This is regarding my question here, and the subsequent back-and-forth I had with moderator @RonMaupin: "Dumb" conference-phone device?

Before posting this question on NE, I was unsure where on Stack Exchange it belonged. I Googled "stack exchange telecom" and found these 2 posts:

Seeing as the NE Meta post was more recent and the answer was very emphatic that NE is the proper place for telecom questions ("From POTS to ISDN to VoIP to IP telephony, all are part of a network."), I felt confident that NE was the right place for my question.

I posted my question, and shortly afterwards Ron put it on hold because of product recommendations being off-topic. I respectfully explained that my question was not asking for recommendations, but asking if such a device exists at all. He apparently agreed, because the off-topic reason changed to it not being "about professionally managed networks in a business environment. " Again I explained that this was in fact for use in a business environment, as I had written in my question. He commented that "Phones are not on-topic here" (in contradiction to the NE Meta post above) and explained that I can post my disagreement on NE Meta. So here I am.

To summarize:

  1. Are telecom questions on-topic for Network Engineering?
  2. Why was my question on NE marked off-topic?

2 Answers 2


the off-topic reason changed to it not being "about professionally managed networks in a business environment. "

As I explained, that is not the reason. Yes, questions about a telephone network are on-topic, the same way questions about a data network are on-topic. Unfortunately, questions about the hosts (endpoints) of the networks are not on-topic here. You are asking about an end-device (host) of a network, and questions about those are off-topic on Network Engineering. If you had asked about a device you could connect to your network that would let you type a message and send it to someone else, that too would be off-topic.

What is on-topic are the devices that create the network (routers, switches, etc.), but there are a couple of caveats to even on-topic questions, one of which is:

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

  • The part about hosts not being on-topic is what I was missing; I don't think you mentioned that in your comments on my post. Thanks for the explanation Ron, I understand now. Is there a different SE site you recommend I try posting it? (I understand that's not part of your duties, just thought I'd ask)
    – wysiwyg
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 15:43
  • I thought I explained that endpoints are not on-topic. I'm not sure where phones are on-topic. Super User doesn't allow questions about phones, and there are a few SE sites for specific mobile phone platforms, but the wouldn't cover your question.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 15:50

I would suggest the moderator at this SE site to actually read people's question first. I posted a question about recommendation and feasibility of different approaches in setting up networking for a cluster, which is clearly relevant to this site. But the moderator don't even read it through or understand my question, and immediately mark it off-topic and hold the condescending attitude "You should do your homework", "We network engineers don't recommend", "It's your own design problem" as if he's some kind of noble elite.

Just for the record, I consulted several sysadmins before asking the question and did extensive search on the topic but couldn't really find a definitive answer. So I posted the question here in hope some experienced network engineer maybe could offer some pointer that I can refer to further investigate and research.

I strongly recommend the moderator to take a look at the other stackexchange sites to see how the other moderators are running their sites and realize what a poor community culture he's trying to build here.

This is not a special SE site, and you are not an elite Mr.KnowItAll. So before you so quickly mark someone's post as off-topic, think twice. The knowledge is constructed by the entire community. There might be someone in the community who is actually more generous than you to be willing to help. This is the seriously most unfriendly tech site I've ever been on. I think even Linus Torvalds is behaving more friendly than the paranoid moderator.

  • "I posted a question about recommendation and setting up networking for a cluster, which is clearly relevant to this site." From your Network Engineering profile: "This user has not asked any questions." You seem to be lying about asking a question. I'm not sure why you would make up something like this.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 0:09
  • "...setting up networking for a cluster, which is clearly relevant to this site." That may not be the case. It really depends a lot on how your word the question (if it is too broad or asks for recommendations, then it is off-topic per SE guidelines), and what it is you are wanting to configure (if you mean a cluster of VMs in a server, then that would be off-topic here). Also, sysadmins are not network engineers. The help center does a good job of explaining what the Network Engineering community wants for this site.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 0:14
  • 1
    wow, i deleted my profile after your asshole response, and now you are saying I'm lying. what a short memory you have...and what a jerk moderator you are..
    – Oxdeadbeef
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 20:29
  • 1
    look at your own response, "sysadmins are not network engineers". yeah, how typical. that's exactly what are talking about your disqualification as a moderator.
    – Oxdeadbeef
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 20:31
  • "i deleted my profile after your asshole response" Not with the same user name, even though you have had that user name on Stack Overflow for seven years, and you use it for several SE sites? Please show us the post in question.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 22:25
  • Sysadmins are not network engineers, and that is why we have both Server Fault and Network Engineering.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 22:50

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