I've seen a lot of questions migrated to from Server Fault to Pro Webmasters, included one of mine.

Of course it was my fault I didn't look exactly where I was posting - I don't try to deny that. But since I've seen more people doing the same mistake I wonder if the banner I've seen on Stack Overflow could cause confusion - it went something like "Got server questions? Try Server Fault".

I was really convinced that at Server Fault I will get my question about the server issue answered after seeing that. I don't know how to accept an answer for that question either, or comment on the answers as I normally can for my questions, so confusion might spread even more.

I agree that people should be careful what they do, but we're kind of all trying to do so many things in so little time, and confusion doesn't help.

Is my logic so bad or is that banner (and maybe not only the banner) confusing?

migrated from serverfault.com Apr 14 '11 at 11:17

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

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    Sorry, but I'm not really sure why you think the banner is mis-leading? – Mark Henderson Apr 14 '11 at 11:18
  • I don't know if it's your logic that's at fault. Perhaps you should have taken notice of that rather large banner across the top of the page when you first came here. You know the one, about reading the FAQ. Why not take a minute and do it now? – John Gardeniers Apr 14 '11 at 11:26
  • I had a question about the .htaccess file on my server and after seeing the question here it migrated immediately at Pro Webmasters, where it belongs. I'm not sure why - maybe because a lot of (ignorant) people like me think of servers rather as machines websites are hosted on than anything else. But if those (ignorant and) confused people (me included) are not a problem, I guess my question doesn't make sense. – user78394 Apr 14 '11 at 12:57
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    Please don't think of questions being moved in cases like yours as correcting "wrong" or "bad" behaviour. We handle general cases of network/server issues here, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a site in the stack exchange network that isn't a better fit for a specific question. As I think someone said in one of your answers, your question wasn't moved from the wrong place to the right place, it was moved from a right place to a "righter" place. – Rob Moir Apr 14 '11 at 18:21
  • Now I understand better why was the question moved and why the banner isn't misleading. Thank you for your comments and for your help, @Mark Henderson , @John Gardeniers , @Robert Moir ! – user78394 Apr 15 '11 at 16:12
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I agree there is regularly confusion between these areas, but the terms being used really are the correct ones. Programming, server administration, and website administration are really separate fields. There is overlap of course, but for any given question there is usually a pretty good chance that the answer is more likely to be known by an expert in one of those fields and not another.

Perhaps the "ask a question" quick guides could have a better way to remind users of a site that there are several other related sites and suggest the appropriate site, but in general I don't see what wording you think is actually out of place. In spite of often being confused, servers and websites are not equivalent terms.

  • Thank you for your answer. I don't actually want to argue about the correctness of the terms used in the banner. I merely want to say that the confusion (many? few?) people make in this area leads the wrong people here and if a word mentioning a difference between Server Fault and Webmasters Pro for instance could eliminate the confusion, maybe less questions will need to migrate. – user78394 Apr 14 '11 at 13:14
  • To a complete ignorant in the field it could be difficult to tell the difference between the two at the beginning, when maybe people like me don't even know how to ask the question they need the answer for (because we don't have enough technical knowledge to understand what is wrong, we just perceive that something is not as expected but don't even know what that something is called). – user78394 Apr 14 '11 at 13:15
  • So maybe my question should have been: is there any improvement that can be brought to the banner that could decrease ambiguity? What does it take to tell from the current banner that it is about one thing and not about the other? How many people knowing the difference ask questions here versus the others? I really don't want to criticize anyone, I admitted that I was at fault, but think that maybe one good chosen word could maybe make a difference. Just my 2 cents. – user78394 Apr 14 '11 at 13:19
  • And one more thing: it's not difficult to read a quick guide, the FAQ - if you have to do it once; but when you're looking for an answer in a field you know nothing about, there are sometimes so many guides to read that you feel overwhelmed and after a few weeks you leave your intuition guide you - and if a banner or a name tricks your intuition into thinking that you're in the right place, you end up wasting your time, and the time of others, without even meaning to do it. How many people learning something totally new never made such mistakes? – user78394 Apr 14 '11 at 13:24
  • There are 1,412 questions found on Server Fault when I search for htaccess; if all those people who asked them are wrong, than my question here makes sense; if not - why was my question moved? This question has been visited 32 times in less than 5 hours here; my question there 41 times in 3 days - maybe it's not relevant, but maybe it is. It's not about me getting that answer, it's about (maybe lots of) confused people. – user78394 Apr 14 '11 at 13:56
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    @keiki ... relax man, that's why this is a collaborative community. Maybe you didn't ask in the right place, that's why volunteer moderators help migrate it. Maybe you didn't tag it right, we can all fix that. Maybe you spelled something wrong, we can even edit your question to fix that and make it clearer. Just learn as you go along. As for .htaccess stuff being on this site, the webmasters site is new so many old questions would have been here. Also some of them would still be best here, but if they really are about administering a site they would now best be asked over at webmasters. – Caleb Apr 14 '11 at 19:35
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    You're right, I should relax, especially now that I see it is not such a huge crime being a bit confused, that I didn't make everybody angry and that this way people being able to judge better than a newbie what belongs here and what doesn't can filter the questions and make sure they end at the most appropriate place. Thank you so much for your answer and support! – user78394 Apr 15 '11 at 16:00

It may not have been a case of your question being in the wrong place, but more a matter of someone moving it to a more correct place. There is overlap on a lot of these sites and the community generally just tries to make sure questions go to where they have the best chance of being answered.

That said, Serverfault is the right place to ask server questions but not necessarily the right place to ask about everything that can be done on a server. The reason we are able to move questions around so easily is to help the new users who may not know where everything should be.

As more sites get through the Area 51 process we'll see more of this overlap and need for migration. Don't feel bad when it happens just try and figure out why a question was moved and take that into consideration next time.

  • Now I understand better how the flux of questions are managed here, and is clearer to me that the banner has no mistakes. But this is it, when you're a newbie you happen to bump in lots of confusing things before mastering the desired knowledge. Thank you very much for your answer. – user78394 Apr 15 '11 at 16:01

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