When a migrated question is rejected, the destination copy is locked to prevent two copies of the same question being in play at the same time. This is a good thing. Locking is a tool, and this is one possible reason to use it.
However, in many cases the question is deleted from the original site, and due to a design bug the destination copy is never unlocked. When this happens, the lock has only negative effects:
- The question cannot be deleted.
- The question cannot be edited, improved, and reopened.
- The question cannot be retagged and is often left untagged.
Keeping a frozen copy of a bad question around doesn't make any sense. If it did, we'd lock all of the bad questions we close. Instead, we leave them unlocked so they can be deleted, etc.
Moderators should either unlock these questions so the community can deal with them, or they should delete them to remove them from the site entirely.
I flagged one such question, and I received the following response from a moderator:
The migration was rejected, so we don't want to keep an LQ question open on our site. I'm not sure how/why it was deleted on ELU, but it was originally their question so perhaps raise the issue there?
But of course, I never suggested the question should be open, and this has nothing to do with ELU—the question exists only on ELL, so it's entirely up to us what we want to do with it.
In short, it doesn't appear that the moderator understood why I was flagging or what I wanted to accomplish. I'm writing this meta post to fix that problem, to make my point of view clear.
This is particularly unfortunate in those cases where a migration is rejected with a reason like "Details, Please" which call for action on the part of the asker. For example, this question was closed with the following reason:
"This question should include more details than have been provided here. Please edit to add the research you have done in your efforts to answer the question, or provide more context. See: Details, Please." – WendiKidd
But of course, the asker wasn't able to do any such thing because their question was locked. We saw the same problem here, but in that case a moderator responded to my flag by unlocking the question. In the end, the asker never improved their question, and it remained closed, but I maintain that unlocking it was the right thing to do.
Unfortunately, it's difficult for moderators to spot every time this happens, even if they want to unlock in cases like this. Ideally, the system would only lock rejected migrations if the question was still around on the original site. For that, see this feature request on Meta.SE.
The following locked questions now exist only on ELL:
- What does "race their flags on the boards" possibly mean?
I'm fine with the questions being closed or deleted, but the locks serve no purpose.