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12:00 AM
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Q: Proposed change to Server Fault scope

Shane MaddenFollowing up on the discussion here, I’d like to propose some changes to our scope to remove subjective language (particularly the “professional” part) and simplify things a bit, while still maintaining a high standard of quality and a clear line of what kind of questions belong here. Quoting, b...

 
 
9 hours later…
8:40 AM
@ChrisS I meant why'd he get rid of the rest of it haha
 
 
3 hours later…
11:36 AM
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Q: Does a user lose his privileges if he sets a bounty which takes him below the required reputation score for the privilege?

Itai Ganotlet's say a user has 300 reputation points (allows you to create new tags) and then he starts a bounty which costs him 50 points, Will he lose the ability to create the new tags or once certain reputation is achieved the privileges are saved?

 
 
4 hours later…
3:10 PM
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Q: Christmas Hats 2014 Edition

WardMaybe it's time for a change? But for the past couple of years, many SF'ers have added Santa hats to their Gravatars For Christmas. If you already have a Gravatar with a hat it's easy to activate it again, for anyone who wants to add a hat, here are the ones we've used in the past: or (L...

 
 
1 hour later…
4:39 PM
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Q: How should we handle questions that don't have a satisfactory answer but can't be pursued any longer?

austinianI asked a question that involved a system that has now been wiped, as troubleshooting was taking too long, so no further answers can contribute to the question, as it was specific to that system. That said, there were a lot of good answers, and so it could help someone else should they search com...

 
 
1 hour later…
5:50 PM
@ShaneMadden YOU FOOL! You've touched the help center! It's yours now! I'M FREE! FREE OF THE LAMP!
runs off laughing into the distance
 
@voretaq7 OH GOD NO I'LL BE TRAPPED FOREVER!
 
@voretaq7 Will respond on your post after this meeting -- I think the tricky part with the audience narrowing thing is that is makes people focus on the person asking the question instead of the question, so I'm trying to move the focus to the question
@voretaq7 Ok, that's uncanny - we're currently in a meeting with Cisco about fancy NX-OS stuff, lol
 
@ShaneMadden Enjoy your robot mega-cow.
 
@voretaq7 Hey, at least the mega-cow seems to have real APIs!
 
5:57 PM
@ShaneMadden I'd like to focus more on the question, but then we have to be more explicit about what we're looking for in a good-quality question (which is a better way to narrow things down, but takes a lot more words to explain).
 
@voretaq7 Yeah.. that's hard to cover in the scope doc. Maybe we throw in one sentence along the lines of "Most importantly, make sure you provide as much detail, context, and information about your environment and steps you've tried as you can", matching with the new "installation, configuration or diagnostic help" close reason...
But that's also something that hopefully "quality initiative" stuff like the triage queue will help with once we get it
 
 
2 hours later…
8:13 PM
@ShaneMadden I think the important thing with the scope is that you include/retain the option to close a question for "doing it wrong" or not being of "professional quality", however you end up wording it.
 
8:41 PM
@HopelessN00b Do you mean ones that are like "lol i deleted crap and don't have backups" or ones that are like "i demand an answer that uses software x and hate any answer that recommends using a better tool"?
 
@ShaneMadden Yes.
And the "I'm running Debian 12, blah, blah, blah problem, how do I fix it?"
 
Hmm.. yeah, that's a good point.
For "i demand an answer that uses software x" I think we're ok as is, honestly.. those ones usually get answered as "you can't do that, do this instead" which is worthwhile and doesn't really need closed unless it's crap in a different way I'd say.
 
riprip
 
But we definitely should have something somewhere that says they need to be using sane, supportable solutions
 
@ShaneMadden For "I demand an answer that uses software X" the answer is "You don't get to make demands on a free site. If you want to make demands go hire someone and pay them."
@ShaneMadden That's actually one of the criteria described in the various "professional capacity" Meta posts :)
 
8:51 PM
@ShaneMadden The not professional reason covered that nicely with that's not a professional-grade way to do it, even if some people misunderstood it. Not sure how to cover those crappy questions we don't want with a reword. <shrug>
 
