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My question was closed by freiheit because he assumed my question related to 'home stuff' whereas it was very much related to my business and concerns hardware at my business address even! How can I get this question reopened? Can another moderator override freiheit's decision?

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    It might not be "home use" but it's a development environment based on equipment that no one in their right mind would use in the real world. That's still off topic, I'm afraid. – Rob Moir Nov 11 '12 at 21:02
  • FWIW, we get a constant stream of devs asking similar questions without realising that that neither they nor their questions meet the SF criteria, as described in the FAQ. – John Gardeniers Nov 12 '12 at 2:28
  • Thanks for all the answers on here, but I think four downvotes is harsh. I think the meta question was valid, even if the serverfault question wasn't. Technical fiefdom arrogance at its best. I'll stick to .NET dev. Pays better anyway ;) – Neo Nov 12 '12 at 5:21
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    @Neo - meta is different with regards to downvotes. They don't count against you. – EEAA Nov 12 '12 at 5:30
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As Scott already pointed out, this was a community closure, not a moderator closure -- five users, for whatever reasons they had, felt that your question did not meet the scope of topicality defined in the Server Fault FAQ.
After reading the question I do not believe it's a good fit for Server Fault, and am personally not inclined to override their judgment.


As has already been said, Server Fault is unique among the Stack Exchange technology sites in that we are a site "for professionals" - as such there is a standard of professionalism expected (what Scott described as the "Would I be willing to sell this to a customer?" test), and I don't believe your question passes muster there.

You are proposing to take your current environment, which does pas the "Would I sell this to a customer?" test, and convert it to one that fails on a number of levels - the most obvious being that you're going to stick everything behind a dynamic IP (expect email to break - if not by ISP policy then by DNS records outliving your IP address and sending mail to nobody-knows-where. This can be as much a security/information disclosure concern as a reliability one, and makes troubleshooting a nightmare in any case.).
You are also proposing to run your whole environment on a single piece of hardware for seemingly no other reason than "it says it can run these services" -- as was pointed out in the comments that's a lousy way to make design decisions and is setting you off in the wrong direction.

This is not something I can recommend in good conscience, and I would wager the majority of our community feels the same.
Helping you shoot yourself in the foot is not "professional": it does you a disservice, and it endangers the reputation of Server Fault as a source for quality information.


If your goal is to learn and experience all the "nuances" to hosting e-mail and a website this is the wrong way to go about it. You would be better served with a cheap $10/mo virtual private server somewhere and a selection of tutorials (pick your operating system and then google around - there are tons of them).

This would allow you to PROPERLY experience what's involved in hosting a web/mail environment (including important things like how to configure the services you need, much of which the Synology device is going to try to hide from you) without having to deal with the substantial added complexity (and risk of breakage) your proposed setup has.
It will be a better learning experience, and when your learning is done you will have an environment that's actually reliable and stable, which can be used in a professional/business capacity if that's your end goal (or easily shut down without leaving any cruft, if all you want to do is play and learn).

  • I think we just unknowingly wrote the exact same answer. :) – EEAA Nov 11 '12 at 20:52
  • @EEAA yup, and as usual yours is shorter than mine :) – voretaq7 Nov 11 '12 at 20:53
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    Not sure if I was supposed to take that literally or figuratively. – EEAA Nov 11 '12 at 20:56
  • I'm going to accept your answer, simply because you mentioned the one major technical pitfall that I neglected. "email to break - if not by ISP policy then by DNS records outliving your IP address and sending mail to nobody-knows-where." This is the one thing that I have no control over with a dynamic IP and probably the best reason to ditch this whole idea altogether. – Neo Nov 12 '12 at 5:16
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    @Neo - and I mentioned that exact issue in my second comment to your original question. – EEAA Nov 12 '12 at 5:31
  • @EEAA Not quite, maybe in a roundabout way. Your two comments were ranty and said "if you're on a dynamic IP address, you might as well just forget about doing that". – Neo Nov 12 '12 at 10:35
  • 1) sometimes rants are needed to get someone's attention. 2) vortaq7 only told half of the story of why hosting email behind a dynamic address is a losing proposition. The other has to do with RBLs, but I wasn't going to attempt to explain both in a comment. – EEAA Nov 12 '12 at 13:56
  • You didn't need to rant to get my attention. Just a nice calm camomile-tea message would have sufficed. And an Answer could've been used if a comment wasn't enough. But with 41.5K rep, I don't need to teach you to suck eggs ey? ;) – Neo Nov 12 '12 at 19:07
  • Alright, fair enough. Kudos for not needing a rant. Unfortunately you're an outlier here, as we get many, many people that come here asking about ridiculous ideas, and they won't accept the answer that they're doing it wrong. – EEAA Nov 12 '12 at 22:18
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There are two conditions under which a question can be marked as closed.

  1. A moderator (those users who were elected by the community to help manage the site and have a diamond beside their name) casts a binding close vote, or
  2. A cabal of 5 users, that is not moderators, all cast votes deciding that a question should be closed.

The question you asked was handle by the second case. In fact, the full list of users involved in closing the question are listed at the bottom, see:

Close Reason and Users

So while freiheit was involved, he is not a moderator and was only one of 5 users who felt that the question didn't pass muster when compared against the ServerFault FAQ.

