It kinda gets old, asking for the same things over and over again, to help someone out.


User asks about a kvm/qemu networking issue. Some even go as far as providing the output of ifconfig, but almost none of those who have to ask, ever provide the right data.

Would it not be nicer to, besides providing tags and same-topic suggestions automatically, to also suggest some log locations and command outputs for keywords. Getting back to my example this would mean automatically adding these lines to the request:

  • ps -ax|grep qemu-kvm output:
  • ifcfg-* or /etc/network contents:
  • brctl show output:

this would cut resolution time to shreds and help make the Q/A structure of the data at SF.com more consistent and orderly

  • I just know I've seen a request like this somewhere before... here we go: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/36811/… aaaannd meta.stackexchange.com/questions/16843/… Nov 5, 2011 at 20:07
  • you're right, obviously. does this make me wrong in re-asking?
    – dyasny
    Nov 5, 2011 at 20:28
  • btw, those two are in meta.stackoverflow, not meta.serverfault. doesn't matter much, I know, but this would explain why these didn't pop up when I was typing this post in
    – dyasny
    Nov 5, 2011 at 20:29
  • sorry yes I forgot to mention they weren't on this site. No offense intended! I doubt we will get any different answer from the powers that be, but we can wait and see. Nov 6, 2011 at 2:15
  • I haven't seen direct rejection... and these templates can be built up and connected to tags or tag conjunctions I suppose. Would make sense to ask the top posters in specific tag categories to provide templates
    – dyasny
    Nov 6, 2011 at 7:02
  • 1
    This would come in handy. Ex: When a user selects the postfix tag, you could suggest the user to add postconf -d and such... Nov 6, 2011 at 9:10
  • @BartDeVos exactly :)
    – dyasny
    Nov 6, 2011 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


While on the surface this sounds like a good idea the reality is that we would need about a gazillion different templates, which becomes so cumbersome and difficult to work with that it would surprise me if anyone bothered. After all, we can't even get people to read the FAQ. In short, a good idea that will never work.

  • See also: catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html (aka. a good idea that doesn't always work).
    – Andrew
    Nov 7, 2011 at 1:46
  • saying "this will not work" is hardly constructive. how about another approach, maybe a repository of such templates, we could point the topicstarters at, instead of manually typing out a list of command outputs and log locations?
    – dyasny
    Nov 7, 2011 at 9:24
  • 2
    @dyasny, it appears you only view a very small subset of the questions on SF because you've taken an extremely narrow view of what SF is about. Ignoring the practicalities of getting people to use actually templates, they would only be useful for a pretty limited range of questions anyway. You have also failed to take into consideration the human element. Quite simply, humans generally only go to as much bother as they absolutely have to. I won't suggest another approach simply because I don't believe there is a workable and practical solution to the problem. Nov 7, 2011 at 22:10
  • Sorry to cut you in mid flight, when you jump to conclusions so willingly, but the reason I view a small subset of questions on SF is simply because I am interested in a certain subset of topics, where I can contribute and learn at the same time. Templates, IMO, address that exact feature of the human element you highlighted - they provide a ready to fill out set of requirements, instead of going back and forth, which is a convenient thing, and not an extra bother. Of course there is no forcing of hands in filling out every detail in a template, but from my experience - people usually do
    – dyasny
    Nov 8, 2011 at 10:07
  • to cut it short, when you provide a ready set of parameters to fill out, it actually will appeal to the more lazy of us, myself included, who will need only fill out the blanks instead of working hard(er) on asking the question in a right way. I do not want this to turn into a flame war, and I suppose you did not intend to make things personal or to make them sound so condescending, so I'll just ignore that part of your comment.
    – dyasny
    Nov 8, 2011 at 10:11

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