Questions about the details of public policy are being migrated. For example, I asked this question about SSI. It's a real-world issue of public importance. However, it was migrated to Money.SE.

Why was this migrated?

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    The question in question: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/31729/… – chirlu Jun 24 '18 at 18:18
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    Someone is going to need to explain to me how or why the SSA's policy on disability is off topic. Because it literally makes no sense to migrate to another site. – user9790 Jun 24 '18 at 18:47
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    You would have a better case if you would add a reasoning why you think this question is on-topic on this site, instead of merely asserting "it is obviously a policy question". – user11249 Jun 24 '18 at 23:04
  • @martintournoji because i am asking what the SSA policy is. That's the entirety of the question – user9790 Jun 25 '18 at 0:03
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    I would not agree with the migration to Money SE, but for me it seems that this is a legal question, thus belonging to Law SE. It is not about politics ("why was the SSA created this way?"), but about the legal consequences of certain actions inside the frame of the SSA. I would also be careful with accusations of bad faith, as things are really not that obvious as you claim. – Thern Jun 25 '18 at 11:32
  • You say you've seen this "quite a few times." Could you give additional examples and why you feel they're symptoms? – GGMG-he-him Jun 25 '18 at 14:15
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    @thern you need to review the site's scope; the first item is policy. The site is more about government than politics to be exact – user9790 Jun 25 '18 at 17:39
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    Matters of Policy: Central to the idea of this site are the nuts and bolts of policies introduced by governments, presumably for the welfare of their citizens. As such, asking about the tangible benefits and costs of legislation is on topic – user9790 Jun 27 '18 at 16:25
  • I edited your question for tone. Please undo my changes if I misrepresented your intentions. As far as finding other examples, the migrated-away list might be useful: politics.stackexchange.com/tools/posts/migrated/away – indigochild Jul 2 '18 at 20:48

Commentor chirlu helpfully pointed us toward the question that spurred this meta topic.

Should it have been migrated?

Topics should be migrated when they are off-topic on the stack they are posted in, but on-topic in another stack (see the StackExchange meta post here).

In this case, the question is explicitly on-topic. Our Help page says:

Central to the idea of this site are the nuts and bolts of policies introduced by governments, presumably for the welfare of their citizens. As such, asking about the tangible benefits and costs of legislation is on topic.

When I first came to Politics.SE I imagined that this meant that the "nuts and bolts of policies" were on-topic. You seem to understand it the same way. After a lot more time wrestling with it, I think it's somewhat more complex. And unnecessarily so.

What this help document explicitly says is that questions about the "tangible benefits and costs of legislation" are okay. Costs and benefits can be interpreted broadly (that is, in non-financial ways), but your question is more about Social Security processes then costs or benefits. So it isn't explicitly on topic.

However, to justify that statement the Help document does say that the "nuts and bolts of policies" are central to this site. To me, this implicitly says that questions about the details of public policies are on-topic also.

Under this interpretation, which I admit is not entirely black and white, the users who migrated the question were in error. The question was on-topic here on Politics, and so should not have been migrated even if it was also on-topic elsewhere.

Can we fix it?

I'm a big fan of the idea, "Explicit is better than implicit.". Our Help page should be an authoritative guide to what is allowed or not allowed on Politics.SE. Unfortunately, it is not.

A long time ago I noted that our Help does not currently allow for political theory questions to be posted on Politics.SE. However, the community clearly supports it because these questions are posted and answered regularly. I tried to get the Help page updated, but it never got any traction. My own meta-post is here.

I've thought a lot about this since then. Overall, I'm convinced that the Help page and other pages are currently not helpful, and perhaps even damaging to the community. However, there is a significant lack of leadership in this community which prevents this kind of improvement. In other stacks I'm active on, it's common to see moderators actively developing community standards through meta posts, asking the community for guidance on issues, and using communal pages, comments, and other tools to help teach users to conform to the community's standards.

We don't see any of that here. Unfortunately, our leadership is also un-elected and relatively permanent. Since they are unresponsive to the community, it's unlikely that you will be able to improve the Help page without their unlikely benevolence.

Best wishes to you.

  • JFC, the second item in the scope section is processes. – user9790 Jul 2 '18 at 22:03
  • Policies are more encompassing then their cost and benefits. The Policy of the SSA would entail the law that created it, the regulations it passed, findings of it's IG and or Counsel about scope of rules, case law, and "Dear Colleague" or MOU that are less official rule making. I think all of that should be in scope. It's about the government's business after all. – user9790 Jul 2 '18 at 22:28
  • I'm not mad at you @indigochild. It just seems the site is broken and that simple, even apolitical questions like this one are getting bounced. – user9790 Jul 2 '18 at 22:30
  • It does say that. The cost/benefit sentence doesn't to me reduce the scope of what policies are. It's just an example – user9790 Jul 2 '18 at 23:12
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    I plussed one your answer. What i want is an answer from the mods. They moved it – user9790 Jul 2 '18 at 23:15
  • Philipp was elected. If you feel that there is insufficient moderation, you could make a meta post asking for an additional moderator post to be put up for election. – Brythan Jul 3 '18 at 0:11
  • I do not think the response to your political theory meta discussion was adequate to update the help centre. I'm very much against laundry lists, and I see no value in explicitly mentioning that political theory is on topic, especially since people had no issue asking and answering political theory questions on the site. That said, if you wish I could add a [featured] tag to the discussion and get some fresh eyes on it. – yannis Jul 5 '18 at 12:06
  • As for the apparent lack of leadership: Personally, I consciously took a step back. I was hoping (and still am) that the void would be filled by regular users, like yourself, and that the site would reach the point where moderators wouldn't be much more than glorified janitors. – yannis Jul 5 '18 at 12:12
  • @yannis Both of those are really reasonable responses. Thank you for the information. – indigochild Jul 5 '18 at 15:35

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