I saw this over on Meta.SO: Should certification questions be closed? where the answer stated:

Questions that ask for clarification on or an answer to a specific question from a certification exam (i.e. questions we could actually answer) can stay. Those questions should probably be retagged with the specific certification exam...

Is this true as well here on SF? The off-topic list includes:

  • Product, service, or learning material recommendations
  • Career, salary, personnel, employment, or formal education

Which the Meta.SO answer states is really off-topic as well, but clarifies it with the above quote/point.

All that said...the real question here is, if the quote from Meta.SO isn't valid here on SF, should tags such as or be removed? It would seem that leaving them would allow someone to think that a question regarding the CCNA is ok if a tag exists and has been used quite a few times in the past. Case in point from today: https://serverfault.com/questions/532027/when-we-subnet-are-we-borrowing-from-the-network-id-or-host-id-to-create-subnet

However, if the Meta.SO point is VALID here as well, then leaving the tags around is also valid.

(The point could be made for instance, that the example question is still valid and on-topic without the CCNA tag or the question stating "While studying for my CCNA...", so does adding the CCNA tag suddenly render it OT?)

OR...could someone assume the tag is a qualifier for the level of expertise needed on a question? For instance, if I ask a question on OSPF, would tagging it with hope to draw in Cisco experts?

1 Answer 1


Personally, I think these tags should go away.

I don't see any use for "certification tags" -- You wouldn't ask a "practical answerable question about an actual problem you face" in CCNA or MCSE certification for example (and if you did, like "The stupid testing center double-charged me, what do I do?" or "The testing center's lab lost power halfway through my exam and I failed, what do I do?" it's certainly not on-topic for a site about system and network administration).

Asking us a question about the exam questions themselves is also really out of scope: We're not a training center, and we're not really here to do people's homework, and these aren't "practical answerable questions about an actual problem you face", it's "trying to study for an exam so you can put some letters after your name in an attempt to get a better job".
If the question is something beyond the scope of "help me pass this test" then you'll have a real-world application to discuss, and the fact that the question you have may also be on a certification exam is not relevant.

Similarly, tagging something with or in hopes of attracting an appropriate professional is crap reasoning: If you REALLY want a professional to look at your question tag it in a way that describes the question (, , etc.).
If I'm interested in Active Directory I'm not going to troll through every topic to cherry pick the ones about AD -- I'm going to follow to keep the signal-to-noise ration sane.

TL;DR -- My vote is to kill these tags with fire.
If they stay around we're going to be endlessly saying "Just because there's a tag doesn't mean your question is on topic".

  • I am doing a lot of research on IT Certs and would love to see the topic discussed here, as SF is one of the most respected forums I know of, and it could be if done in the right way, really useful. At least for me then, I'd love to get that "...no learning material recommendations... Career, salary, ..employment, educational" questions bit... taken out of the site information page. Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 20:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .