As discussed here. SE is capable of migrating a large amount of questions from Math.StackExchange to History of Science and Math. The main culprit would be to go for questions under the tag .

What are peoples opinions on this? Obviously quite a bit of work will need to be done to the newly added questions. However in the long term we will be able to gather SE questions and answers relevant to the site.

This can also be expanded to other sites such as:

  • Math Overflow
  • Physics SE
  • Chemistry SE
  • Biology SE

etc. etc.

If people are divided on this view, I will host a poll but I think that the benefits (boost of wealth to the site etc.) out weight the disadvantages (extra moderation/reviewing and flood of questions etc.). Please post your views below.

Let me list some benefits:

  • Growth of question and answer wealth
  • Organisation of such questions across SE
  • Easier spotting of duplicates
  • Questions usually fit the style of HSM much more than their original site
  • Serves as a catalyst for new questions and answers thus boosting productivity
  • HSM actually begins to become a place where questions can be searched and found rather there being a shortage.


  • Flood of new questions
    • Questions and answers may not follow format/style/convention of HSM
    • Votes from one site may not project well onto another
    • Too many questions of one subtopic (could be different if other sites are included)
  • Retagging, reviewing, edits and duplicates will be a big job
  • Questions may not even be in scope of HSM
  • OP/Other users on original site not happy with migration (though this is not about happiness)
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I upvote this since I think it is good to discuss it (but I do not support the proposal). $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 18:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @quid Yes I will emphasise this more. We are here to discuss at this stage and not to vote. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 18:52

4 Answers 4


We should not migrate questions from other sites.

migrating a large amount of questions

If the questions are on topic at their current location, there is no reason to migrate them.

Easier spotting of duplicates

This doesn't matter. We only worry about duplicates if the question is duplicated on the same site, or simultaneously cross-posted to two sites. Otherwise, a question can be asked at two different sites, possibly in two different manners, and get two different answers. We do this all the time with quantum mechanics questions on Physics.SE and Chemistry.SE, and there's a similar phenomenon with cross-over questions between Physics.SE and Math.SE. I suspect we will get both different styles of questions and different styles of answers here than at Math, Physics, Chemistry, etc.

Too many questions of one subtopic (could be different if other sites are included)

This is already a problem; migrating questions from other sites at any kind of scale would be an unmitigated disaster on this count. At the time that I write this, we have 146 questions, 50 of which are tagged . Math.SE has 1005 history-of-math questions. Physics has 279 history questions. Chemistry has 26 history-of-chemistry questions. So the current imbalance towards math would become even worse.

HSM actually begins to become a place where questions can be searched and found rather there being a shortage.

The most sustainable way to do this is to get more active users to write questions and answers.

Serves as a catalyst for new questions and answers thus boosting productivity

This is a legitimate reason to use questions and answers from other sites as inspiration for new questions here. It is not a good reason for a mass import.

  • $\begingroup$ All very good points. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 23:41

I am very sceptical seeding this site via systematic migration is a good idea.

On Mathematics Educators the main issue after some time became that we do not get that many new questions (it is alright in my opinion, but it seems like a constant concern for several active users). To increase the initial volume is not a good idea in my opinion.

Of course, each individual is free, and should feel free, to take inspiration from whereever (and this includes math.SE) to come up with good question for this site.

However, I would have a strong preference questions are simply asked again. Doing this via migrations might be opening a can of worms, if not Pandora's box. (Will the OPs agree? Is this important? Is history of math now off-topic on math.SE? Let us better avoid these debates.)

Also, would we want questions where the OP is not around? This is typical slightly cumbersome.

It might be a good idea to harvest good history of sciences and mathematics questions on the sciences and mathematics SE sites, but I would rather not do this via migration and also not in an organized way (at least not now).

A massive influx of external questions could be detrimental to organic growth and forming of standards of this site.

To repeat, I am against a systematic migration of (older) questions, instead users might re-ask their (or others questions). Yet, of course, there can still be ocassional migrations of newly asked questions or questions were OP really wants the question to be migrated.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Agreed. This community should have its own standards and policies. Copying a lot of questions en masse from other sites will just impede our growth and make more work down the line in terms of determining this community's standards. Good questions can be asked on an individual basis. In addition, it's probably better if they're asked in a way more specific to this community rather than just copied wholesale. $\endgroup$
    – Logan M
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 23:18

The total number of questions in math.SE with the tag "math-history" is 1,005. Of them, 186 have no answers: https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/math-history

Is it prudent to massively migrate the latter, or would it be best to review these unanswered questions, and select those that are up-to-standards as questions and are actually suitable for this site, and then flag them for the math.SE moderators to perform the migration?

I tend to side with this last approach, rather than blind massive migration.

  • $\begingroup$ We definitely have a choice in which questions we want. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 17:37
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Moderators can not migrate questions more than 60 days old, and are encouraged to not migrate questions which are on-topic on the present site (especially to a beta site with an uncertain future). While SE developers can, they're not likely to do this regularly or to a beta site. If Math SE has decided that math history is on-topic there, we shouldn't be trying to get them to migrate their on-topic questions here in bulk or individually. In my opinion it's better to re-ask the good ones here in a way more specific to this community. $\endgroup$
    – Logan M
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 23:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @LoganMaingi Although I would ask the mods and the SE executives "why keep imprisoned unanswered questions?" (since the OP may no longer follow his unanswered question and so there will be no chance that he will personally re-ask it on a new site -still this does not make it unworthy of an answer), your proposal solves this issue also. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 23:30

You cannot transfer MO questions or math SE questions because this site does not have MathJax. In general, I don't think this site can be an interesting place for math related questions without Mathjax.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice, I hadn't thought about that. The thing is, most of the math-history questions don't involve much math, so it might not be a huge problem. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ I will not be interested in this web site if there is no MathJax. Why is this such an unsolvable problem?? Why other similar sites have it? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ I'm just as annoyed as you. It's up to the SE team to decide that. I figure that we might have a ruling on that when pro-tem mods are appointed. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ Never mind - we got! $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 21:23

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