The question was When was it discovered that the stars are not all lying on the same sphere?.

It was on-topic, had attracted answers, and mine was accepted (from memory, it's not accepted now).

While it might have made sense to migrate the question soon after it was posted, or if it was off-topic, it makes no sense to migrate an on-topic question after an answer is accepted.

Of course, I would not be mentioning this if not for the fact that the rep from my answer has also disappeared. That was 1/4 of all the rep I had earned here! This is not what I signed up for. The Help page What is reputation? How do I earn (and lose) it? makes no mention that rep can be lost in this way.

And then the history has been erased. On my user page, there is no mention that I ever answered this question, gained that rep, had the answer accepted, and then lost the rep.

I am, to paraphrase, mightily annoyed. Rep is meant to be the measure of our value to the community. To me, the History community has just said that does not value my contribution.

  • Relevant mate discussion on HSM meta.
    – HDE 226868
    Nov 26, 2014 at 23:41
  • As the person who asked the question, I was also a little puzzled (although my rep points seem intact). Bring it back.
    – Ne Mo
    Nov 28, 2014 at 18:12
  • As HSM rejected the migration - Can we pull it bac k to History? Seems like a waste to lose a well answered and accepted question for no reason. Mar 14, 2015 at 23:39

4 Answers 4


I just created a History account to answer this question, and because I think there may be some dialogue in the future between HSM and History. I say this to make it clear that I'm writing this post from the perspective of a user on HSM, not as a member of the community on History. I can't claim to be a member here yet.

I am, to paraphrase, mightily annoyed.

I sympathize with you completely. I disagree with the move, too. I totally understand your anger at losing rep points - I think it's unfair (Note, though, that it appears you can regain them on HSM by creating an account there. It won't quite make things up to you, but it could help). I created a meta post on HSM about these specific questions (yours and another one).

Quoting myself,

. . . it seems nonsensical to migrate the questions here for a few reasons:

1.They've each garnered a fair amount of attention on History

2.They don't appear to be off-topic on History

3.They already have accepted answers

4.They're exactly 7 days old

Call me crazy, but the move seems unjustified.

I don't know any of the mods here on History, so I don't know their motives for the migration. Another issue is that we don't yet have pro-tem mods on HSM (though there's been a discussion about it), so migrating it back (if that's possible at all) probably won't happen for a while. Above all, though, there needs to be some dialogue between the two sites.

I'm just going to end by quoting @Yannis:

It's not off topic here, so it shouldn't be moved anywhere. Especially to a brand new site that has a long way to go before becoming a permanent fixture on the network (I sincerely hope it will, but at this point we simply don't know).

  • 2
    Call me crazy, but the move seems unjustified. Exactly.
    – andy256
    Nov 26, 2014 at 23:47
  • Thinking I should change my screen name here. Maybe to Slarty Bartfast. Since it's not important.
    – andy256
    Nov 26, 2014 at 23:53
  • Ahh, you figured that out.
    – HDE 226868
    Nov 26, 2014 at 23:54

I've had high-rep answers migrated before on other stacks. Its annoying, but on the other hand it gives you a nice head start on that other stack. Your answer being applicable there shows you might have an interest there.

This may be a good time and place to discuss how we want to approach migrating questions to the new History of Science and Math stack.

This is a bit of an unusual situation, in that the new stack is essentially a proper subset of this one. To complicate matters further, we aren't exactly a thriving post-beta stack in desperate need of a split of some kind.

However, I've poked my head over there, and it does look like, for questions in their purview, a person is probably more likely to get a good knowledgeable answer there. Hopefully they can keep that quality up.

