This fits along the lines of SF and SU having entirely different scopes, and decidedly NOT covering different complexity levels.

If SU is about individual systems, and the troubleshooting of that desktop/laptop and its hardware/software - provided the question is not about configuring networking on that individual system should all networking questions belong on SF?

This question doesn't seem like it'd get much input on SU, and if you remove the word "home", I can't see that it doesn't fit right in. However, I'm asking the question to get other perspectives on the idea. I may head over to SU meta to see how they feel about pure networking questions.

Would it clarify the FAQs of both sites to direct networking questions to SF?


I wasn't very precise - I'm mainly talking about general/generic/nonspecific networking, specifically where it doesn't involve a PC, consoles, gadgets, consumer-grade linksys wireless routers (though I've had to support those in the office far too often), etc.

7 Answers 7


I made an exception for this one in my head because it is ipv6 which is probably going to be of interest to many administrators at this point in time.

However, in general, I don't feel networking always belongs SF. This is because often setting up home networking equipment is very different from setting up offices. In offices you generally have different concerns about security, segregation, QoS etc than you might at home.

Also, more often than not the equipment is different. I would say consumer grade networking equipment usually belongs on SU. The people on SU probably know more about the details of how to get something like dd-wrt to work, or how to make it so their Mom can upload her pictures over a home NAS that supports file sharing.

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    Agreed. I didn't vote to move because it is well-formed and involved topical subjects.
    – Warner
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 13:43

Supporting entry level consumer grade networking products is entirely outside of the scope of SF IMO. Setting up a NAT for the X-Box 360 on a Linksys is off topic.

  • Definitely, I'll edit above to be less murky in what I'm trying to get at. Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 14:25
  • Until you are told to do it at the home of the owner, and make it work without disturbing his VPN.
    – tomjedrz
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 23:04
  • @tom what? no just because you are doing it at a company owner's home doesn't suddenly make it in scope because it is still a home networking issue.
    – Zypher
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 23:47

Personally I would like to see all the general and networking theory questions exist on a single site. I am talking about questions that are separate from any details about implementation. I am talking about the OSI model, addressing, how protocols work, and so on.

I really want to see the SF get to a point where a person interested in networking could start reading questions on SF and take advantages of the tags, related questions, and linked questions to start exploring a topic. I think the theory questions belong on SF more then SU since almost all system administrators should have a good understanding in networking theory, but the a typical home user can get by without knowing much.

This means I also want basic questions like how subnetting works, how a ping that doesn't use ICMP works, what is bandwidth, and so on.

Unfortunately there really isn't a good way for related content from two SE sites to be linked together. If there was a way to better way to link tags and questions between two I would probably care less about having all the theory questions on SF.

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    Agreed .. networking theory stuff fits on ServerFault
    – tomjedrz
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 22:52
  • +1 I already check here if i remember seeing something i've suddenly needed to learn real quick.
    – Zypher
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 23:46

Networking is and should remain a shared topic between SU and SF, I don't think we need to really make a strong line between.

I think we have to stick to the "job description" method for the most part. If the question involves consumer grade products, setting up a network at home, all this, it's suited for SU, there is a part of networking you do at home. If involving domains, subnets, and all the funny things sysadmins love to work over, it should be on SF.

I agree however that some questions are in a gray area. But for these ones, I think we can simply let them where they are to begin with. If not getting answers, we can suggest to the poster to ask it on the other site, if it makes sense.

Your example is a question a power user should be able to answer, and as such is suited for Super User. The trap here is to think that it's "too hard" for SU, and as such that it should remain on SF. However, the question can potentially be answered by both communities, in this case. Even if it's for a home server, the question refers to concepts which are usual for a more "sysadmin" world.

In my opinion, this is a good example of a borderline question, which should probably stay on the site it was asked on, because its community should be able to answer it. You can suggest to duplicate it, if he doesn't get answers, but it doesn't need to be migrated, in my opinion. And even if it does, it should be only a matter of topic. Not a matter of expertise.

  • end of working day, apologies if this doesn't make much sense.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 15:39

Consumer Grade NAT & WiFi, IPs config (including IP, Subnet mask, DNS, GW) -> SU

Everything else -> SF


I have very similar network topology and technology at home and at work, yet I wouldn't even consider asking a question about my home network on SF. I'm sure others will disagree but in my opinion, when I'm working on my home network I don't qualify as a profession as per the SF FAQ.

At work I'm the professional. At home I'm a lowly hobbyist/home user (unless I'm working on the work system from home). To me it's a very simple and very clear distinction, with no fuzzy lines to blur the issue. I treat other people's questions accordingly. Simplistic? Perhaps, but we do need some borders.

  • I'm with ya, there's a LOT the SU users have taught me about PC issues and other home gear. Things I just don't delve innto at work. Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 18:15

I don't find the "home" and "work" dichotomy particularly persuasive, because the only substantive difference is the budget! There is no practical difference between a "home" network (DSL, broadband router, 2 or 3 PCs, Home Server, xBox, DVR) and a office network (T1, firewall, 150 PCs, a copier, perhaps telephone system).

Scale matters, but one must generally become conversant in small before one can be conversant in large. Further, there is frequently a large overlap among these topics. How many small company sysadmins deal with the CEO's home stuff? How many companies have conference rooms with TV's, video, audio, etc? How many of us support remote folks in home offices?

IMHO, if the basic topic is relevant to sysadmins, we should be inclusive rather than restrictive about the specifics and the scale and not go bonkers if the 4-letter word ("home") happens to be in the question.

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    There is no practical difference between a "home" network (DSL, broadband router, 2 or 3 PCs, Home Server, xBox, DVR) and a office network (T1, firewall, 150 PCs, a copier, perhaps telephone system). I think you'll find there's a huge difference between maintaining a DSL and a T1 connection as they're two different technologies... Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 23:20
  • Sure, but from the point of view of how the IP network works, they are essentially identical.
    – tomjedrz
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 23:40
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    Home and small business maybe similar but out of the "small" part of the SME space trying to run an office like a home is not such a good idea. also not every office only has 150 pcs to maintain. heck most of our small offices are in the 1000's of pcs.
    – Zypher
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 23:43
  • You have it backwards .. home networks need to be run more like the office. The data at home is just as valuable as the data at the office, and I get as much grief from my wife when there are problems as I do from my boss.
    – tomjedrz
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 23:45
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    Let's take it to extremes. My car, and no doubt yours as well, has a number of interconnected computer systems. Would it then be appropriate to ask questions on SF when some part of that system isn't running as it should? After all, despite the absence of CAT5 cables, it's still a computer network and in this case problems can quite literally mean life or death. Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 3:31

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