Your situation is one that meets a bit of a fuzzy line for the site. While you may, in fact, be doing this for a business the setup you described is one that would be used in a home environment. I imagine this is the section of the FAQ that resulted in the disagreement:

FAQ Text

Bullets 3 and 4 clearly don't apply, since the question asked isn't in those technical domains. While the Synology gear is nice, I know of one IT department that has a DS-1010+ on their workbench, it definitely isn't Enterprise grade storage, so the 2nd bullet doesn't apply. That leaves us with checking your situation against the first one. Your question, in my mind, is closest to the bit about server hardware and software.

What I try to do in a situation like this is ask myself, "Would I be willing to sell this service to a customer?" That is, is the configuration good enough that it's stable, secure, and robust enough for me not to feel skeezy taking money for it. If no, then it's probably not a good fit. SeverFault takes heat for this kind of situation at times because, unlike many other StackExchange sites, the goal of this one is that the information here is for professionals to use in their professional lives.

As a personal example, I use XBMC at home for my televisions. I may very well set up a Synology to act as the file server for the videos, and I may enable MySQL on it to share the content database. This would save me the hassle of building a box to do this, and then having to maintain it on my free time. However, there's no way I would feel comfortable doing the same thing at work. I may use my expertise as an IT Professional to configure and run the NAS, but I'm acting in the role of a nerdy husband/father when I do it.

All that being said, I can't claim to speak for any of the people involved in closing your question. However, personally, I probably would have voted to close it as well.

To more specifically answer your other question about overriding the decision, yes, it can most certainly be done. A closed question can be reopened in the same way that they're closed.

  1. A moderator casts a reopen vote
  2. A cabal of 5 users cast reopen votes.

Bringing up the question here on meta will definitely get a lot more eyes on it. Or, alternatively, you can flag it (which alerts moderators and sufficiently high rep users) so that they'll get an eye on it. You can also go talk to other ServerFaulters in The Comms Room. Many of the folk who hang out in that chat room have sufficiently high rep to cast both close and reopen votes.

  • Thanks for your detailed answer. Your answer clearly outlines the non-compliance of my Question with the FAQ (the four bullet points you listed). Your answer together with the others has convinced me that I would be best sticking with my 1&1 host for website and e-mail (Exchange) for enterprise application. 1) It seems I won't really learn what I'm expecting to learn on a Synology NAS, and 2) Due to (1), I'll be wasting a whole lot of my time which is worth a lot more than the monthly cost to use a proper host like 1&1. Thanks for your help. I'll upvote you, but I'm accepting another answer. – Neo Nov 12 '12 at 5:02
  • @Neo: No worries. In the end, this site is all about teaching and learning. If that goal got accomplished, then we won, right? – Scott Pack Nov 13 '12 at 2:02
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OK, I'll bite.

Scott Pack did an excellent job explaining the situation, but since I was one of the ones voting to close the question, I figured I should weigh in.

My reasoning for voting to close is thus: you admitted that you were doing this in a home environment, on non-professional gear, on a dynamic IP address, for the purposes of familiarizing yourself with the technology. Understood, and that's certainly a noble goal. However, you'd be learning wrong. Doing what you propose would be like someone wanting to become an auto mechanic and deciding to go out and buy a remote control car to "learn" on. Sure, you are going to learn some things working with the Synology and your dynamic IP, but then you're going to have to learn an entirely new set of skills when you go to host your application in production.

If you want to learn this stuff, do it right. Pony up for a real VPS to tinker with - a decent VPS (I heartily recommend Linode) will set up back no more than $20/month, and in addition to being able to run circles around your Synology box, it also is hosted on a real, multi-homed internet connection, on a static IP address, in a real datacenter. Learning in this environment will be much more productive for you, as you won't need to fight the technology (dynamic IP, spam blacklists, port forwarding, ISP downtime, etc.).

So, to conclude, my decision to close still stands, though not for the same reasons as I voted last night. When I placed the vote, it was not clear that this was for business purposes, and as such, was off-topic. Now that we know that this is indeed for business purposes (even though you aren't a sysadmin by trade), I still feel that it needs to stay closed due to the "it's just a really bad idea" factor. As a professional sysadmin, I (and others) here feel deeply that we need to speak strongly against Questions that ask about doing something in clearly the wrong way, or answers that recommend the same. I can't in good conscience tell you that what you propose is a good idea.

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    This pretty much summarizes my reasons as well; I have nothing to add. – Michael Hampton Nov 11 '12 at 22:23
  • Not just one of those voting to close but the first one listed, so if any one voter was to be "blamed" it should have been you, not freiheit. Maybe a bit of selective reading by the OP? – John Gardeniers Nov 12 '12 at 2:26
  • I'll gladly take the blame. I think freheit was blamed due to his last comment and the fifth close vote happening at near the same time. – EEAA Nov 12 '12 at 2:27
  • Thanks, in a way, for nothing (I jest). But, never did I "admit" that I was doing this in a home environment, so you've got that little fact wrong. This is at a business address, so I would never have said it's in a home environment in any case. Anyhow, I currently have the 1&1 Business Package which is a shared server, but still gives me some flexibility to tinker around. I just wanted to learn a bit more about running my own servers (web, mail, etc.) to gain more knowledge of the "nuances" involved. For the reasons I mentioned in my reply to Scott Pack's answer, I'll stick with 1&1 for now. – Neo Nov 12 '12 at 5:08

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