-12

This site claims to be “for computer enthusiasts and power users” as of 2024-02-22.

A power user can be roughly associated with a user performing system-related tasks, including tasks for many users simultaneously, doing system administration (also partially), or having elevated privileges of some form. (Of course, it might be possible to improve the definition of this term – that's not the point of the question.) In any case, the term “power user” is thus at least approximately defined in technical or administrative terms, and is thus measurable in general.

On the contrary, the term “enthusiast” refers to someone who is enthusiastic (“filled with enthusiasm” according to https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enthusiast). This noun expresses how a person feels (rather than what he/she does, how he/she does this, or his/her formal roles), and is thus not well measurable (unless you're into poetry, prose, or any other kind of artistic means to express your feelings, or psychology, which this site is probably NOT about). Subjectively, though emotional stuff (say, xkcd jokes) is sometimes posted here, I consider feelings to be chatty and in general off-topic here on this site. Further, it is questionable whether the enthusiasm of a person is as persistent as his/her duties, tasks, or roles. To give an example of the volatility: in the morning, you might feel enthusiastic about writing a bash script, and in the evening, you're tired, and, colloquially, it just sucks.

In this meta question, we ask to either

  • replace the term “computer enthusiasts” by a more precise term that is better measurable given a user's textual content (question, answer, comment, or chat message) or
  • remove the phrase “computer enthusiasts” altogether.

Of course, though you could simply take a better measurable related concept instead, such as “computer addict” (addiction, being an illness, is defined, characterized, and studied more precisely than enthusiasm), I believe that this community is capable of doing better on formulating the scope. Or am I wrong (concerning this capability)?

12
  • 2
    we ask to either who is "we"? Is the account AlMa1r used by multiple people?
    – Gantendo
    Feb 22 at 16:35
  • @Gantendo We = the author and the reader.
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 22 at 22:10
  • 1
    "Or am I wrong?" from what you've said in chat, you absolutely are wrong on the meaning of 'superuser' and 'enthusiast'
    – bertieb
    Feb 22 at 22:22
  • 1
    Enthusiast - " person who is very interested in and involved with a particular subject or activity". Emphasis mine. You've cherry picked the enthusiasm part of the definition and ignored the part about active involvement in the topic..
    – Robotnik
    Feb 23 at 0:21
  • @Robotnik We write American English here, and not British English, so let's take Merriam-Webster (instead of Cambridge). In merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enthusiast, we see, “a person filled with enthusiasm: such as (a) one who is ardently attached to a cause, object, or pursuit (b) one who tends to become ardently absorbed in an interest”. Here, nothing is said about being involved.
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 23 at 3:04
  • @bertieb Concerning “my comment was a literal response to your Q's last sentence” No, it was not. You intentionally misinterpreted my last sentence, which clearly referred to the last paragraph. By the way, just a tiny hint here: since you started to take things literally, as you wrote, you should probably also take the site name superuser.com literally. Just so as not to contradict your very self.
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 23 at 14:03
  • 1
    It was a response to your last sentence in light of the content of your Q. If you don't like it, think it was misinterpreted, wrong or stupid or emotional or imaginative or whatever other attributes you think are negative- fine, you can decide that. What you you don't get to decide my intentions. You have your answer, do with it what you will
    – bertieb
    Feb 23 at 15:08
  • 3
    @AlMa1r - “We = the author and the reader.” - But only you are asking, as the reader, I don’t agree. You suggest we should replace the phrase but don’t make any suggestions.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 23 at 15:55
  • @Ramhound This “we” is a standard way to involve the reader into discussion. Of course you may agree or disagree with certain parts of the text; no questions here. As for your “don't make any suggestions”, you're wrong, strictly speaking: one suggestion is stated, namely, “computer addict”. At the same time, I hope this community can come up with a better one. Of course, if you (here I intentionally depart from “we”) folks are really not addicts.
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 23 at 16:49
  • 1
    Computer Addiction is a serious problem, I am not sure we want to describe our community, as users with addictions.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 23 at 17:05
  • @Ramhound I completely agree that we probably don't want to describe our community as users with addictions (even if some or many of the users are).
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 23 at 17:50
  • 2
    enthusiast - A noun, is “a person who is very interested in a particular activity or subject”, which describes myself a computer enthusiast perfectly.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 23 at 18:15

2 Answers 2

9

There is no problem with the description

The description of the site's intended audience is, well, descriptive. It is non-exclusive and non-binding. It suits us well.

Overly-literal interpretations of site titles† will lead you astray

In the context of the site, 'super user' (and 'power user') does not mean only a user with elevated privileges. It's a neat little pun based on that definition. Similarly, enthusiast doesn't mean someone who says, "gee, I'm so enthusiastic to be working with a computer".

They are terms which, as generically as I can phrase this, refer to people with an interest in solving a goal using a computer.

This site's scope is fine and its terms are broadly understood

In light of the above, this is a site for asking questions about how to achieve things using programs written for computers, by and large and as again as generically as possible. You may feel the title and audience description are lacking technical precision, but since we don't need it to be in technical or administrative terms, that's okay.

What would updating the description practically change?

Perhaps the description being non-technical and non-administrative is not okay for you. I have considered the suggestion from your perspective. I see at least two possible outcomes:

  • everyone immediately respects the new description and the site audience's is gatekept -- this would massively reduce the scope of the site; from one of the "big three" to something very narrow

  • no-one reads the updated intended audience description, or they ignore it in terms of what is actually on-topic; I don't see this being a useful change

understanding is a three-edged sword

I invite you to try to understand that most don't have an issue with the site's audience description.

