Kudos to HopelessNoob for tackling his Sisyphean cleanup task - I'd like to get a 2nd opinion, though, on a question he has closed, which I guess links up to my not really understanding his thinking about the documentation tag.

Case: Getting a feel for postfix


I've been running Postfix servers for four years, and one whose reliability is important to me for a year and a half. While it's working well enough, with zero unplanned downtime in that time, I find Postfix configuration to be complete voodoo. In particular:

  1. Rewriting rules - I have no feel for what Postfix is up to. I administered an Exim mail server some years back, whose approach to rewriting made sense to me.
  2. Security - I have internalised no threat model for Postfix. Securing Postfix to me means avoiding changes to config files that don't keep to the letter of advice from a trusted source, and keeping Postfix up-to-date.
  3. Encryption - I'd like to know the role that things like SASL, TLS, &c, can play in the life of a Postfix server.

What should I read to get a clue about these things? I think I'd prefer an article or report to a howto or book.

Guess as to original tags: postfix, email, documentation

The post got an off-topic close vote (special reason: "Requests for product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they attract low quality, opinionated and spam answers, and the answers become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe the business problem you are working on, the research you have done, and the steps taken so far to solve it.") from masegaloeh and was mod-hammered by HopelessNoob, I assume because it was a documentation request and, as such, it was triaged out. But I think the question does not fulfil the close requirments as stated:

  1. It does document the business problem: having a mission-critical postfix installation (my freelancing business really does need non-cloud-hosted email) in a one-man business where the sysop (me) didn't understand what was going on.
  2. The research I had done was documented: not in the question, but in the comment thread to Greeblesnort's answer I wrote 'Did you find the Postfix site was adequate to get a substantive feel for how Postfix went about things? I certainly count it high among my "trusted sources", but the time I've spent with it so far hasn't yet given me "a good understanding of the architecture".'
  3. The steps taken to solve my ignorance were not laid out at the time of closure, although I think that subpoint was not really behind the close.

Can my question be reopened as it stands, on the grounds that this close did not fit the close reasons well enough? If not, what kind of changes would the question need to receive to become a good question.


1 Answer 1


What should I read to get a clue about these things? I think I'd prefer an article or report to a howto or book.

This makes it a clear product request for documentation, a perfect fit. There is really not much more to discuss, your business case or prior research is not really relevant for this.

I don't think the question can be altered to make it viable to 2015 SeverFault. We really prefer answerable questions on actual problems you currently have. Back in 2010 the focus of the site was less clear than today.

  • Is helping people find resources to gain an understanding of (i) Postfix rewriting rules, or (ii) forming a threat model for Postfix not on-topic for the site, then? If not, where should I ask? If so, how should my question have been different? Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 8:08
  • '2015 SF' - I definitely do not want to undermine the huge and overdue task underway with this, and many thanks for modding the site. Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 8:09
  • 7
    Why do we close old questions that no longer are topical today? To avoid the regular argument that this or that 2009 question wasn't closed either, so if we come across that, we close it.
    – Sven
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 8:11
  • The Security SX might be a suitable place for my question, since it is as much a security question as it is a server admin question. Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 21:31
  • This question is five years old and can no longer be migrated, and it would be as off-topic there as here. Why is this such a big deal for you? Just carry on... And if you can't live with a closed question, flag it and ask us to delete it.
    – Sven
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 21:59

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