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We could do a lot to better serve the SU community if we killed off some tags en masse. If we're going to maintain many confusingly similar sites, perhaps we should just reject tags like which really don't belong here. An info bubble or a redirect to ServerFault seems to be at hand. I can think of a lot of tags like this too.

Many of these questions are easy and moreover, there is very little activity or interest in them. Defining the scope the Q/A site is prime to it being useful, permitting people to make accidents that technology could easily resolve is kind of silly.

I think a mechanism that does this could even be extended to the title. If the title has nginx perhaps the user should be immediately prompted with a suggestion that the question is probably not best asked here.

  • 2
    Only 5 of 71 nginx questions are closed on SU. Why would you say they don't belong here? Of course, they might be better suited on other sites (e.g. Server Fault, but only if you're in a professional environment), but: If a question is off topic here, on topic elsewhere, we'll just migrate it for the OP—simple as that. If it's on topic here, we won't migrate it and the question is fine. So, what exactly is the issue? – slhck Feb 22 '13 at 19:33
  • Because we know it is better suited on another site by the very subject matter of the question. There is no might about it. If the question is tagged nginx and pertaining to a web server then it is better suited for the SE about server administration and configuration, and they're more likely to get the help they need from that community. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 19:34
  • Just look at nginx there are 15 questions on the FP of the tag listing, of those 15, 6 of them have a chosen answer, 7 of them have no answer whatsoever: and 100% of them after review are better off on ServerFault. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 19:38
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    I agree it'd be useful to point the OP to a site where they'd get better exposure for their question, but that's why we can (gracefully) migrate them somewhere else. Banning a tag and actively driving away the OP from the site before they even posted their question is very likely to be confusing for new users who simply don't know the peculiarities of scope overlap. – slhck Feb 22 '13 at 19:38
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    ... except when someone wants to run it in a home environment. I don't think SF are joking with that bold line near the top of their FAQ. Given that this is a pretty big change that would be affecting a lot of sites, are there any examples other than "nginx on SU" that would show there's a real need for this? – Daniel Beck Feb 22 '13 at 19:39
  • Then do it silently, auto-migrate the question, or politely inform them the basics of SU and why the question probably doesn't belong here. I'm not suggesting a confusing mechanism, but we should make a strong push -- with technology -- to get these questions to a more apt venue, because the moderators aren't doing a satisfactory job in my eyes: fastcgi and openldap would be another great example. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 19:41
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    Don't feed the troll – user35787 Feb 22 '13 at 19:51
  • @Iain please address the topic on the merits and be civil, no need to call names. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 19:54
  • @TFM so you're telling me that the cost of the software and not the role it plays decides what site receives questions about the software? Seriously? stop trolling. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 20:08
  • @TFM The best server software is FOSS. And, even if that wasn't true -- simply being a 1%-er and buying expensive software doesn't make you any more of a system admin than buying a 10 million dollar Picasso makes you a professional painter. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 20:57
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    The comment about FOSS being best and 1%'ers validates Iain's statement quite well... – Jacob Feb 22 '13 at 23:35
9

Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

Do you really mean to suggest that computer enthusiasts and power users don't want to run nginx or related software at home because they're enthusiastic and/or power users?

Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators.

Running home servers (and self-managed developer workstations) is outside the scope of Server Fault, so migrating questions about running a personal, at-home nginx server would be inappropriate.

  • Your definitions are inaccurate. Per SU's own FAQ, "If your question would be of interest to professional system and network administrators, ask on Server Fault." It's not the role of the questioner, it's of whose interests the question would be more geared too. I'm not a chief, I am a programmer. However, I'd ask questions about cooking on Cooking.SE and not on StackOverflow. We should apply the same logic here. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 20:07
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    @Evan Regardless of what's in our FAQ, it's for Server Fault to decide what questions they want. (You also said yourself that most of these questions were "easy", and I'm fairly sure that those wouldn't be a good fit for SF.) – slhck Feb 22 '13 at 20:09
  • @slhck SF doesn't reject easy questions. And, the point is that they're not answered here. The right way for you to argue this -- though, imho, you'd be on the wrong side regardless -- is to find enough violations of my generalization to make the issue moot, which you're not even trying to do. It's almost as if you agree that their existence here is mainly because the mods did not migrate, though they overwhelmingly should have -- that's exactly why I bring this up. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 20:12
  • And, I don't think you remove SF's right to deny a question because you point a questioner to them; but, SU isn't a dumping ground for all questions, right? That's the argument SU has always made, and we should apply it here too. If the question probably doesn't belong, suggest that. If it certainly doesn't belong, deny it! If you're asking questions about nginx conf settings, you're no more a computer hobbyist than a amateur system admin. Likewise, an automotive driver asking questions about camshaft sensors isn't a mere driver: he's an amateur mechanic. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 20:16
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    SF doesn't reject easy questions. In fact, they tend to get very high upvote counts. SF does reject crap and home users. – Michael Hampton Feb 22 '13 at 20:20
5

I don't know why this has -10, it's not a bad suggestion.

However it is not a new one.

For a long, long time people have suggested that certain tags which have a very high question count on other sites, generate warnings such as:

Hey! It looks like you're writing a letter!

Hey, it looks like you're writing a letter!

No wait, let me try again.

