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I have a question about my Network Engineering Stack Exchange post: How to build a network tap device?

Guy named RonMaupin apparenty had a bad day today, and is trying to close my question (it is "on-hold", I'm not quite sure what that means).

I'm trying to build (i.e. engineer) the networking device, and quite non-trivial at that. Is such a question not suited to a board named network engineering? If so, could you please kindly point me to a proper Stack Exchange board?

EDIT:

Ok, as @RonMaupin insists, and has apparently problems understanding my question and/or board rules, let me specifically link relevant parts from What topics can I ask about here? section:

Following questions are considered on-topic:

  • planning or designing an enterprise / service provider network; My case: I'm trying to design a solution for enterprise network to intercept very specific type of traffic by complex pattern analysis.

  • lab scenarios involving on-topic equipment; My case: on-topic equipment is a device that I'm trying to design.

  • tools used by network professionals; My case: again - I'm designing tool to manipulate network traffic.

  • servers operating as a router/switch/firewall; My case: my device is a server, operating as switch/bridge with traffic analysis.

  • design or theory of protocols used to operate a network; My case: I'm kindly requesting information (design or theory) about how to operate a particular device in a network, to achieve particular results.

  • implementing and enforcing network security or policies; My case: I'm trying to implement and enforce network policy.

As you can see (unless you want to not see), there are half a dozen subjects that qualifies the question as on-topic.

You nitpicking about RPi not having "paid support from manufacturer" is laughable, to say the least. I won't even bother explaining why RPi thing is completely irrelevant. I'm asking about Linux networking solution, RPi was just an example one could use as development board.

P.S.: Are there any other moderators on this site, other than @RonMaupin? Just curious...

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    Thanks for downvote, Ron.
    – Titan
    Feb 15 '17 at 15:35
  • 4
    I don't like the tone of this post. There's no need for these ad hominems and accusations, if you have a problem with why your question was closed, please ask in a respectful way.
    – Teun Vink Mod
    Feb 15 '17 at 15:41
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To be clear, 'network engineering' typically is about designing and configuring networks, not building network devices. Your question is mostly focused on server design/configuration and programming. There are other stack exchange sites for that: https://serverfault.com and https://stackoverflow.com.

These specific topics are off topic here, so I can follow Ron's reasoning for closing this specific question.

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It is not that I am having a bad day. The decision on what is on- or off-topic here is a community decision. An off-topic question is placed On Hold for a few days to give the author a chance to try to edit the question to be on-topic, if possible. If nothing happens with the question, it will automatically delete after a few days of inactivity.

The community has decided that a hardware manufacturer must offer optional, paid support for a device to be on-topic, but your Raspberry Pi doesn't meet that criterion. SE does have a Raspberry Pi site.

Regardless of the name, Network Engineering is not a homebrew computer site. The What topics can I ask about here? section of the Help Center (every SE site has one, and you should read it before posting on the site) explains what is considered on-topic here, and explains some things that are explicitly off-topic.

The first line says, in bold:

Network Engineering Stack Exchange is for asking questions about professionally managed networks in a business environment.

A criterion for hardware to be considered on-topic here says:

hardware that has a paid support option (enterprise/provider class products, some small business class devices)


While I think your project is interesting, it really doesn't belong on Network Engineering. I'm not sure if there is a correct SE site for it, but I would start with the Raspberry Pi SE site.


Edit:

I really think you misunderstand what this site is for, and what network engineering is. Teun Vink is correct in that Network Engineering is designing and implementing networks, not network devices, and the audience for this site are network engineers, not hardware or software engineers. Configuring on-topic (manufacturer supported, see the second bullet below) network devices is on-topic, but designing and building the network devices is not part of network engineering.

Your list of reasons that you think your question is on-topic completely glosses over the part that says (second bullet point, which is a requirement, not nitpicking as you characterize it):

and meets the following requirements

  • under your direct control (if the network is not under your control you will not likely be able to provide the information required to
    answer your question);
  • hardware that has a paid support option (enterprise/provider class products, some small business class devices);

Also, under Off-Topic, some or all of which may apply to the question:

  • consumer grade products;
  • configuring an application or device to work on the network;
  • protocols above L4 in the OSI model (e.g. HTTP, FTP, etc);

For your bullet points:

  • planning or designing an enterprise / service provider network; My case: I'm trying to design a solution for enterprise network to intercept very specific type of traffic by complex pattern analysis.

You cannot compare planning and designing of a network to designing and building a hardware device to be used in the network.

  • lab scenarios involving on-topic equipment; My case: on-topic equipment is a device that I'm trying to design.

The equipment you propose is off-topic because it does not meet the manufacturer support requirement. A network lab is a network built to test network equipment, protocols, applications, etc., and we are more than happy to help you design a test lab to be built from on-topic equipment, but the design of the equipment is not a test lab.

  • tools used by network professionals; My case: again - I'm designing tool to manipulate network traffic.

The tool does not exist, so there is no support that anyone here could provide for it. If you create the tool then you need to support it, but we don't design the tools that are supported here.

  • servers operating as a router/switch/firewall; My case: my device is a server, operating as switch/bridge with traffic analysis.

This really depends on the traffic you are trying to analyze. If you need to look at and manipulate the application data, then it is off-topic here.

