I recently asked this question about the reasoning behind the choice of 192.168 as the standard internal IP block, and a moderator mentioned this:

I used to think that answering historical questions was a good idea, but I would like to avoid doing this on a regular basis, due to bad help vampire experiences.

Should historical questions be accepted?


2 Answers 2


I want to add to Brett's position on this, which is:

historical questions are valid as long as there is a way to give a concise, accurate and fact based answer.

We have to draw a line somewhere. Historical questions, like all others, should exhibit a compelling reason to be answered on NE. I could come up with a long list of trivia questions, which meet Brett's criteria above, but the questions are not worth answering.

If the community disagrees with the reasoning in the question, vote to close the historical question as off-topic.

Examples of fact-based historical questions that are not worth answering on NE

  1. Q: What was the historical reason that ISO standardized on IEEE 802.12 100VG-AnyLAN? (Irrelevant: Nobody uses 100VG-AnyLAN today)

  2. Q: What was the fastest trasfer rate available over AUTODIN I? (Trivial & Irrelevant)

  3. Q: Why was BBN awarded Autonomous System 1? (Trivial & Irrelevant)

  4. Q: What was the first routing protocol used on ARPANET?

  5. Q: 192.168.*.* is used for many home networks, but it's too hard; I would have chosen something simpler. What is the historical reason for choosing this address space? (False Dilemma: The OP can choose something simpler, and we would have to speculate about the reasons for chosing

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    I don't get example 5. Essentially he was asking why these specific networks were chosen for RFC1918. I would think that this is worth answering. Mar 12, 2014 at 7:49
  • @Sebastian, we don't know why it was chosen in RFC1918, we have to speculate; furthermore the question is founded in the false premise that there isn't something easier to choose. The OP can choose 10/8, and we should not need to speculate in answers Mar 12, 2014 at 7:59
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    The OP would choose 1.x.x.x not 10.x.x.x. And at least I was not aware that noone here knows why it was chosen. :) Perhaps someone would know and could answer. Mar 12, 2014 at 9:02
  • @Sebastian, the argument that you should choose 1.x.x.x instead of 10.x.x.x/8 is a bit absurd. 10/8 is easy enough, and private address space. If you're happy with 10/8, then the confusion about 192.168 goes away Mar 12, 2014 at 9:16
  • I think the heart of the question was WHY this space was chosen. And if noone can answer that nowadays then perhaps that IS the answer. :) Mar 12, 2014 at 9:26
  • We may just wind up agreeing to disagree; the point of my answer here on meta is that some things are trivia, and not worth answering. My argument is that this question falls into that category. Note that although I don't think it's on-topic, I didn't unilaterally mod-hammer the question. The question is still open for other answers; in fact, that's why you're now commenting a couple of months later. Mar 12, 2014 at 9:29
  • Yeah I think we might. :) I just wanted to provide another perspective. I agree on all the other arguments, just not sure about this one. I saw it coming up on the front page and wanted to chime in. Thanks for not closing it alltogether. Mar 12, 2014 at 9:40

I feel that historical questions are valid here as long as there is a way to give a concise, accurate, and fact based answer.

Many questions about the hows/whys of the early internet are well documented through the many RFCs, as well as through interviews with the primary sources who were involved.

However, there are questions that may not be easily answerable or could be downright opinion based.

I feel that those questions would already be covered for closure under existing standards on being "Too Broad" or "Primarily Opinion Based".

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    How would you be able to determine if a historical question had a concise, accurate, fact-based answer prior to asking it, without already knowing what that answer was (in which case you wouldn't be asking, unless you're self-answering)?
    – Jason C
    Nov 3, 2014 at 17:28

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