There is a posted question about a looking glass and it has already received several close votes as off-topic (an aside, this is done without comment, so there is no chance for the OP to improve their question or know why - at least one person should provide some detail).

However, this is a fairly common type of question in other network engineering resources (for example NANOG).

Should these types of questions be allowed on NE?

  • I would have added some detail in a comment if we already had a policy on such things - but since we didn't, I didn't want to assume the mantle of speaking for the site...
    – Aaron
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 21:11

4 Answers 4


I think: ON topic. I commented and upvoted as such as well.

Yes, I think there should be at least one comment when things are heading for the close-vote bin. Maybe we need a "best practice" that says something like...

Are you casting the first close vote on a question? Then please comment too. Subsequent close-voters can let your comment speak for them too, or they can add their own.

...and I feel a swoop-in coming; So I'll clarify: I'm not saying this would be mandatory, just good style to explain why we're wack-a-mole'ing somebody's question.

  • I would agree on both points, however at least four other people feel it is off topic, so I figured I would open it up for discussion.
    – YLearn
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 14:39
  • I know that you do see something similar when you vote down a Q (or A), but I'm not as familiar with the closing votes. I believe that in the large SE sites that privilege is reserved for people that have a whole lot of rep, and as such, should be familiar with the site's meta and know enough to comment to help out the new users.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 21:08
  • I don't find voting down a question or answer without a comment as "bad" as closing a question without comment. Maybe that is just me. And yes, on non-beta sites with larger communities, the vote to close/reopen is at a higher rep level. I think there they don't tend to comment on off-topic votes if the FAQ clearly indicates it is off-topic.
    – YLearn
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 22:51

While I don't think specific questions about looking glasses or route servers in general are off-topic, I do think that the question in question (hah) would have been better directed at a much wider distribution list of the network operator community (such as NANOG) or even sent to the Telefonica NOC directly (and I'd probably wager that this is why the close-votes are coming in).

Route servers/looking glasses are tools used daily by probably a large number of network engineers. Questions relating to how either operates or design decisions involving deployment, or operational maintenance should be considered on topic, and would be useful information to have here, especially considering best practices revolving around route servers is information that (right now) is hard to come by.

  • 1
    Arguably, almost any question asked here could have "been better directed at a much wider" resource since this is a new community. I believe that most of us hope that this site will become a much wider resource as well. The question is if this is off-topic as indicated by four off-topic closure votes on the question.
    – YLearn
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 19:34
  • 1
    [removing last comment] Commented May 23, 2013 at 19:42
  • Rethinking my response to your comment - yes of course, any question asked here can be asked elsewhere. According to your comment to Craig's answer you "opened it up for discussion", so I'm giving my input, specifically on why I'm guessing it got those four "off-topic" votes (as well as stating that RS's/LG's in general should not be considered off-topic). I'm not sure why I'm having to explain this, or why you deem it necessary to reiterate why you created the question, as if somehow I didn't understand it to begin with. Commented May 23, 2013 at 19:57
  • To further elaborate on the guess about the off-topic votes (and to debate the community argument), we don't automatically have every person here that's also clueful about why Telefonica might have a looking glass that's down. For now, NANOG wins for that. The OP already found two links that were broken, and didn't indicate that he'd contacted their NOC, and also didn't indicate that he'd emailed the nanog list, but he might have for all we know (hence why my answer to his question was "contact the NOC" as they're likely the most authoritative source for his answer). Commented May 23, 2013 at 20:14
  • Now that the question has been closed (as "off-topic", which I disagree with, at least that specific categorization), how do we word the FAQ as such to encourage questions about RS's/LG's but not to the extent of "how do I get better operational support" ? Commented May 23, 2013 at 21:08
  • 1
    I apologize if my comment came across wrong, I was just continuing the discussion and trying to provide my viewpoint that I don't feel that "the question can be better directed elsewhere" by itself is enough to close a question as off-topic. I don't disagree that the OP might be better served taking the question elsewhere (at least for now), but I think it is good they did try here. Finally, also think that we should probably re-open that question until there is some sort of consensus one way or the other; doesn't sit right to have it closed with me when there is no decision.
    – YLearn
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 22:34
  • No problem, I apologize if I originally worded my answer poorly. I guess what I was going for was "I can understand why folks would opt to close it, and here's why". Aaron also brings up valid points in his answer - we absolutely do need to have consensus. Would be useful to get the OP's perspective on what kind of help he was looking for. Commented May 23, 2013 at 22:39
  • I agree with this answer, this particular question was off topic becasue it was about a specific provider's looking glasses, not how to operate them or deploy them etc. It was a question either for the network operator directly or a community like NANOG, not a Q&A site like NE.
    – Baldrick
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 9:01

I came here to meta.ne for the exact purpose of commenting to see if this question was really a good fit for this site, and I also put in the last close vote on this. I don't think it is, and these are my reasons:

I don't believe a good use of this site is to be yet another repository for other network contact information - there was puck.nether.net, and now there's peeringdb, and I don't really see a space for another "community maintained" list. On this particular vein, what would be next, NOC contact information?

I do think a great usage of the site would be a Q along the lines of what information is and isn't available on RS/LGs on the internet - for example, just because your route is not seen in RS X does not mean that network Y doesn't have your route, because I do see that particular question come up time and time again.

  • I agree. I think maybe we need to reword (or add something into) the FAQ as such. Maybe do some clarifying on what "operational support" means in context to what NESE is trying to provide. Commented May 23, 2013 at 21:14
  • I fully agree that we don't become a repository for network contact information. Using the example I provided, NANOG also isn't a repository of this information. However on NOG lists (and I think it should be here), if the repositories fail someone, they should be able to ask. As to the point of where to draw the line, I would place that at providing actual contact information should be out of scope.
    – YLearn
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 22:54
  • While I agree that one should be able to ask, an e-mail list (at least when compared to SE) would be a far better medium for that because people have the ability to respond to the "asker" in private. It seems like there's a conflict of ideals between SE's style of answer/ask and the style provided by an e-mail list; I can't help but feel that "throwaway" questions posted to NESE (akin to the ones sometimes posted to NANOG, and akin to the question posted today) likely wouldn't be welcomed. Commented May 23, 2013 at 23:17
  • I think that I would welcome this sort of question in chat, but not on the site.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 2:27

I think this is a rare time where the specificity of the question is hurting it. The answer to the question maybe short lived and thus not helpful to the community over time as the knowledge base grows. A question requesting resources on how to locate contact information for AS owners in general the question would be better received.

Since this community is still in its development, we should outline community norms for question content and standards for closing questions. I think that at least one comment should accompany close votes.

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