Hey! It looks like you're asking a question about [javascript]. Stack Overflow has 13,333 questions about [javascript], would you prefer to ask your question there instead?

Of course, some tags have different meanings across different sites, which could be problematic.

I'm sure you can find questions about this on meta.so already, such as

This question may belong to <Another site>, consider migrating

... and so forth.

  • You're probably right about asking this question on MSO. However, because of technical malfunctions on MSO I can no longer ask questions there. I'm left trying to improve the network here. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 20:54
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    Technical malfunctions. That's funny. – Robert Harvey Feb 22 '13 at 22:14
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    Don't forget, downvotes on meta (generally) signify disagreement and this would suggest significant disagreement. Or are you trolling him back ? – user35787 Feb 23 '13 at 7:21
3

It's not the moderator's job to police every question. Only those that are brought to their attention.

Plenty of users might have questions about those software packages wherein they do not fall into a professional administrative or development role. Such questions are on-topic here and would be migrated to a site where they are off-topic per your suggestion.

This would affect all the SE sites and should be posed on meta.StackOverflow.com. Please post there.

2

I don't think banning these tags would have any positive effect on our off topic post stats. It would also most certainly be detrimental towards Server Fault, who would see an uptick in home server questions after our "helpful hints" or tag bans drove users to the site.

Being a site for computer enthusiasts, some of us just might be running with all our home computers joined to . Or maybe we want to use a with our wireless routers? (That guy definitely would've gone to SF if there had been a hint...) Could be we want to P2V our aunt's computer using so she can remote in to the VM while I'm working on the physical machine.

None of these tags are terribly good examples of anything, but I'm sure you see my point. The mere use of a particular technology does not by any means guarantee our question belongs on Server Fault, and whether or not we're working in a professional capacity is something a tag can never decide.


As for Stack Overflow, they're a much more popular site than we are. I imagine most people will land there before SU anyway. Do we even migrate enough to SO to worry about it? (If somebody could pull up the stats for me I'd be grateful.)

And even if we do migrate lots of questions to SO, what tags would we ban? would be a mess. There's valid reasons to tag a question with (that one was migrated from SO to here). is a huge no.


All in all this sounds like it would cause more problems for SO and SF than it would fix for SU.

  • I think your premise is flawed. If you want to run business windows-server-2008 and connect business computers to active-directory what site would you suggest? And, why should it matter that it's at home. Lastly, again I'd like to reference SU's own FAQ, "If your question would be of interest to professional system and network administrators, ask on Server Fault." – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 22:28
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    "and it is not about… Anything in a home setting" - SF FAQ – Tanner Faulkner Feb 22 '13 at 22:33
  • And, why do you think a bed and a kitchen excludes an office-setting more than active-directory excludes a home setting? Most peoples homes don't have proprietary ldap installations that can handle 50 simulations user logins. – Evan Carroll Feb 22 '13 at 22:40
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    See Michael Hampton's answer. – Tanner Faulkner Feb 22 '13 at 22:42
  • Argumentum ad nauseam is not going to help you here. – Michael Hampton Feb 23 '13 at 7:28
2

Running a single server off my spare atom box is entirely on topic on SU, even if for some reason I decided to throw on AD on it. I'd of course, point the lovely people at SF on it at such a question since I'd like to make sure the people who know about this subject matter answer it. Likewise if I got my hands on say a 48 port cisco switch, and wanted to set it up at home is still SU material. I mean, some people have those lying around in their junkboxes

Maybe if for some reason the SF folk hated us, having questions on 'business grade' software or hardware. Would be an issue. SF and SU communicate on migrations, and there's some overlap in the userbase. I've even asked for some SU worthy questions that were unloved on SF to be migrated in the past.

I'd say rather than a blanket ban, we really need to just let the users handle things their way, and the mods to handle the exceptions - which is what is being done now. I don't see any downside to ngnix questions or any other moderately 'professional' gear being discussed here.

  • What if you want to run a 5,000 node super-cluster at your house, still on topic for SU? – Evan Carroll Feb 23 '13 at 18:32
  • You'd have bigger problems than what's the right site to ask, such as overloading the local grid. I can see people running ngnix/lamp at home, hell, until recently I self hosted on a small atom system running ubuntu. I don't see people running acedemic grade supercomputers at home however. – Journeyman Geek Feb 24 '13 at 0:29
  • This is the pathetic though, your definition of "home" is merely a bed and kitchen, which is hardly of substance to the question. It's a trivial factoid for the questioner's biography that creates a very ridiculous gray area like home offices. I'm suggesting, as does the faq, that the subject matter is likely to prescribe an audience with greater expertise. If you're working with nginx, then regardless of whether or not you reside in the building that question is more fit for ServerFault, ipso fact. It's quite obviously server software designed for server administrators. – Evan Carroll Feb 24 '13 at 3:10
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    @EvanCarroll: And yet, Server Fault has repeatedly said that anything in a home environment is off-topic. Home offices can be on-topic, but more in the "how do I let employees access resources" sense. Moreover, it's not for you personally or for the SU community to decide what's on-topic on Server Fault. The reason you can't migrate questions there from SO is because people on SO thought all server questions should go there, and SF closed tons of them as off-topic. They get to decide what goes on their site. – cpast Feb 24 '13 at 20:01

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