Recently, there was a popular Meta question concerning changing the site subtitle to prevent inbound migrations of off-topic questions.

The old site subtitle was:

Q&A for system administrators and desktop support professionals

The site subtitle recently changed to:

Q&A for professional system and network administrators

We continue to receive off-topic questions that are asked directly at ServerFault. When asking a new question, users are told only that their question should relate to "servers, networking, or desktop infrastructure." For the majority of users who do not read the FAQ, there is no indication whatsoever that questions will be rejected if they do not relate to these topics in a professional capacity.

We are wasting our time, not to mention that of countless naive askers, because the "Ask Question" user experience practically invites off-topic questions relating to home networking and home workstations.

Should we change the "Ask a question" title hint and sidebar to specify "in a professional capacity"?

1 Answer 1


You are right, that is one area that the scope is not defined. Well, the very critical distinction of our scope, at any rate. I believe you are correct, that the wording in the Ask a Question side-bar:

Ask a Question, just one in-scope please

Be adjusted appropriately:

Is your question in a professional context, and relating to servers, networking, or related infrastructure?

The drop of 'desktop' is intentional as a minority of such questions that get asked here are actually topical. It is by far the most subtle thing in our scope to explain, and one that just can't be done in 15 words or less; especially 15 words that have to explain other topics as well.

  • 3
    I kinda think that the sort of people who will read that are the sort of people who don't need to read it, if you see what I mean. We certainly should try our best to help them, though.
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 12:42
  • 3
    @RobM The theory here is that people will read the bold text, even with just a glance, so getting that 'professional' word in there may cause enough doubt in the edge cases to cut down our OT-rate. It may not be a lot, but it'll help.
    – sysadmin1138 Mod
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 13:58
  • 1
    Oh I get that, I totally agree with doing it. I'm just saying, lets not over-estimate how much effect it will have on the 'post and run' brigade.
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 14:07
  • 1
    Suggested addition, similar to the "ask it on meta" blurb (if feasible): "If your question is about personal computing, ask it on SuperUser instead."
    – Skyhawk
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 5:25
  • 6
    Any chance that "read the faq" could be in bright red, blinking and 72 point? "FAQ" should also be capitalised. Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 7:04
  • Note that this text appears in two places on the Ask Question page, so I tweaked your suggestion slightly.
    – Shog9
    Commented Nov 30, 2012 at 19:50
  • Completely agree with this. We need to emphasize that this site is for professionals.
    – gparent
    Commented Nov 30, 2012 at 20:15

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