@voretaq7 Heh, yeah :)
Maybe we leave these criteria out of the help center wording but then replace "not professional" close reason with something along the lines of "must be about reasonably modern and supportable systems"?
It's hard to get "please don't ask us to work around your dumb setup" into the scope wording concisely
 
@ShaneMadden Plenty of legacy shit in the world that needs support though
If someone came to us asking about SCO SYSVR4 in a SCADA environment would we summarily dismiss them because it's ancient?
(typically anyone asking about such Eldritch Horrors knows their shit, and wishes to Hastur they didn't)
 
@voretaq7 Yeah, for sure.. would want to word it such that we're not saying "you must be on latest software", but that we are saying "you need to have something we can work with; an ancient debian that doesn't get patches anymore won't cut it"
Though I'm sure I have a dozen answers in history that are just "dude, apt won't install things because you're on ubuntu 9.04. upgrade."
 
@ShaneMadden More like "You should b e running something that's still vendor-supported, or have a damn good reason why you aren't, and have explained said damn good reason in your question."
 
@voretaq7 I like it, though how do we also cover the "crap that was never supported" in that wording, say, some little OSS project that doesn't have official version and patching support.
This is stuff that we'd squash as "not professional" now, which is true but also a bad close reason, since their response will immediately be "bullshit, I'm totally a professional" so if we can come up with something effective for this it'll be a big improvement
 
9:03 PM
@ShaneMadden "Talk to the vendor(author)" -- We don't do programming questions here :P
I mean hell I adopt open-source projects that we use at work, but I know better than to ask on Server Fault for fixes to their... shall we say idiosyncrasies. Either I can fix it myself in the code, I can get the guy who wrote it to fix it, or I can ask our devs to look at it.
 
@voretaq7 Well, I'm just thinking something like a question that involves some random puppet module from the forge that's misbehaving, or some such.
But I don't think that'll really be a problem - if there's a well-asked question that happens to use some script that someone picked up from somewhere as part of what's going on, I don't think people will immediately reach for the "supported stuff only" close button.
 
@ShaneMadden those are a bit more of a gray area - it might be that they legit messed something up and just have to twiddle some config settings to make it work, or it could be "Here's the ruby book. Rewrite it to not suck."
@ShaneMadden yeah. I would phrase it as "supported platforms" or something similar
covering hardware (no Compaq 386 servers you found in the closet!) and software, but with some kind of blanket exception for "professional reasons" underlying shitty choices.
 
@voretaq7 Heh, yeah. And I think we'll only use this to close bad questions, so I don't think that'll be an issue. If someone writes an amazing question on "how in the hell do I get this windows 2000 environment I inherited up to something modern", I think we'd be fine with not closing
 
To be fair, I have (and I know other have as well) helped users with issues on NT computers, when there was no other option... but if it's just not wanting to be bothered to upgrade stuff, to freaking bad. Either way, there's some leeway and discretion that gets applied when closing or not closing a lot of questions.
 
9:21 PM
"Questions must demonstrate reasonable information technology management practices. Questions that relate to unsupported hardware or software platforms, or that ask for solutions that won't move an environment toward being properly maintained, are off-topic"
Getting closer? @voretaq7 @HopelessN00b
 
9:32 PM
Better, not sure about what "move toward being properly maintained" is in practice though
Might trim that out and just say "Questions relating to unsupported hardware or software platforms may not be suitable for Server Fault."
(leaving it as a "may" not a "GTFO")
 
I like it... not sure it's less subjective... or going to be any less "misunderstood"/contentious, but definitely better.
 
@voretaq7 "Questions must demonstrate reasonable information technology management practices. Questions that relate to unsupported hardware or software platforms or unmaintained environments may not be suitable for Server Fault" Seem ok? I want to also keep this targeted to "hey guys I dropped my database and have no backups" which that last bit does
 
eh, not a fan of "unmaintained environments" because people inherit those and have to make them not suck all the time
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"herp derp no backups" used to be covered in "Not Professional" too :-P
 
@voretaq7 Well.. in how we used it, but not really the wording. The wording is "what's your job", our use has been "do you have a clue"
 

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