I happened to see the three questions below in short succession, and they all struck me as being "non-questions" because the problems described were either due to a typo or a misinterpretation of what was happening.

It seems to me that even though they have an accepted answer, they're candidates for closing and deleting, but I'm not quite sure why I think that. As I said, they seem NARQ-ish, or maybe it's because a typo is clearly a local error (Layer 8 or ID-Ten-T Error/PEBKAC), I'm not quite sure.

What should be done about this type of question?

How to solve authentication error in sendmail relay through gmail

Squid and AD authentication

haproxy domain routing

  • Isn't finding and catching typos an important part of troubleshooting? Surely SF can help by pointing out where and how to most efficiently look for typos and other "simple" configuration mistakes. Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:56

3 Answers 3


Of the three questions linked to I might tend slightly towards NARQ for the first one but there's no reason to close the other three.

Who amongst us hasn't had an issue that resulted from a typo, missing a step or something equally basic? That's PEBKAC and we all do it. For most it's no big deal because a colleague can look at the problem and often quickly spot the error. For those of us who work alone or don't have a competent colleague SF is that second pair of eyes.

Seriously, if we didn't make mistakes or failed to understand something there would be precious little to ask questions about because just about everything else is RTFM.


It may be NARQ, but this may actually be useful to people in the future. "Hmm… this person's problem was solved by double-checking his credentials… maybe I should double-check mine."

This one wasn't a typo


The key here is that it's a "whoops, I made a typo in one of the option names and the system didn't tell me about it." It's not just a mistyped username/password/whatever.

Even if the problem is PEBKAC, we should apply the test of "is a future sysadmin likely to come across this and find it useful?"


This question came up again recently and I thought a clear answer here would be useful.

The consensus seems to be that most questions where the problem turns out to be a typo are ok. The answers could be useful to someone else who makes the same mistake or a similar one, especially if there's some troubleshooting information in the question or answer.

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