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I understand the utility of voting. Though I was wondering if a distinction should be made between:

  • off-topic question that should be deleted
  • off-topic question that should be moved to stackoverflow or statsexchange for instance

I know that one can notify the admins by reporting the post, but should they be downvoting as well if the question is relevant but sadly on the wrong channel and ought to be migrated?

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    $\begingroup$ I generally just report or vote to close, not downvote. Up to your judgment. $\endgroup$ – Sean Owen Nov 8 '17 at 23:29
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In general I would say that just because it needs to be migrated, is not a reason to downvote.

One of the ways to approach the question of Should I downvote, is to look at the text from the downvote button tooltip:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful.


enter image description here


So, a question that is merely off-topic does not fit into this description. This also means that the other reason you stated: off topic that should be deleted is likely also not be a reason for downvoting. If a question is merely off-topic, the proper response, as Sean said in his comment, is to flag/vote to close.

If the question is good, but should be someplace else, then you can flag the moderator to migrate.

One important note: if you are going to flag for migration, try to be sure that the question will be on-topic at the suggested destination. A poorly written question will off-topic everywhere.

All sites in the network have a page at /help/on-topic to try and describe what is expected at that site. Something like:

https://{sitename}.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic

So to summarize:

  • A well written, interesting, on-topic question should be upvoted.
  • A question that is poorly written should be downvoted.
  • A question that is off-topic should be flagged/voted for closure.
  • If the off-topic question would be good on another site, then flag for migration.
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