My question got closed by Ron Maupin with the justification that it contained the Mikrotik tag (the question was on-topic). The justification was that Mikrotik doesn't offer paid support, which is technically the case. They have lists of certified consultants, who offer paid support. They also have free support for the first 30 days after a purchase, which I would consider paid (you have to buy a device to get it).

Now before anybody says "Well that's the rules", I want to point out that I realize that. This question is about why the rules are the way they are.

Anyway, that's a specific case. My more generic question is, why? If a vendor doesn't offer paid support, doesn't that make this site all the more valuable? And should we start counting certified consultants officially listed on the vendor's site as paid support?

Now before anybody says "Well that's the rules", I want to point out that I realize that. This question is about why the rules are the way they are. Why has the community decided to put this rule in place, and does the community think that the above is a reasonable exception?

EDIT: Ron Maupin pointed me to this answer explaining the decision. (TL;DR: Too many people posted questions about SOHO/small business networks with a single segment, and this was a way to try to weed those out). So the why has been answered.

  1. Does the community believe that the exception above would be a reasonable one that does not counteract the purpose of the rule?
  2. Another potential solution: Rather than rule out the hardware, why not rule out the networks? Perhaps rule out "Networks that have fewer than 3 routed segments".
  3. A third potential solution: Keep the current rule, but make it essentially say "The vender must offer paid support OR the device must be capable of some business-grade protocols such as OSPF, MPLS, BGP, and RADIUS."

These are just potential ideas, all with their own flaws, but I personally feel that there's something wrong if Mikrotik doesn't have a place in network engineering - it's absolutely enterprise class. (If you need more justification that this is the case I'd be happy to expand on it.)

EDIT 2: What if we had a checklist? "On-topic if it meets at least X out of these Y criteria." Potential criteria:

  • Vendor has paid support option
  • Product has enterprise protocol support (I'll leave what protocols specifically up for discussion)
  • Vendor offers hardware with their software pre-installed
  • Vendor certifies consultants to act as paid support
  • Network in question has >2 routed subnets
  • ???

I'd like to point out that I completely understand and agree with the reason for the rule, just not the rule itself. I don't want a site like this flooded with "help my internet doesn't work" or "how do I port forward".

  • This answer provides an explanation.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Aug 20 '17 at 0:15
  • So it was a way of attempting to eliminate questions about what are essentially home networks? I must say that's a bad way to draw the line. Updating question. Aug 20 '17 at 0:20
  • As is pointed out in the answer, we are open to a better solution, but so far, nobody has offered one. We need to draw a line in the sand, and while not perfect, the current line is visible to everyone.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Aug 20 '17 at 0:22
  • I am about to offer a potentially better solution, although do you personally think that the exception would be a reasonable one that does not counteract the purpose of the rule? Aug 20 '17 at 0:24
  • Without seeing a proposed solution, I cannot have an opinion, one way or the other.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Aug 20 '17 at 0:25
  • I was referring to the exception about the certified consultants. Aug 20 '17 at 0:28
  • I am not especially keen on that. That could apply to definite consumer-grade devices, e.g. a Linksys or Netgear router running something like Tomato or DD/WRT. See this question and the detailed answer.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Aug 20 '17 at 0:31
  • Updated question. I don't believe DD-WRT or Tomato certifies consultants for their hardware. I'd also like to add that Mikrotik offers devices with their software pre-installed, which could be a criterion. Aaand new idea coming up Aug 20 '17 at 0:39
  • Does anybody have any more feedback on this? Aug 24 '17 at 17:27
  • My feedback is that even with the rules in place that there are vastly too many home network questions. It's not uncommon to find 60%+ of the questions on the front page on hold because they're either incredibly basic (read: duplicate) or about home infrastructure (...and also usually incredibly basic / duplicate). I don't really have a strong opinion about consumer-grade vs enterprise gear, but I do tend to agree that the vast majority of questions involving such consumer gear almost universally decreases the SN ratio.
    – rnxrx
    Aug 26 '17 at 21:25
  • @rnxrx And I completely understand that. It's just we need to figure out a better way to differentiate. Right now anything about this is disallowed under the rule in place to prevent consumer hardware. (For god's sake only one of its ports are Ethernet; the rest are SFP.) Aug 26 '17 at 22:37
  • I think the real problem is that we need a definite, simple, clear line to draw. Having a checklist to determine what equipment is or is not on-topic is going to lead to real problems. It seems that today, everyone is an amateur lawyer, and everyone's question is an exception that should be allowed. There are only two current caveats, and everyone wants to be able to ignore those because their questions meet something allowed (for example, networkengineering.meta.stackexchange.com/q/710/8499). Adding a checklist to the caveats muddies the water even more.
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Aug 29 '17 at 17:31
  • @Ron Maupin 1. What are the two caveats you're referring to? 2. I see what you're saying about the checklist, but unfortunately there always will be real problems. Not all enterprise networking companies are the same. Mikrotik is being rejected purely because they don't offer paid support, they offer paid training instead. To me this seems like a huge problem - take a look at the router I mentioned in my reply to rnxrx. That is the exact opposite of a consumer grade router. Aug 29 '17 at 17:45
  • The two caveats are listed at the bottom of the On-Topic section: "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);"
    – Ron Maupin Mod
    Aug 29 '17 at 17:55
  • 1
    I do feel the distinction is required to stop arguments and disappointment from posters , we are trying to make it so the questions are complex and for skilled network resources , I still get irritated seeing mikrotik questions immediately closed , but can't see an alternative line In the sand that would work.
    – Ross
    Dec 24 '17 at 21:22

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