I ran across this fairly popular question about downloading an M3U8 file on Windows 10: Downloading m3u8 videos that was closed.

I don't spend a lot of time on Super User, but I'm struggling to see how this question is off-topic for this site.

It appears to be on-topic according to the site guidelines in the help center, as it is about computer software and not about one of the restricted categories:

Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. If you have a question about …

  • computer hardware,
  • computer software, or
  • personal and home computer networking

and it is not about

  • programming and software development,
  • video games or consoles,
  • websites or web services like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress,
  • electronic devices, media players, cell phones or smart phones, except insofar as they interface with your computer,
  • issues specific to corporate IT support and networks,
  • asking for a product, service or learning material recommendation,

… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

It also doesn't appear to fall into any of the types of questions to avoid asking:

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”
  • your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use ______ for ______, what do you use?”
  • there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”
  • you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”
  • your question is just a rant in disguise: “______ sucks, am I right?”

Why isn't this question on-topic for this site?

  • 3
    I would argue it shows absolutely no research effort. By the way, "What’s your favorite ______?", would be seen as a question seeking our opinion. The link you provided apparently does not make that clear. This question was closed as out of scope, before the close reasons were changed, which is the reason it displays the message it does. If it was closed today a different close reason likely would be more appropriate.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 18:21
  • 1
    @Ramhound I can see where "I have tried all the ways to do that but I couldn't download them." could have been changed to a more specific summary of what was tried and how they failed.
    – M. Justin
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 18:40
  • 2
    @Ramhound As for research effort, some sites (Stack Overflow, English Language And Usage) do a better job of calling out research expectations in their help centers than Super User appears to. From what I can see, there's a couple places suggesting that showing research effort is helpful (superuser.com/help/how-to-ask), (superuser.com/help/quality-standards-error), but nothing obviously called out at the top level, and nothing that states it's a reasonable reason to close a question.
    – M. Justin
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 18:43
  • 1
    You have your answer. The question got upvotes due to the answer, that doesn’t mean, the question needs to be reopened. The deleted questions proved it needs to remain closed.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


Note: This answer was written for the previous version of the QA asked about

It's (Potentially) About Websites

From the bit you quoted:

  • websites or web services like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress,

from the question:

here are the links for the videos: http://s6.vidshare.tv/hls/pdommq4tlsm4f4kmledsh5d5fcn27i35msjxqw62l,w63wt5bgaqhzzy5tnfq,7p3ut5bgaqjxkd423pq,fflut5bgaqkj42irb5q,.urlset/master.m3u8

a URL in a question doesn't automatically make it off-topic, but:

It's also not a great question in present form

Given the paucity of explanation from the original querent, it's hard to know if the problem exists on the user end, eg: wrong download program, program invoked incorrectly, some other local error (ie on topic, notionally); or on the server end, eg: geo-fencing, URL changes, incorrect output in M3U8 (ie off topic, notionally).

There are comments to this effect on your Q and in the original:

Both links produce a Not Found message. With the links unavailable and the relevant discussion in archived chats, I'm not sure if this thread will be useful to anyone else

(On that note, the sole answer (at time of writing) suggests to use ffmpeg your youtube-dl, which may be fine advice as they often work, but it lacks a bit of explanation as to why those work in lieu of whatever the OP tried. Should they be thrown at any m3u8? any video from that site? that one video?)

If this question came up today in its present form I would vote to close it, pending further details. A question which is closed for what appears to be the 'wrong' reason but which would, realistically, stay closed for another reason should stay closed.

  • @bettieb - The author of this question isn’t the author of the subject question. They just had an edit proposal rejected.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 19:58
  • 1
    @Ramhound I know, I didn't mean to imply that the two were the same but I typed up the answer rather hastily- would be happy to edit! Which bit should I revise to make that clear? :)
    – bertieb
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 20:14

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