So what I'd propose is that we

  • avoid migrating any old (say more than 90 days or so) questions there.
  • for new questions, add comments informing the questioner of the other stack, and suggest copying or migrating their question there.
  • Add a similar note to our science--related tags
  • Thanks for the moderator input. I've had content migrated before on other SE sites, and although annoying it didn't have a cost that I noticed. Regarding the "upside" of having rep on HSM if I create an account, I had already chosen which History community to join. It makes no sense to me that there would be a separate HSM site (History is History and context is everything). That's what tags are for. It disappoints me that you don't propose a solution.
    – andy256
    Nov 27, 2014 at 1:40
  • For what it's worth, our viewpoint on HSM seems to be that there is no need for you to migrate any questions to us. See my answer at meta.hsm.stackexchange.com/questions/159. You can include however much math/science in your scope as you choose. One of the reasons for HSM to exist is for scientists to discuss technical details of history related to their own work which would have a hard time fitting here. Insofar as this site can handle science/math questions, I don't see any reason to migrate your questions to us, though we're happy to take good ones if you want to give them away.
    – Logan M
    Nov 27, 2014 at 1:56
  • Every piece of input I get on this reinforces my view that this should not have happened. Will it be undone?
    – andy256
    Nov 27, 2014 at 3:07
  • @andy256 I've flagged the question on HSM and asked the moderators there to send it back to History, referencing this discussion. Of course, it's completely up to whoever handles my flag to decide what to do with the question. Regardless, don't fret too much about reputation. It's nothing more than imaginary internet points after all...
    – yannis
    Nov 27, 2014 at 13:31
  • @YannisRizos Some of us have also voted to close, because that might send it back to History. We have no pro-tem mods, so it will be the community mods' decision. I'm guessing it will come back here within a few days.
    – HDE 226868
    Nov 28, 2014 at 14:59
  • 1
    "This is a bit of an unusual situation, in that the new stack is essentially a proper subset of this one." This has happened before. Questions now handled on Tex.SE used to be handled on StackOverflow. You can still find very old TeX/LaTeX questions and answers on SO. However, the scope of TeX.SE is very clear, so it's easy to stipulate that almost all questions that belong there no longer belong on SO. History.SE and hsm.SE will always have some overlap, though; it's a different situation.
    – Mars
    Dec 2, 2014 at 5:14
  • @Mars - Yup. I had several of my better answers on SO moved to the Programmers stack years later when that stack got created. And often the question got closed there. Really annoying.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Dec 2, 2014 at 14:29
  • "proper subset" -- there is one crucial place of no overlap. HSM allows for reference requests, which are prohibited in history stack exchange. Other than that, I agree in that HSM is essentially a proper subset.
    – Cicero
    Oct 3, 2015 at 19:41

First, to address the specific case: I've closed the migrated version of your question (and the other migrated History question) on HSM. That caused the migration to be rejected, which means the original post here on History should be back to normal again.

As already noted, one of the site moderators here moved the questions in response to several comments and flags requesting migration. The questions were, in fact, both on-topic at HSM, so there was nothing wrong with migration when looked at in isolation. I decided to reverse the migrations this one time to prevent them from becoming the start of a constant stream.

Now for the "why" of it all. The default action on any question should pretty much always have something to do with answers, whether it's reading answers or writing an answer. Only when something goes wrong should anyone start thinking about voting to close. That means that if a question is on-topic for History, it should probably stay at History, even if it's also on-topic at another site. This is especially true when a question is old, and/or already has answers, and/or predates the potential migration target site.

As T.E.D. mentioned, HSM is a "proper subset" of History, so cases like this are probably going to come up a lot, going forward. I encourage you to work with their community to figure out a better plan for handling migrations (and other interactions) in the future. To be clear, I'm not necessarily against further migrations; I just think it would be wise to have some dialogue. FYI, I've said roughly the same things to the HSM community in my answer to their meta post.

For some more background, please see our company blog post Respect the community – your own, and others’; it's getting on in years, but still quite accurate in describing our philosophy/position.

  • 1
    The answer I accepted second, RommelTJ's answer, didn't make it back over. He answered the question best. Can we bring his answer over here please? hsm.stackexchange.com/questions/567/…
    – Ne Mo
    Dec 6, 2014 at 8:17
  • "proper subset" -- there is one crucial place of no overlap. HSM allows for reference reuqests, which are prohibited in history stack exchange
    – Cicero
    Oct 3, 2015 at 19:41

Checking the HSM question list, they (to my mind) tend towards the past of technical trivia of science at the moment, rather than the humanities problem focused history of science I'm used to. This isn't problematic in anyway, and history of science and technology questions that develop here are very welcome here. Users may find that questions tending towards the past of specific science techniques get a better answer set at HSM, but that seems to be due to the community of interest effect, rather than a real topical separation.

Congrats to HSM, congrats to history. Both are useful, and the overlap is not problematic, it is rather fruitful.

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