I asked this question on SU: I can't open phpMyAdmin, get error 301 or 500.

It got already 4 off-topic VTCs in less than a day.

From the popup box:

Questions on Super User are expected to relate to computer software or computer hardware within the scope defined in the FAQ. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope.

I have read the FAQ. My question is about computer software. I have improved vastly the question since I first wrote it, providing lots of details, configuration files, version information, etc.

There are many, many, many, many other questions about phpmyadmin, mysql, databases, logins issues, etc. They haven't been closed, and got accepted answers. There are even active tags for these software. Why is my question offtopic and others aren't?

Also, I don't believe my question is an exact duplicate of another one.

So, is there any issue with my question I'm not realizing? I want to improve my participation on SU, please tell me how; thank you.

  • 1
    I think this question is most on-topic on Server Fault... Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 16:23
  • 2
    @Breakthrough It isn't: meta.serverfault.com/questions/4111/…
    – rtf
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 16:56
  • A perfectly on-topic question in my opinion. If it ends up being closed, flag for attention and we'll have a look.
    – slhck
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 17:18
  • I'm one of the users who voted for migration. My intention was that you probably would get better help at Stack Overflow, as it's development related, and with the assumption that system developers would have better experience about LAMP than regular PC users. Just as a note, I'm aware that there always will be certain usage of server software on PCs when it's about system development. So I didn't vote to close because the question was about LAMP, but because you could get better help on other sites.
    – TFM
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 19:56
  • @Tanner whups, my bad - good call. I wasn't sure at the time I posted the comment, so I didn't take any action (& left it open). Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 20:08

2 Answers 2


This question perturbed me as it doesn't seem to have a clear home. I bugged mSO about it, and they say it doesn't belong there. There was a suggestion for SF, which it patently does not fit, and another for Pro Webmasters, which sounds iffy at best.

There is a slight quality issue, which contributes to the problem. There is no cut and dry question, but that's probably because it's hard to tell where the problem lies. I have little knowledge of any of the topics discussed there, but on the surface I couldn't tell you if this is a problem with PHP or the CentOS box itself. Can it be solved using phpMyAdmin?

I think this question well demonstrates the problems with overlap among sites, and how even high reputation users might have no idea what's on topic for other sites. There weren't any high rep people who VTC'd this question, so it may just be a fluke, but it's interesting to me still how nobody can tell where this question should go.

In my opinion, this question 100% belongs here, and if it doesn't then I want it to belong here!

I think we should be a little more open about questions that drift towards simple server administration and light development, as most Super Users around here seem to do both quite often. There are some very fine-nay, invisible-lines drawn around the matter, and I for one would like to see the SU community broaden its scope just a tad to better cover the overlap.

  • I'd like to upvote multiple times your last paragraphs, couldn't agree more. I don't think we shouldn't stop filtering off-topic questions, but be more flexible and apply common sense when deciding what belongs. About the quality issue, you and @Kronos are right and I'll improve it a bit more. Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 18:40

I didn't vote to close, as in my opinion this is a borderline question. I think the reasoning for "Off-Topic" is that this is a little beyond the scope of Super User and more into the realms of either Stack Overflow or Server Fault depending on what you're looking for.

However, upon further looking into your question I see that you're really not asking a question here. You're simply stating "Something weird here" and then post A LOT of information that can be overwhelming. When asking question on any SE site I suggest first trying to figure out "What's my main issue that I'm having, and how can I clearly state that issue?". When you've taken the time to really think about the issue at hand, then you're able to ask informative, good questions.

For example, instead of stating "Something weird is happening with X" try doing a little research to come up with a question that states along the line of "X is not doing Y action under Z conditions".

Finally I would also suggest looking into the formatting of your post. Just as too little information is frustrating to those that answer, so too is too much information. Try posting only relevant information.

Note: I know NOTHING about PHP and therefore you may have posted all that was necessary for this situation. However what I say does apply in general

  • 5
    Stackoverflow doesn't match, it isn't a programming question. Serverfault doesn't match, it isn't aimed at professional IT. Hobby server like tasks are a bit of a weird space on StackExchange it appears.
    – Guvante
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 17:33

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