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I have a question about my Network Engineering Stack Exchange post: what is the best way to block and intercept packets between a device and server

Related to the question above but is not a "why was this closed request." The reason it was closed as i understand it is because I asked something that fell under the comparisons stricture of the metastack. My confusion is that in the help pages there is a listed topic of discussion "tools used by network professionals". I now understand that across the entire meta stack site, except for software and hardware recommendations, that we cannot ask for comparisons , which is better, etc. But where exactly does this begin or end in relation to tools used by network professionals.

If as VERY basic metaphor and example I asked. "I'm having trouble wiring rj45 into the wall outlets is there a better tool than a screwdriver to do this with?" Is that breaking the above listed strictures? If someone does respond they are categorically making a judgement or suggestion.

Do processes count? If I was asking which of three hypothetical settings on a cisco switch would be better suited to problem setup X would that be that against the above strictures?

Do questions of supreme ignorance count? (My case honestly) if someone asks such a seemingly basic question that some amount of basic comparison, or at least a listing of items is necessary would that break the above structures. Not a where do I begin learning networking kind of question, but say a question by someone who has a basic knowledge of networking that is trying to do something far out of their experience and needs to ask very basic stuff about it to solve the problem.

I ask all these because I will be posting a lot here as our network admin is retiring in a year or so and I will be taking over and I would like to learn the occult and arcane posting rules (written and unwritten) of this particular subreddit. i will go ask server fault the above listed question. Thank you

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You specifically ask, "what is the best way to block and intercept packets between a device and server" when you post your question. This is a purely subjective question, which is one of the types of questions that the Help Center -> Asking -> What types of questions should I avoid asking? post clearly indicates you should try to avoid. There is no right/wrong answer and if you ask 10 different network professionals, you may get 10 different answers on which way is "best".

Further, by the nature of the question it is asking for product recommendations, which are considered off topic here.

If as VERY basic metaphor and example I asked. "I'm having trouble wiring rj45 into the wall outlets is there a better tool than a screwdriver to do this with?" Is that breaking the above listed strictures? If someone does respond they are categorically making a judgement or suggestion.

[Ignoring a very few isolated products that are designed to be fully installed with a screwdriver.] Ask 10 network professionals and all of them will tell you that there is a better tool. Asking for the "best tool" to do so brings it back to subjective and not a good question. Asking why other tools may be better than a screwdriver is likely acceptable. Asking which tool you should buy in addition to your screwdriver is off-topic.

There is nuance to how one asks a question and the type of answers they solicit.

Do processes count? If I was asking which of three hypothetical settings on a cisco switch would be better suited to problem setup X would that be that against the above strictures?

Since you are giving constraints to the problem, then this would likely be acceptable. Bonus points for showing that you have done some research and narrowed it down to three settings in advance of asking the question.

Do questions of supreme ignorance count? (My case honestly) if someone asks such a seemingly basic question that some amount of basic comparison, or at least a listing of items is necessary would that break the above structures. Not a where do I begin learning networking kind of question, but say a question by someone who has a basic knowledge of networking that is trying to do something far out of their experience and needs to ask very basic stuff about it to solve the problem.

We have plenty of such questions around here. We don't expect those who ask questions to be content experts. But we do expect that questions do get asked are appropriate to the standards set by the SE community at large and to the specific community at NE.

Think about the question you have posted and how you could improve it. Maybe more along the lines of "this is the problem I am having, what steps can I take to resolve it?" Restructure it to give an objectively answerable question (not that it needs a single answer, as often there is no single answer), but so answers are not subjective or opinion based.

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  • thank you for the excellent answers, i am much enlightened going forward. ignoring the use of the word best how would you have asked this question in order to make it meet the stack's criteria? – Jason Dossett Jan 3 at 15:49
  • @JasonDossett I don't think your specific situation can be asked/answered within the scope of NE. At heart, you need a product recommendation. Most routers/firewalls cannot be configured in the manner you need as they aren't designed to alter packet payloads -- builtin NAT ALGs aside. You need something more "custom" -- short of writing it myself, I don't know of any commercial product to fit your needs. – Ricky Jan 6 at 16:27
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The "tools used by network professionals" is about things like what a tool does, how to use a tool, comparison of two or more tools, etc, not a recommendation for what tool to use. Explain what tool you want to use, and the results you expect. It may be that it is the wrong tool for the job and cannot do what you want, or it may be that someone could explain how to use the tool to do what you want, but you cannot ask for a recommendation. It is the same for other on-topic things. For example, if you have a particular router model, and you want help to configure some feature of it, that is fine, but do not ask for a router that has that particular feature; we simply cannot recommend one, but we could tell you if your router has that feature, and how to use it if it does.

A big part of the problem is that you are asking about a tool to intercept and alter the packet contents, and that is not what network engineers do in the normal course of work (an engineer could get fired for doing things like that unless it is for authorized security testing, in which case Information Security would be the place to ask). Things like firewalls will block packets, and mirroring on switches can copy (not intercept the way you want) a traffic stream to another device, but intercepting and altering packets is not what network engineers do.


As a side note:

It sounds like you want to block or change close messages for your (off-topic) DICOM protocol, and that is unlikely to actually work. If one host decided it is done, then simply blocking the close message or even altering the packet to say something else will not change the fact that the device is done, and the device will stop sending, and it is likely to simply ignore anything more it receives, other than to send more close messages.

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  • so asking a question such as "are there any routers and switches that have a teal case? if not what would be a good solution for coloring the cases." would not be allowed silly question i know but a friend of mine had this actually come up because he worked in a large graphic design shop with an "industrial aesthetic" and management wanted all the IT stuff to be both visible and to match their color scheme. they ended up getting a bunch of custom made and anodized cases from a precision machine shop – Jason Dossett Jan 3 at 15:56
  • ""are there any routers and switches that have a teal case? if not what would be a good solution for coloring the cases." would not be allowed" The first part of that question is a simple Yes/No question, and those do not fit for SE sites, The second part of the question is asking for a (off-topic) recommendation. If you asked about a specific coloring kit and how to use it, that is the type of question that could be on-topic. – Ron Maupin Jan 3 at 16:01
  • on the side note, i am trying to change the responses reaching the problem machine to cover All possible sources of the problem and make sure it isn't something in the previous ACK that it is erroring out on, because otherwise its going to be about $6-12k just to get GE to look at the problem from what our PACS admin tells me.. god i hate GE so much. they make IBM look like a wizzbang startup. literally took their customer service 18 days to call me back last time and by then we just had our CIO call to get some attention to the issue – Jason Dossett Jan 3 at 16:01
  • so the question could be answered that there are or are not teal cased routers and switches out there, but not what company sells them or which models are teal? on the second half if i asked "does anyone have any experiences with customized coloring of router cases?" instead would that be in guidelines? Or probably "are there any custom coloring kits or services out there for changing the coloring of router switches and cases, if so who provides them? also software recommendations said not their bag either on that original question, i posted to server fault. crosses fingers – Jason Dossett Jan 3 at 16:11
  • @JasonDossett Ask yourself, can this be answered as a simple "yes or no?" All of the examples you've provided are -- "does whatever exist?" is a yes/no question. They're also thinly veiled requests for products. If you have specific questions about a specific product, then you're on the right track. – Ricky Jan 6 at 16:16

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