We can leave The Truth for philosophers :)

†(so maybe don't ask the stats folks why they are annoyed, and which organisation is vetting them)

9
  • I'm sorry you felt insulted, but I have made no jokes in comments- the only place I have is at the end of the answer, which uses humour to point out that if you are going to angrily insist on a narrow definition of words for one site, there are others where that would apply. So my answer stands- your interpretation of the words is too literal and at odds with however many thousands of people have used the site
    – bertieb
    Feb 23 at 8:55
  • Concerning your “at odds with however many thousands of people have used the site”: You cannot prove it, so it's wishful thinking. Unless you get thousands of upvotes here, you have clearly overstretched your imagination.
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 23 at 14:02
  • (shrug) This site has existed for over a decade without the name being a significant issue. If you wish to overturn the status quo, you have to prove there is a problem
    – bertieb
    Feb 23 at 15:04
  • The problem has been already stated; I can't help if you fail to understand it.
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 23 at 16:45
  • 4
    The response has also been stated :) I understood it just fine, and I disagree that it is a problem
    – bertieb
    Feb 23 at 17:00
  • Again, concerning your “a neat little pun”: this site is not for puns. You you wish to have puns (or jokes in general), go elsewhere.
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 23 at 17:55
  • I'm not sure why you're obsessing over puns, but they aren't off-topic or not for this site. If you feel they shouldn't be, you are welcome to suggest that in a new question here on meta :)
    – bertieb
    Feb 23 at 20:10
  • 2
    There's a long tradition of memes and humour augmenting answers. And asking people to go elsewhere isn't nice and we request you refrain from that
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Feb 24 at 1:38
  • @JourneymanGeek If jokes are really tradition, I'm ready to overwhelm this site with jokes, and would expect them to remain open. In this case, “go elsewhere” is a “humour augmenting” comment.
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 24 at 11:58
6

The question is a request for strictness. Fine, I'm going to play along.

The phrase "for computer enthusiasts and power users" is not equivalent to "only for computer enthusiasts and power users".

The page containing the phrase is entitled "What topics can I ask about here?". If it was entitled "Whom is this site for?" then I would expect it to answer this exact question comprehensively, so from the lack of descriptions other than "computer enthusiasts" and "power users" I would conclude the site is only for them.

Instead the page is about topics, i.e. about questions, not about users. The sentence "Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users" is just a preamble and I see no reason to assume there is (or ever supposed to be) an implicit "only" there.

You pointed out that "power user" is reasonably well defined, reasonably well measurable; and "computer enthusiast" (allegedly) is not. What difference does it make? Nobody verifies if any user is a "computer enthusiast" or a "power user"; we have no means to do so even for the well-defined term.

It's not a coincidence "What topics can I ask about here?" exists as a help page and "Whom is this site for?" does not. The important thing is being on-topic (for questions) and answering the question (for answers). Even if one is neither a "computer enthusiast" (whatever it means) nor a "power user", but manages to write a suitable question or answer, then it fits.

For me the phrase "for computer enthusiasts and power users" is fine as it is.

6
  • Nobody wrote “only”. And at the same time, if you say that X is for Y (e.g., “the Ukraine is for the Ukrainians” or “this WC is for women”), you usually do mean “mostly” or “only”. If you do think that “mostly” or “only” are wrong here in “for computer enthusiasts and power users”, then what you call (allegedly) a preamble would be void of meaning (because the phrase would encompass everyone) and should be dropped altogether. In this case, feel free to go on and start a new meta question on this.
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 23 at 16:43
  • @AlMa1r Exactly! I wanted to show that if we want to be precise (you started it) and consistent then the phrase indeed encompasses everyone. So what difference does it make if some part of it is fuzzy or ill-defined? You wrote "feel free to go on and start a new meta question on this", but I see no point, because for me the phrase is fine as it is. It only has meaning if we allow some colloquialness, but then why should "computer enthusiasts" bother us? Our help pages are not legal contracts, IMO a term not present in your dictionary is not a problem. Feb 23 at 18:34
  • Concerning “what difference does it make if some part of it is fuzzy or ill-defined”: If a person values his/her own words, he/she shouldn't say or write ill-defined stuff. In technical/engineering matters, he/she should also not say or write fuzzy stuff. Otherwise whatever he/she says or writes has little to no value. Do you wish that this community has no value?
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 23 at 18:58
  • @AlMa1r You picked and attacked one phrase, but now we see that if we wanted things to be strict and meaningful then the whole sentence is to be changed or removed. So what is the point in changing just one part of it? "Do you wish that this community has no value?" is eristical, I can say "do you wish our help pages were as formal as most EULAs?" and it would be similarly exaggerated. My answer to your eristical question is "no". My answer to "does one fuzzy statement make the community lose all its value?" is also "no". Feb 23 at 21:12
  • I “attacked one phrase”? Oh no; I took one phrase, namely, the first flaw in what your wrote, as it's pointless to read further. It's YOU who probably felt attacked, while all I do is just typing. As for “eristical”, it applies to your own comment. “The point in changing just one part of it” is to value one's own words, unless you prefer to talk meaningless junk just for the purpose of wasting the reader's time, of course. I strongly oppose to talking garbage. If you don't see value in precise statements in technical matters, you can't be helped. Leave fuzziness to poets and politicians.
    – AlMa1r
    Feb 24 at 0:34
  • @AlMa1r I like precise statements in technical matters where they are worth it (example). Some sentences on the Internet are fuzzy, some people on the Internet are wrong. Some people cannot stand it, some people take it easy. I'm not going to waste your time here anymore. Feb 24 at 7:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .