I recently asked this question about how to know what type of coffee to use in a recipe, and how to be able to tell whether the difference will be tasted in the final result. I happened to give a specific recipe example because I was concerned that the question would be too broad without it.

I read Should questions about recipes involving coffee be considered off topic? before posting my answer and I was satisfied that my question was on-topic.


  • Coffee is a common ingredient in many popular deserts, and fits well here, as long as the 'gist' requires knowledge of not just cooking, but also coffee in order to answer.

  • If a question is on-topic on multiple sites, SE guidelines are that it can be posted on any of them. A question should only be migrated if it is definitely off-topic on the site it is on.

However, my question got migrated to Seasoned Advice. Why? Was it because I provided a specific recipe instead of asking for a general approach? In my opinion my question could have been asked on either site, but I posted it here because I specifically wanted coffee expertise about how to prepare the coffee to use in the recipe, and how to determine what type to use. I know a fair bit about cooking, but I know very little about coffee. Is there any way I could have worded my quesion better to keep it on topic?

Most importantly, why didn't I get a chance to edit it into shape before wham bam migration modhammer?

2 Answers 2


I wasn't the one who migrated it, so I can't really give an authoritative answer. I do think an explanatory comment would've been helpful, for sure. I also think the question is a better fit for cooking, but perhaps it'd have been best to do nothing; usually we don't migrate questions that seem to be on the boundary between site scopes, and this question is definitely on the boundary.

The rest of the answer discusses why I think it's a better fit on cooking, but do keep in mind I think it'd have been fine not to migrate too!

The key point in my mind is also made in the other meta question you linked to:

If it's more about cooking components, or cooking technique, then it's probably one for Seasoned Advice.

You say you wanted coffee expertise. But the question is about using coffee in a recipe, i.e. in the context of cooking. You're asking about one ingredient as part of a whole, about the combination of non-coffee flavors with other ingredients. People who are experts in making coffee are not necessarily experts in all of that, but people who are experts in cooking will know about how to use all kinds of ingredients, including coffee. It seems like a question that, despite your initial guess, is more about cooking than it is about coffee.

So I'm not sure exactly how you'd shape it up to make it more clearly seek coffee expertise. Coffee expertise will get you great answers about how much the flavor of different kinds of coffee differs, but not much about how obvious that'll be in the context of a tiramisu recipe. What were you trying to ask that cooking folks can't tell you?

Moreover, I'm not sure I'd make it a goal to keep it on coffee; it's not like it suffered because of the migration. When you're asking a question, the goal isn't to make sure it's on a particular site, it's just to get the best answers possible. I missed this when it showed up on cooking, but I think most likely the reason this didn't get any answers beyond the one that was migrated with it is that it's a pretty general question with a general answer, so it's hard to really give a more specific expert answer. (If it hadn't had that answer, you would doubtless have quickly gotten an answer on cooking, and been just as satisfied.) Nonetheless, I've added a few more thoughts!

Finally, to emphasize, I think it'd have been reasonable to err on the side of doing nothing, leave here, since you posted it here.

  • +1 for "fine not to migrate!" :-D
    – hoc_age
    Jul 30, 2015 at 15:11

Though I do think it's good to post a question at the site where it's most on-topic, there is an official(-ish) "policy on migration, at this answer to the Meta question on migration.

I recently had a bit of a discussion with the mods over at Seasoned Advice about this question about a coffeemaker. It was posted and had zero votes, zero answers, and zero other comments when I suggested that it get migrated over to here at Coffee. I got push-back from my comments and ended up chatting with her (SA mod) in Chat. Her perspective was very by-the-book (i.e., the aforementioned meta) that says

We only migrate questions because they are off-topic on the original site. It is perfectly possible for a question to be on-topic on multiple sites, but that is not a reason to migrate it elsewhere. As a general rule, if someone asks a question here, and it's on-topic here, it should stay here."

(My emphasis added). I was hoping, due to context, that they'd be willing to migrate this very on-point Coffee question to Coffee.SE -- nope. I disagree in this particular case, but she's a mod there and I'll respect her adherence to policy and conviction!

That said, migration should be "uncommon". To OP's point, I think the question in question should remain here. The Coffeemaker question, I think, should have been migrated here. This may sound relativist, but we're young and can use on-point questions such as that.

My opinion: If you, as an OP...

  • are posting a question that is on-topic at multiple sites, and
  • are aware of both sites, and
  • choose to post it at site A instead of other sites (as @starsplusplus did in this case),

then I maintain that it should not be migrated. If any of these assumptions are missing (e.g., OP likely doesn't know about other more-on-topic site) then it's up for discussion.

The hoc_age doctrine: "If the question involves coffee, ask it at Coffee.SE!"

  • Just discovered this. I don't think it's really fair to imply that cooking is doing badly when a question has no votes or answers after less than a day. That routinely happens here as well. I also think your doctrine is oversimplified; if something is about cooking involving coffee, as I said in my answer, people with experience cooking with coffee are much more likely to be able to help than people who focus purely on coffee.
    – Cascabel
    Aug 12, 2015 at 19:58
  • In any case, at this point it's probably best to stick to the established migration policy, which is basically as you describe minus the "are aware of both sites" - I'm not sure how productive it is to try to verify that. (I haven't been checking if people here know about cooking, for example.) And in that context, not many questions are going to be up for discussion in the way your answer suggests. If you do want to discuss migrating questions we probably have to have a talk about where to draw the line before we draw any particular OP into it.
    – Cascabel
    Aug 12, 2015 at 20:08
  • All that said, I of course agree that it's great for people to post here if they want (I have), and you're doing well with the questions you have. I'm just wary of trying to control where people post at this point; it seems like you'll have a much better community if it's built naturally. I'll start a discussion on cooking meta to try to get a sense of how people feel about it all, though.
    – Cascabel
    Aug 12, 2015 at 20:51
  • For the question you can't migrate, you could simply re-post, and (if you want to) delete the original. There's nothing to prevent "manual migration". Aug 21, 2015 at 4:32

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