europe but not in the US ;) $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Aug 31 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind "order a drink without ID" is more around 40. $\endgroup$ Sep 1 at 9:05

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