At the request of Stack Exchange staff --who like the changes I have proposed-- I am posting this here for discussion.
The SF FAQ, in my opinion, is seriously flawed and really needs updating. Like it or not, newcomers will refer to the FAQ for guidance and a definition of what this site is and isn't about. The current FAQ leaves the door open for topics that some (most?) in this community don't like to see here. One such example are XAMPP posts.
Read the FAQ as a complete newcomer --you can be from Mars if you want-- and, as a guiding document, it DOES tell you that "Business Workstation operating systems, hardware, software" and networking topics belong here.
I am making these comments as an outsider. What I mean by that is that the "insiders" are obviously those who have tons of karma and have been around SF a long, long time. They "know" what they want SF to be about. And that's fine. But to an outsider the violent down-voting and "ganging-up" one seems to experience in SF is off-putting, to say the least. You have to have a very thick skin to be on the receiving end, and most people won't endure this sort of thing and just walk away, disappear.
Proposed FAQ changes
There's nothing wrong with NOT wanting topics such as XAMPP on SF. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. However, to an absolute newcomer reading the FAQ this is far from apparent. In fact, it is perfectly reasonable to conclude exactly the opposite, that such topics actually belong here. This is particularly true if you posted such topics in SO in the past and they got bumped to SF. Confusing.
How do you really narrow down the definition of this community, if, in fact, such topics are not welcome? What should the FAQ read? Here's a start:
start proposed FAQ text
ServerFault is about Production Server Software and Hardware and for the dedicated Professionals who install, support and administer them.
If your question is about:
- Production servers, including virtualization in a production setting
- Data Center topics (software, hardware, networking, etc.)
- Enterprise storage, backup and disaster recovery
- Enterprise network routers, switches, firewalls
- Enterprise systems operations, maintenance and monitoring
and is not about:
- Anything in a home setting
- Anything related to software development
- Development environments, such as XAMPP, WAMP and similar
- Career, salary, personnel, employment, or formal education
- Licensing, legal advice, and circumvention of security or policy
- Unauthorized hacking, password cracking, or system misuse
Then you are in the right place to ask your question!
end proposed FAQ text
I'll leave it up to the reader to compare with the current FAQ and see just how different this definition is. Simply stated, at least as it pertains to topics such as XAMPP, nothing is left to folklore. In fact, this FAQ language very clearly establishes that SF would be about production equipment and software. That alone is a huge leap away from the current FAQ. Because, it seems, this community is having trouble with questions from specific technologies it is perfectly reasonable to at least list the most problematic ones in the FAQ in order to document the desire to exclude them.
Updating the FAQ is not enough though.
All off-topic and closed questions must be deleted. That's the only way you are going to send the right message.
All off-topic tags must be removed and blocked. You have to do this in order to prevent future postings, even from someone who hasn't read the FAQ. Topics that are known to be problematic should not have tags and nobody should be able to create a tag for them.
Ganging-up on new-comers by high-rep users must be addressed This lowers the quality of the experience a newcomer has on first contact. If you have a bunch of guys with karma in the tens of thousands gang-up on you on SF you are toast. Almost nobody would come back to a list once treated this way, and this will limit the growth of the SF community.
I only post this here because I care. If I didn't give a hoot I would have gone away on first contact. The SE staff is very professional and they care about this community. There's hope.