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My latest question has been closed as off topic. I've read the FAQ and am quite sure my question was both practical and answerable (indeed it was answered and the answer solved the problem). I thought there could be a problem with the very first paragraph concerning "system administrators and desktop support professionals", but I've never claimed to be a hobbyist administrator or whatever. I also thought there could be a problem with "vmware player" not containing the word "server", but "There are 3,767 search results for posts containing vmware", so this should be no problem either.

So I quickly ran out of ideas and must ask: What's wrong with my question? What's the right place if not serverfault?

I'm starting to feel sort of stupid because of having to ask such "trivialities", but none of the closers cared to leave a hint.

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    Crazy it was closed. Folks are waaaay too trigger happy about closing topics around here. – samsmith Oct 16 '13 at 16:12
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    You're banging on about a question posted 20 months ago when we had a completely different set of FAQ and Help docs? Get a grip. – Magellan Oct 16 '13 at 17:15
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To start with, just a pet peeve, and not really relevant to your situation, but vmware is a brand name, not a product.

Secondly, I sympathise. Our FAQ is currently about 3 years old and has hardly been touched since day 1, even though the site has evolved, and we are in the process of rectifying this.

Thirdly, I would challenge how your question fits in with what is in the current FAQ, namely:

If your question is about...

  • Servers
  • Networks
  • Desktop PCs that you maintain in the workplace

Fourthy, just as a side-note, I suggest you take a peek at this. It too has been closed as off-topic, but it has a very good answer.

VMware Player is intended for your own personal non-commercial use only. Player may only be used commercially or be re-distributed with written agreement from VMware

(emphasis mine)

The fact that this is non-commercial use, and a non-commerical-use product immediately puts it in a grey area.

I believe your question would have been totally accepted over on Super User and if I had seen it was about to be closed before it was closed, I would have moved it instead of closing it. However, you did get an answer here, so really that's the main goal, right?

  • +1 Nice answer... so the guys derived from the player being intended for non-commercial use that I am a home-user and that's the reason for closing. But wait... what if I was a support professional helping some home user? What if I haven't mentioned "player" in my question? What if I had such a written agreement? No matter what, this is the most ridiculous criterion I've ever heard of. I understand that the problems of professionals and home users differ, but IMHO the distinction is too blurred and makes searching for relevant information harder rather than easier. – maaartinus Feb 1 '12 at 1:41
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    @maaartinus - well, VMWare Player is not for business use and it has no place running the kinds of services that we help with on this site. If you're a pro helping a home user, Super User is your friend. If you had replaced "player" with "workstation" it may have been deemed on-topic, but the answers you received may very well have not worked with player. If you did have a written agreement, well, ignore my fourth point, but the question would still be off-topic. As I said, the FAQ is really, really being re-worked to try and avoid these sorts of conflicts in the future, so I can only aplogise. – Mark Henderson Feb 1 '12 at 1:48
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    The sites withing the stackexchange network are aimed at being for a particular niche/purpose. serverfault is primarily focused questions related to supporting medium/large sized networks, though some small business stuff gets through as well. If you don't like how topics are broken up, may I point you at Yahoo Answers as an example of why having everything in one places is bad. – Zoredache Feb 1 '12 at 1:49
  • @maaartinus two things, one there are only 92 questions tagged 'vmware-player', two you like a lot of people miss a very important character in the Desktop PC part "Desktop PC->s<- ..." as in multiple PCs, more than one – Zypher Feb 1 '12 at 2:18
  • Many thanks to Mark Henderson. @Zoredache: But the niches/purposes are greatly overlapping, the distinction unclear, and the sheer amount of closed/moved question proves it. Yahoo Answers? Are you kidding? Their problem is not having everything in one place, their problems are countless, especially having no tags and no voting. A sort of super-tag could IMHO do here all the needed separation much better than using different URL and different look-and-feel, but this is another discussion. – maaartinus Feb 1 '12 at 2:25
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    @maaartinus, even if the question was regarding a home user you are supporting in a professional capacity it still fails the "Desktop PCs that you maintain in the workplace" criteria. – John Gardeniers Feb 1 '12 at 3:47
  • "However, you did get an answer here, so really that's the main goal, right?" And that is a clue that the question is good and that it belongs here. The whole thread is completely at home here, is clearly written, and gets to a happy ending. That is what SF is for, right? (So why should it get closed?) – samsmith Oct 16 '13 at 16:14

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