  • design or theory of protocols used to operate a network; My case: I'm kindly requesting information (design or theory) about how to operate a particular device in a network, to achieve particular results.

You have not mentioned any protocols or specific questions about protocols. How to design a hardware/software device is not necessarily specific to a protocol. Also, you must ask a question that doesn't take an entire book to answer. Such a question is far too open-ended and broad to answer here. See What types of questions should I avoid asking?

  • implementing and enforcing network security or policies; My case: I'm trying to implement and enforce network policy.

You have not mentioned specific network policies you are trying to enforce. Also, you must ask a question that doesn't take an entire book to answer. Such a question is far too open-ended and broad to answer here. See What types of questions should I avoid asking?

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Was hoping to reply to this earlier, but this is the first chance I have had to finish my answer (so I apologize for what may now overlap Ron's answer as well).

Please consider that part of the reason your post is not on topic here is that it does not fit in this community so both the number and quality of answers you will likely get here are not what you are hoping to get. We want to steer you to ask your questions where you will get the best answers.

Guy named RonMaupin apparenty had a bad day today, and is trying to close my question (it is "on-hold", I'm not quite sure what that means).

First, totally inappropriate. Second, "on-hold" is the first part of the closing process on SE sites.

I'm trying to build (i.e. engineer) the networking device, and quite non-trivial at that. Is such a question not suited to a board named network engineering? If so, could you please kindly point me to a proper Stack Exchange board?

No, it is not suited to this site. This site is about engineering networks, not devices used on the network or in networking. As to which site your questions does belong, there are a number of possibilities:

  • Programming/Python: Stack Overflow or possibly Software Engineering
  • Raspberry Pi: Raspberry Pi
  • Linux: Unix & Linux or one of the more specialized Linux sites such as Ask Ubuntu
  • Electrical Engineering: Electrical Engineering - in case you are planning on building the actual device.
  • Others? There are a wide variety of SE sites today covering a wide range of topics and unfortunately I am not well versed in all of them. Poke around and you may find an even better site than the ones I mentioned.

Ok, as @RonMaupin insists, and has apparently problems understanding my question and/or board rules, let me specifically link relevant parts from What topics can I ask about here? section:

Please read the whole section and not just the pieces of lines that you want to attempt to make fit your needs. For instance, it also does state under all those on topic points that "this is likely the correct place to ask unless it meets any of the off-topic conditions detailed below." Several of those probably do also apply to your post, but I won't make this any longer by listing the 3+ I see that appear to match your post.

Addressing the points you consider make your post on topic:

  • planning or designing an enterprise / service provider network; My case: I'm trying to design a solution for enterprise network to intercept very specific type of traffic by complex pattern analysis.

Designing a solution for enterprise network is a far cry from designing an enterprise network. Note it doesn't say designing a solution, product or concept for use in a network.

  • lab scenarios involving on-topic equipment; My case: on-topic equipment is a device that I'm trying to design.

First, the equipment you list is not on topic. Nor at present is the device that you are trying to design. So in no way can you meet this requirement.

  • tools used by network professionals; My case: again - I'm designing tool to manipulate network traffic.

Sure, you are designing a tool. However you skip the "used by network professionals." Let's ask if you can give me a list of at least 5 network professionals using your tool? Since you haven't even designed this tool, there is no way this can fit.

  • servers operating as a router/switch/firewall; My case: my device is a server, operating as switch/bridge with traffic analysis.

This is the one that may come closest to fitting, but the intent here is that some networks make use of such boxes in an effort to reduce cost. This is about using solutions that already exist, not about developing an entirely new solution.

  • design or theory of protocols used to operate a network; My case: I'm kindly requesting information (design or theory) about how to operate a particular device in a network, to achieve particular results.

How do you believe your device is a protocol? It may make use of protocols, but it isn't one itself. Here we are referring to things like TCP/IP, OSPF, ICMP, ARP, etc. Protocols that are defined to allow devices to interoperate on a network.

  • implementing and enforcing network security or policies; My case: I'm trying to implement and enforce network policy.

No, you are not trying to implement and enforce a network policy, you are trying to develop a solution that would allow people to implement and enforce a network policy. While the difference may be slight in regards to the wording, it is actually quite a large difference.

As you can see (unless you want to not see), there are half a dozen subjects that qualifies the question as on-topic.

I have to apologize, but I cannot see and it has nothing to do with what I want. I think what you see has far more to do with what you want.

Again, keep in mind we would like to steer your post to where you will likely get the best answers. This is just not the section of the SE community that best fits your needs.

You nitpicking about RPi not having "paid support from manufacturer" is laughable, to say the least. I won't even bother explaining why RPi thing is completely irrelevant. I'm asking about Linux networking solution, RPi was just an example one could use as development board.

We can only base our decisions on information you provide. RPi has been deemed off topic multiple times by the community here. Perhaps editing out the reference can make some posts on topic, but yours does not appear to fit that situation.

P.S.: Are there any other moderators on this site, other than @RonMaupin? Just curious...

Yes. There are three (volunteer) moderators and the larger community (SE sites are community moderated as well). All three of us have also now posted answers to your question here and we all appear to be in agreement. Nor has any member of the community cast a reopen vote on your post showing that they may disagree with Ron's decision.

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