I asked what the community thought was too simple. Here is the link. And yes it has been voted down and closed. I am happy with that. I am just surprised at the tone of some comments. Does it help the community by using terms like "crap" on genuine queries? Honestly?

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    "crap" is only used in the context of site-to-site question migrations, because we feel strongly that one site should not use another site as a "dumping ground" for questions they don't want. It's not really meant as a slight on your question. Your question is simplistic, but it is not bad. I have seen so much worse... Jun 25, 2011 at 20:51

7 Answers 7


But the question was crap; if my hand is lying on the floor, blood is spurting from my wrist and I'm losing consciousness I don't ask my Doctor what's up, it's beyond obvious.

Serverfault is for professional sysadmins, who tend to read and comprehend error messages.


As the others have pointed out, "crap question" is an accepted term in the StackExchange world.

Beyond that, SF - like the other SE sites - is a community and has some community norms, including a dislike of poor quality questions. Things that go against those norms will sometimes get harsh treatment. Most of the regulars are pretty easy-going most of the time, but any given bad question might happen to get a harsher response. There are no long-term consequences, you're welcome to ask a more appropriate question any time and no-one is going to remember that they thought an earlier question was less on-topic.

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    I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, much less what someone asked the day before. Jun 24, 2011 at 23:27
  • "crap" is only appropriate in the context of migration -- as a scary word to prevent migration of things that aren't good enough -- not as a general term. Jun 25, 2011 at 20:46
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    +1 for that last sentence. As far as I'm aware nobody here holds grudges for previous posts. More than once I've downvoted a question or answer, then within minutes upvoted another by the same person. I have no reason to think that makes me unique. Jun 27, 2011 at 13:45

Within the defined scope of SF questions your's is, at least, off-topic. As written the question indicates a home user having issue with their laptop -- this could be within the scope of Super User.

There are two other issues in play here:

  1. Question migration is a complicated topic for the community.

    The "crap" reference comes from Jeff's answer on this topic.

  2. Poorly researched/asked questions are not warmly received here.

    Your question reads as though you've invested zero effort in writing it, or finding resolution. You may want to learn more about how to ask better questions prior to your next posting.


I was merely quoting Jeff Atwood (one of the founders of Stack Exchange) who will often be caught spouting don't migrate crap, and I happen to strongly agree with his opinion.

The reason I voted down and voted to close your question was because it practically contained the answer inside of it. In my very humble opinion you wasted your time posting it and everyone else's time who decided to read it.

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    Also, not the OP's fault, but it should never have been migrated to Server Fault, it should have been sent to Super User if anywhere at all Jun 24, 2011 at 23:20
  • @Mark I don't see that question as having been migrated from somewhere else, unless you see something I don't. Jun 24, 2011 at 23:26
  • @MarkHenderson: I didn't notice it being migrated in to SF. Surely if it had been we wouldn't have had the option to migrate it out to SU (which would have been migrating crap...)?
    – user9517
    Jun 24, 2011 at 23:31
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    Uuh, my bad. I was looking at the wrong question. Jun 25, 2011 at 1:37
  • @Mark, and yours is the hand we trust with the almighty Mod Hammer? Egads, I weep... :P Jun 25, 2011 at 13:32
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    @Holo - I'm not quite sure what that's meant to mean... I'll have you know I do my modding very seriously. There was nothing for me to mod, which is why I didn't pay it very close attention. Jun 25, 2011 at 21:52
  • @Mark I was only kidding... You have to a apply a "He's not really being serious" filter to about 90% of what I say :) Jun 26, 2011 at 0:17

The 'crap' comment refers to the principal of 'Not migrating crap'. Your question was deemed off topic for SF and early voters suggested it should be migrated to SU. As the answer to your question was contained in the error message you posted then it was deemed a crap question and dealt with accordingly.

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    Agreed...I did vote to migrate, but should have just voted to close. Note to self to pay more attention to that in the future. :)
    – EEAA
    Jun 25, 2011 at 1:25

Sorry, if an end user can't figure out what an absurdly obvious error message like this means they should be taking the machine to someone who knows something about computers, rather than asking for help in an inappropriate place. As such there's just no way it belongs or SU, let alone SF.

If you feel offended by how we view the question just imagine how we feel every time we see such questions. What you've done is the equivalent of taking your personal computer to work and asking the IT department to fix it for you. Please do us the courtesy of reading the FAQ before posting again.


I wouldn't consider this question crap in a user context. A message like “smart failure predicted on hard disk 0” (or even “SMART failure predicted on hard disk 0”) is absolutely not clear to an end user. So the question would be ok on Super User.

But Server Fault is intended for professionals. Professionals are expected to know what SMART is already; or if they don't they're at least expected to realize that it's a technical term that they need to look up.

So from an SF perspective, this question is crap. From an SU perspective, it's a valid question. Ideally the question should have been migrated, but in this case it's perfectly understandable that closers would take the safe path and not migrate a question that doesn't look good to them.

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    I'm afraid I beg to differ when you say this is an OK user question. I stick by what I said in my comment that the message tells you very clearly what to do. I don't know how much clearer you can make WARNING: Immediately back-up your data and replace your hard disk drive. A failure may be imminent. Jun 25, 2011 at 14:47
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    @BenPilbrow Windows displays a lot of scary messages, and it's not always a good idea to take them at face value. Users can't even tell a genuine antivirus warning from a pop-up ad in a web page. So asking what this message really means is absolutely a valid question. Jun 25, 2011 at 15:01
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    I understand what you're saying, but it does seem a tad ... obvious ... in this case. Jun 25, 2011 at 20:49
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    This wasn't Windows giving this error, Giles, this is not some website popup. It's a message displayed by the BIOS very early on in the boot sequence. Sometimes people have to accept that a message says what it means and means what it says, & if they're not able to make that distinction themselves then any online resource is unlikely to be able to help. I'm not saying that all users should be able to figure this stuff out, but I am saying that if they can't then they should take the computer to a repair shop because diagnosis over the web is too difficult and problematic in that case.
    – Rob Moir
    Jun 28, 2011 at 17:28

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