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What do we want the FAQ for this site to look like?

What are some on and off-topic topics?

We want to avoid 'which is better' questions like OSPF vs MPLS, since they can not be canonically answered.

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  • FYI: generally, you'll want to stick to listing topics that folks wouldn't expect to be off-topic but are anyway - obviously, there are a host of questions that aren't related to network engineering that aren't on-topic here, but there's no need to list them out in the FAQ unless you find folks repeatedly asking them anyway. – Shog9 May 9 '13 at 3:14
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Other topics we need to blacklist from the start:

  • Certifications and exam study
  • Home/SOHO networking ("My Linksys don't work!")
  • How to illegally obtain software/publications
  • Anything server-related (should be referred to Server Fault)
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  • ...expand your answer so it grows towards being the bullet list from which we can write the FAQ :) – Craig Constantine May 8 '13 at 15:41
  • Speaking to the server specific piece, where does the line get drawn when dealing with things like UCS and network-focussed hypervisor related questions? – scottm32768 May 8 '13 at 17:39
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    This is going to depend a lot on context and what the asker is seeking to accomplish. Can't figure out how the Nexus 1K interacts with UCS? This is the place. Trying to figure out how many VMs you can fit on a UCS chassis? Server Fault is what you want. – Jeremy Stretch May 8 '13 at 20:13
  • You all may want to have a look at this page: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/49551/reverse-engineering By ruling out SOHO networking, you may be dooming this community to a quick death. Or were you trying to rule out one-liner questions like "It (being whatever) don't work?" – Osteoboon May 8 '13 at 22:12
  • area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/52519/network-engineering N.B. "A great site benefits people outside the community." – Osteoboon May 8 '13 at 22:21
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    SOHO networking is a very minimal subset of real networking, limited mainly to troubleshooting home devices, and the same exact questions pop repeatedly. Such topics are best handled elsewhere. – Jeremy Stretch May 9 '13 at 0:01
  • Surprised at this, @Jeremy. I think your remark above is completely at odds with the following: packetlife.net/blog/2013/mar/15/… Update 2, "Now, we just need people to commit to being active (writing questions and answers) for the beta site to launch, essentially signing a petition. We can really use people who are already active on other Stack Exchange sites, so please spread the word to friends and colleagues in sister fields." If SOHO networking is not a closely enough related 'sister field,' then I won't have much to contribute here. – Osteoboon May 9 '13 at 0:50
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    The exclusion of home questions exists on Server Fault as well. The reason for this is to improve question quality - experts (which the site needs to attract and keep to be healthy) won't want to slog through a ton of home networking questions to get to the questions that they're interested in answering. Not all home networking questions will be bad, but too many "how do I port forward on my linksys", with askers who have a very hard time providing all the relevant information needed to answer, will drive away experts. Super User is the place for home networking. – Shane Madden May 9 '13 at 1:37
  • Ah yes, well Server Fault is a well-established SE community at no risk whatsoever of closing for lack of adequate interest, so excluding SOHO is very safe there. And who knows, maybe this community will turn out the same way. I hope so. But I thought I asked a rather intriguing question on the main site (albeit on SOHO networking). It has certainly intrigued me for years. But when I lose 10 rep points in 60 minutes and am advised that I should just "...buy a new one and try again..." rather than try to solve the problem, I know that the question is certainly wrong for this group at this time. – Osteoboon May 9 '13 at 1:56
  • It was not a particularly bad question at the core - how do I troubleshoot wireless networks at the signal layer? But there was far too much other stuff in it that really pulled away from the actual question. In fact, if you rewrote the question with more of a generic focus on spectrum troubleshooting I'd probably be first in line to up vote it because I am interested in the techniques and tools to do so. – Aaron May 9 '13 at 4:01
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    6 down-votes and 3 votes to close before I voluntarily deleted it all differ strongly with your "It was not a particularly bad question at the core" comment. I spend an hour composing a question like that on day 1 of a new community's private beta and I get that kind of response and I'm afraid you've all seriously dampened my enthusiasm for helping out here. But perhaps you'll have enough pros that it won't matter. I hope so, and wish you folks all the best with this community. – Osteoboon May 9 '13 at 4:34
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    @JeremyStretch, I also suggest not merely "how to find" illegal software, but also anything to do with illegal software or violations of intellectual property rights – Mike Pennington Jul 5 '13 at 10:42
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I would add questions about the following to the FAQ as out of scope:

  • Product recommendations
  • Vendor comparisons
  • Business decisions/processes
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I think direct product recommendation should be off topic, in the sense of:

What brand of firewall should I buy?

But what I would consider border-line on-topic:

I'm doing X and Y, what type of device would be able to perform these?

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Are training related questions out of scope? See:

Which free network training labs exist on the Internet?

Where does the line draw between training and labbing/testing tools?

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    That question has been closed as not constructive which I agree with. So how about: I'm setting up a Cisco CCNA lab, what equipment would you recommend?? I'd consider that off topic as well since it's an answer that will change over time. It's also a question Google can answer the question pretty quickly. – Dave Noonan May 13 '13 at 17:24
  • I don't think an answer which changes over time should be an argument not to post it as that would be valid for a lot of vendors (change happens). However if setting up a lab is off topic it should indeed be closed. – Lucas Kauffman May 21 '13 at 9:00
  • I would argue that it's really a certification question, which makes it off-topic. – scottm32768 May 21 '13 at 13:43
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Even though most would assume that this shouldn't be necessary, but one thing that I'd also suggest putting in the FAQ (maybe under the Etiquette section?) is to urge readers to take a few minutes to carefully read the OP's question and other answers/comments before posting their own. There have been multiple instances already where there have been "miscommunications" or misguided answers/comments provided because people don't bother to take the time to fully comprehend the question/answer/etc.

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