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I've run into a few questions like this one: Restricting certain printers to certain programs. The question was written by someone working in a company. I get the impression that it is a small business, probably too small to have an IT department, and the author is probably a manager or owner. The problem is in a business setting, but otherwise on-topic.

I'm trying to understand what the definition of corporate IT support means in terms of whether a question is off topic. I'm guessing we don't want to be technical support for people whose job it is to provide IT services (or organizations that would like free support from SU rather than incur the in-house support cost). Other than that, I have no idea exactly what situation SU seeks to avoid with this off-topic rule.

  • Does the rule refer just to problems in a setting for which an IT organization exists?

  • Does it apply to any problems in a commercial or government organization of a nature that should be handled by an IT department, regardless of whether the organization has chosen to have one?

  • Does it apply to a tiny business, say a couple of person company running their business on home-style computers?

  • Does it apply to any problems in an organizational setting outside the home?

I looked at this Meta question: What makes a question "specific to corporate IT support"? and it didn't help.

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I have always tried to be inclusive of people who are in a corporate environment and help them as best we can, but there are some situations where we cannot or should not help them.

  • My domain admin pushed software X to my machine and I do not have admin rights. How do I uninstall it? This is a case where the user should ask their support to fix the problem. The software might be mandatory for the corporation and OP could face sanctions if we help them remove it.
  • I am using Excel to write a VBA macro for work. An easy one to answer without involving corporate IT
  • My home PC won't connect to our corporate VPN, our IT guy says everyone else is fine and it works. What can I do? We might be able to help as it could be their DSL or network and they may well have admin rights on their PC. If their PC is locked down we might be able to diagnose their network at least.
  • Our company firewall is blocking my favourite pron/4chan/terrorism sites, how do I get around this restriction. We should not touch this. Anything we suggest could well get OP fired or worse and put our site in a dubious position.

The distinction for me is essentially whether we can help the user without circumventing restrictions that have been put in place by their IT support.

The size of the company really isn't important, though if it is a small company and it is the IT guy asking the question then ServerFault may be the better place to ask the question.

If the answer is likely to be easy to answer without resorting to admin rights or taking an axe to the corporate firewall then if we can answer it then there is no problem doing so.

  • Agreed - Thanks for giving the Mod point of view about it as well – Canadian Luke Mar 30 '15 at 16:41
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    To that list I would add: Our company is using XYZ – how do I do this and that with it?, when XYZ clearly would not be used by any "normal" home user. – slhck Apr 1 '15 at 5:55
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    I wouldn't exclude answers to questions that might involve "business" software unless you're also going to move to exclude answers from people using such software and/or from "corporate IT" folks. Internal/proprietary tool questions would obviously be inappropriate, but other exclusions just seem petty and arbitrary. – fencepost Apr 4 '15 at 19:22

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