Take this question: https://serverfault.com/questions/657861/changing-dns-from-godaddy-to-ovh. With the old guidelines, I would have flagged the question as off-topic. The asker:

  • Does not know enough about their problem to include the right details.
  • Does not show sufficient skill in the technology under question to be able to work on it for pay.
  • Does not demonstrate knowledge of better-practices through how their environment is put together.

But I could not find enough information on the new guidelines, so I don't know if the question should be closed.

With the old guidelines, if the question was closed and the asker wondered what he did wrong, he could click on the word "professional" in the rationale for closing. The word was a link and took you to a place that explained what was required. But now, is "in a business environment" going to be a link? (It is not in the flagging pop-up.) And where is it going to take you?

My understanding of https://serverfault.com/help/on-topic is that, if the asker could be doing this for business, it is a valid question. Before, doing it for business was not enough. However, the rationale presented at http://meta.serverfault.com/questions/6812/proposed-change-to-server-fault-guidelines-round-2/ seems to imply that the guideline change is more in wording than in policy. This is what confuses me.

  • 4
    What can I say? I completely agree with you.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 7:43
  • 5
    I think there is a slight problem with this change in wording because it assumes that professional level IT does not occur outside of business. Instead of getting analy hung up on on the word 'home' people are going to reject legitimate questions because it is mentioned that it is for a not-for-profit or other lunacy like that. The real answer is that we need people to use some common sense and discretion to apply the spirit of the rule rather than act like jobsworths and kick stuff out on technicalities.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 11:16

1 Answer 1


the rationale presented at Proposed change to Server Fault guidelines, round 2 seems to imply that the guideline change is more in wording than in policy.

That understanding is correct. Evidently, the use of the word "professional" in the sense of having standards and "doing it right" was confusing to some people, so the wording was changed.

However, I would say that this particular question shouldn't be closed under the "not professional" reason, but the "minimal understanding" reason... which has also been rewritten.

The text of that new minimal understanding reason seems to sum it up pretty well:

Questions seeking installation, configuration or diagnostic help must include the desired end state, the specific problem or error, sufficient information about the configuration and environment to reproduce it, and attempted solutions. Questions without a clear problem statement are not useful to other readers and are unlikely to get good answers.

Whether or not this is a professional install or demonstrates "reasonable business information technology management practices," there's just not enough information to properly diagnose the problem, so that's how I would flag and/or close vote on this particular question.

  • 2
    I think that moving the focus from the asker to the question was a good idea. The problem now seems to be that the definition of "professional" was mature, whereas the wording of "minimal understanding" still has some way to go. Overall I think that the steps have been in the right direction. Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 15:35

You must log in to answer this question.

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