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From the help on what's on-topic for Server Fault (emphasis quoted):

Server Fault is for questions about managing information technology systems in a business environment.

Just considering this and applying it as a rule of thumb, I would consider every question that doesn't have an explicit business|enterprise context to be off-topic. But reading further…

If your question is about:

  • managing the hardware or software of servers, workstations, storage or networks
  • tools used for administering, monitoring, or automating these
  • deployment to and management of third-party provided information technology platforms

and is not about:

  • consumer workstations or networking (which belong on our sister site, Super User)
  • working with a service provider's management interface, such as cPanel
  • product, service, or learning material recommendations
  • product licensing inquiries or legal advice
  • career, salary, personnel, employment, or formal education
  • unauthorized use or misuse of IT systems

then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

Whoa, whoa, wait! Suddenly, it sounds like a lot of things that are on-topic on SU are also on-topic here! For example, this question about sudo that I was about to flag for migration…well, sudo is used on servers and workstations in business and personal contexts alike. Post a general sudo question to Server Fault? Why not? And this argument works for…well…just about all the tech-related questions I can think of.

This is compounded by the fact that I see so many questions here that don't fit the explicit-business-context criterion. None of the six questions at the top of the frontpage do, and I don't see any signs of impending migration or off-topic-closure. (The first one is on hold, but for lack of clarity.)

So, what's the deal? Is Server Fault just for business environments, or not? The massive overlap with Super User that the or not option comes with kind of bothers me—it means that there are two really big sites to search that might hold the answer to my question.

  • There certainly is overlap between Serverfault, SuperUser and Unix&Linux with regards both topics and tags you'll find there, but a big distinction with regards to both target audience (SF aims at professionals) and environment (no home use/hobby kit on SF), which is as much a consideration with regards to topicality. – HBruijn Oct 28 '15 at 10:32
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    You might also ask the Super User audience why they often do not send business environment questions here! – Michael Hampton Oct 28 '15 at 11:45
  • It would be a massive waste of time and effort to wrap everything in a "this is for my job and I need it to do x, y, z" wrapper. It's much easier to assume good faith and consider that every question that could be related to a business environment, is related to a business environment. – Reaces Oct 28 '15 at 16:15
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Things are simple, really.

The first line

Server Fault is for questions about managing information technology systems in a business environment.

is an absolute restriction. We don't take home environment questions, period. The context matters. Everything else mainly limits this further (no product recommendations, no licensing etc.). Serverfault is different from other StackExchange sites in that we not only have a specific topic but also a specific target audience.

But: Yes, there is a thematic overlap with other sites like SU, unix.stackexchange.com and even SO. If it is clear that the questions concerns a home or dev environment, it will be closed or migrated, but if the context is not clear and the question is about something that a professional system administrator might need to do as part of his job, it usually stays.

So, yes, a sudo question might fit here if the context is professional/business oriented, but it also fits on unix.se or SU.

it means that there are two really big sites to search that might hold the answer to my question.

Honestly: Our search function sucks and you are better off to search with your preferred search engine over the whole internet anyway.

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