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This question got closed as primarily opinion-based. At the time the question got closed, I had almost completed a fairly substantial and I thought helpful answer for a new sysadmin, explaining why yes, he should use his distro's packages unless he had a good reason not to. In short, it's a best practice.

A similar thing happened to this question. I myself voted to close it as too broad, and it was closed. But before it was, Zoredache flagged it as a duplicate of this question, which was longstanding and had a couple of high-quality and highly voted, though admittedly broad, answers. Again, it ended up being a best practices question. Later someone voted to close that one too.

So, my questions:

  1. Can we please reopen the first question? I think it's actually a pretty good question for a new sysadmin (though probably a dup if I could find it).

  2. Any suggestions for how to distinguish good best practice questions from other too broad or opinion-based questions?

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    Edit it so it's not asking "what's best," but "what do I need to consider"/"how do I pick." – HopelessN00b Feb 23 '15 at 23:09
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    Although I do have vague memories of a discussion a while back where it was concluded that we'd be sympathetic to "best practice" questions, particularly if answers were backed by evidence. – MadHatter Feb 24 '15 at 8:38
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The first one might be a duplicate to some others, but if you edit it and write a good answer, we might use this as a canonical target for this kind of question, which appears semi-regular from new users/admins. However, personally I would rather have a new question for this purpose though (maybe as community wiki), to avoid the situation with the compromised server question which started as a normal question from an unsuspecting user.

I don't believe the second question is fixable, as the list of things to consider is potential endless and highly dependent on the specific environment. Also, I am not sure we should have an answer that would need to be too broad itself as a dupe target for a question that would be closed as too broad otherwise.

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