It seems appropriate that questions concerning the usage of different software go to Super User, but there seems to be a bit of confusion as to whether or not questions asking about specific websites (generic example: "Why can't I do [something] on Facebook?").

Should we be condoning these types of questions? With the way the web has changed things over the past few years, web applications can be treated almost the same as desktop software (another example: Google Docs vs. Microsoft Office).


5 Answers 5


It seems pretty reasonable to me. The border will become increasingly tricky to distinguish with more and more RIAs...

Why should it matter exactly where the software lives? I'm sure no-one would close a question where someone happened to be using a desktop app via VNC... if you think of a web app in the same way (just providing an extra level of indirection effectively) why would a web app be a second class citizen?

Fundamentally, are these "worse" questions in some way? Are they questions which won't help other people? Are they not about using software effectively? It seems to me that they could easily meet all the criteria for a good question; prohibiting them out of hand would be very odd IMO.

(That's not to say all questions about web apps will be good, of course...)


I do not care for them myself -- although as Ivo points out it depends on the question.

In general, I'd say it has to do with whether it's a simple "support" question or a real "power user" question about clever / interesting things to do with the site.

  • 1
    I agree that if you are simply asking how to do a simple task that should be clearly explained by the site in question's own FAQ or help documentation there shouldn't be any place for it on SuperUser.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 1:27

If a developer has a question about FBQL (for example), I see SO as a great place to ask. Joel has expressed his desire for SO to be the hub of knowledge when it comes to programming, even if that means accommodating the questions for other people's services (especially something as large as FB).

  • +1 Not sure what the downvote was about.
    – Diago
    Commented Aug 18, 2009 at 19:17
  • @Diago They hate me for my beauty ;)
    – Jonathan Sampson
    Commented Aug 18, 2009 at 19:19

Poking this question back (the original poster won't update anytime soon, and asking about it again would seem to be a duplicate) (consider eventually updating it with the following).

The FAQ for SU has been updated today, and now includes "websites or web services like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress" in the list of question to not ask.

Does it mean we are now on an exclusive closing behavior of all this kind of questions? Typically, we have a fair amount of question about specific things on GMail, should such kind of question be closed from now on, or do we apply a more "gentle" moderation on them on the model of Jeff's answer?

Edit: I mean only for new questions, not about applying the policy to previous questions.

  • I tend to only close them when they are bumped to the home page and attract attension. Retroactively applying a policy to old posts will take to much time for the moderators to manage.
    – Diago
    Commented Jan 17, 2010 at 12:25
  • @Diago - I mean only about new questions, regarding that we had successful and interesting ones in the past on some cases, like on GMail, hence my example.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jan 17, 2010 at 12:29

I don't really have a problem with website related questions, it's just that certain people are either asking for something impossible or are just asking for confirmation: they think something's cool and they want other people to see it. Sadly for them I fear a lot of other users don't like that.

It will have to depend on the quality and googleness of the question if it should stay open or be closed

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