Is this on, or off-topic?

What are entries in kernel ip table?

  • There is a bit of confusion here. The example question really has nothing to do with "iptables". If you are actually asking about "iptables" questions, a different question should be used as an example. If you are actually asking about that particular question, then the title of this meta post should probably be edited.
    – YLearn
    Jan 7 '16 at 21:36

Let me start by clarifying one thing that directly impact my answer to this particular question. While the OP did mention "kernel IP table" this was a mistake on their part (or a translation issue). This is actually the routing table from the device. It has nothing to do with the Linux firewall "iptables".

As such, I personally feel it should probably have been left open. In essence it is asking "how do I understand this routing table" which is a perfectly valid question on this site.

This isn't a question about host configuration. It doesn't really matter if the device it was pulled from is an end device or a router/gateway/firewall. It is simply a matter of understanding the information presented in a routing table.

To me, that is pure networking and on topic to be answered here. Whether there are many similar answers on other sites of SE really doesn't matter at this point.

  • That is why I originally answered the question rather than voting to close it. In any case, the answer seems to have satisfied the OP, and it was accepted. I see no harm in re-opening the question since it has an accepted answer.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Jan 7 '16 at 21:41

I could actually go either way on that one. It is a routing table of sorts, although it is an end-device, but the question didn't involve configuring it.

  • SF has about 4,000 Qs tagged iptables, so I think SF has it covered... so we need a pretty strong reason to feel we can do a better job answering it . . . Dec 29 '15 at 12:59
  • That's true, and I sort of leaned that way, but the question was such a simple one that was easy to give a definitive answer to. If it had been more involved or asked about configurations, I would have voted to close it and referred the OP to Server Fault. I'm OK with not answering it, too.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Dec 29 '15 at 13:04
  • 1
    Just a small clarification: IPtables is not kernel IP routing tables.
    – Teun Vink Mod
    Dec 29 '15 at 13:33
  • Right, it is the Kernel IP routing table, not Linux iptables. There is a difference. Granted, it is an end-device, OS routing table, and it should have probably been asked on one of the Linux forums, but I think it is sort of on-topic here since it didn't involve configuring the OS or device. Like I wrote, I can see both sides, and I'm OK either way.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Dec 30 '15 at 4:37

I believe this could go either way, but only for a very specific reason: What topics can I ask about here? specifically states the following as on-topic:

"servers operating as a router/switch/firewall"

While it is pretty clear from the question that this is some form of linux server it is NOT definitively clear whether this server is operating as a "router/switch/firewall" as it was not specified by the OP.

While it is tempting to assume that this is not the case, I believe that clarification should have been requested from the OP first before immediately closing the question. We simply didn't have enough information to confirm whether the question was off-topic or not. I don't believe SE should take the stance of a question being invalid unless proven otherwise. I see this more on SO with duplicate question flags than NE, but this has actually been the reason I have stopped myself from asking questions on SO and instead used other resources to get my questions answered- to avoid fighting moderators and spending more time proving my question is relevant than looking for an answer.

Moderators perform a very important role in keeping the questions, answers, and users relevant to the site and overall improving the value of the site to its users, but any negative actions can have a very strong effect on users and IMO should be used sparingly or when the situation is clear enough to dictate action. I don't disagree that this question is likely off-topic as this was likely just an endpoint server, but I think that decision was made without enough information, which can contribute to more confusion than clarification for users and can lead to a cold, unwelcoming feel to this site.

  • There is also another piece to servers operating as a router/switch/firewall, and it is hardware that has a paid support option (enterprise/provider class products, some small business class devices).
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Jun 25 '16 at 20:27

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