This question was closed and subsequently deleted.

The close reason was given as "unclear what you're asking", but from the comments it seems quite clear that multiple persons had no problem understanding the question at all.

It also seems quite relevant to professional system administration, since managing a system remotely certainly is a relevant system administrator skill, and wiping a system from data before it is re-purposed is best practice for any system which has contained any sensitive data.

It is not a perfect question, so closing could be considered reasonable. The question was lacking information about which OS was installed on the host, and the OP was focusing a bit too much on shutting down the machine and too little on reliably wiping data from the machine. But those shortcomings could have been resolved and in my opinion don't justify a speedy deletion.

Update: At the time where I wrote this meta question, I was unaware that the question was a duplicate. Given the information provided in answers, I would consider it optimal to have the question undeleted and then closed as duplicate of Securely wipe a headless remote linux server.


I don't know why it was deleted. I would guess it might have had something to do with the user's apparent unwillingness to pursue the issue; he seems to have just given up.

I wouldn't have deleted it, but I would have closed it as a duplicate of Securely wipe a headless remote linux server which is pretty much an identical situation and has a few good ideas he doesn't seem to have considered.

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    That's pretty much it. Closed, negatively voted question question with a negatively voted self-answer that's actually demonstrably incorrect, and more or less says "I give up/forget it." The site's better off without it, IMO. – HopelessN00b Mar 27 '15 at 7:04
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    The comments given before the OP gave up weren't particular helpful. So giving up sort of makes sense. I think the OP would have been better off by having the question closed as duplicate, than by receiving those comments. – kasperd Mar 27 '15 at 7:26
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    @HopelessN00b Why would you consider deletion to be better than close as duplicate? – kasperd Mar 29 '15 at 9:40
  • @kasperd I think the real question is: Why aren't duplicate questions deleted in the first place? – MDMoore313 Mar 29 '15 at 19:59
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    @BigHomie I believe it is based on the assumption that duplicate questions are asked because somebody couldn't find the previously asked question. By leaving the duplicated question in place with a reference to the older question, it serves as a help for the next person searching for the answer. They may enter search terms that lead them to the duplicate but not to the original question. – kasperd Mar 29 '15 at 20:10
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    Also note that questions marked as duplicate are now redirected to the duplicate target, for users who are not logged in. – Michael Hampton Mar 29 '15 at 20:11
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    @MichaelHampton Has anything been done to ensure this doesn't prevent search engines from finding the question when a user types words matching the duplicate but not the original question? – kasperd Mar 30 '15 at 7:35
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    @kasperd it shouldn't prevent them, that is the whole point of leaving the question behind! – JamesRyan Apr 2 '15 at 10:58
  • @JamesRyan If search engines are redirected to the original question, they won't see any keywords in the duplicate question, which could have helped find it. – kasperd Apr 2 '15 at 16:03
  • @kasperd I think we are talking at cross purposes obviously the search engine needs to see each seperate version – JamesRyan Apr 2 '15 at 16:21

I VTCed, so I suppose I should answer. I can't remember if I agreed with the close reason - I seem to recall that if only one respondent selects a different reason, it doesn't make it into the "official" result - but I certainly think the question deserved closure.

As Michael says, it's a duplicate. Whilst I wish I'd noticed the dupe, reading the dupe (which I've now upvoted, along with many of the answers) makes it clear that the original question here is very badly written. It contains an XY problem ((s)he's decided (s)he needs to wipe then power off - when I suspect what (s)he wants is secure deletion; the fact that that makes powering-off difficult is irrelevant, since who cares about powering off?). It looks very much like the OP put very little thought into the question - in five hours, (s)he answered his/her own question, not that I think the answer's any good, compared with some of the excellent and detailed answers on the dupe.

As I see it, the question deserved closure on a number of grounds. Since The Powers That Be insist we can't have a your question was bad, and you should feel bad close reason, sometimes it'll be a misfit, whatever reason is given. And for me, unclear what you're asking includes you're asking Y, but it looks very much like you really want X.

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    I agree the deleted question isn't perfect. Including information about the software currently installed on the host would have made it better. I also agree that the OP hadn't thought enough about the task (focusing too much on the shutting down part and too little on the reliability of the wiping). But in this particular case that would not have gotten in the way of providing an answer which both answers the question as stated and points out what the OP hasn't payed attention to. I'm not disputing the question being closed, but I do think it was deleted prematurely. – kasperd Mar 27 '15 at 8:40
  • Fair points. Your question title is specifically about the deletion, to which I was not party, and on which perhaps I should not comment. Given that you accept it deserved closure, however, perhaps you could edit your question to make that clear (which it currently does not), and clarify why you think this particular question, once closed, adds value in not being deleted? – MadHatter Mar 27 '15 at 9:00
  • I have updated my question. If serverfault.com/questions/159401/… had not existed, the deleted question (and the answer which @fukawi2 could have provided) would have added value to the site. But given the existence of the older question, the deleted question should have been closed as a duplicate and in that case would only serve as a help to make that older question easier to find. – kasperd Mar 27 '15 at 9:15
  • And to be clear. I don't think the answer provided by the OP adds any value. However the question along with a quality answer such as serverfault.com/a/159411/214507 would add value. I wrote this meta question without knowing that the question was in fact a duplicate. – kasperd Mar 27 '15 at 9:22
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    Fair enough! Then to be clear, I think I completely agree with you! And thanks for being so gracious during the course of this discussion - I, too, felt bad, because I hadn't spent the time required to find the dupe (yaaay Michael). – MadHatter Mar 27 '15 at 9:30
  • Would it be odd to recreate this question as a properly written Q&A self-answer, and locking the old one as a dupe to that one? As it stands I spent some time yesterday on the new (deleted) question, and did not at any time come across that old question. It's somewhat badly worded and judging by the amount of comments yesterday, the question might merit some fresh attention? – Reaces Mar 27 '15 at 9:40
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    I wouldn't, myself. I think the old question is better written, and has better answers. – MadHatter Mar 27 '15 at 10:54

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