Please read the full question before downvoting.

I am a very happy stackoverflow user, i also use quite a few other stackexchange sites with a very good feeling.

On no other stackexchange site i noticed this quite aggressive downvoting and closing of questions.

my last questions which was closed: https://serverfault.com/questions/795629/how-to-log-the-full-smtp-transcript-for-each-email-to-a-database-in-debian (deleted)

closed as off-topic by joeqwerty, Ward, yoonix, masegaloeh, mdpc Aug 9 at 19:50

This question appears to be off-topic for this site. While what’s on- and >off-topic is not always intuitive, you can learn more about it by reading >the help center. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

"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." – Ward, yoonix, masegaloeh

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit your question.

what makes my question worse than Configuration to send postfix mail logs to a database

but this is not a request to also close the question, even if the question was short it has a helpful answer which could be found on google and also helped me to get a direction.

i read the following links but nothing really helped me to improve my question.

off-topic was given for reason but why is the question offtopic?

i flaged the question to get a hint from a moderator but i only get one comment (not sure if it's the moderator)

stackoverflow is much more kindly on that. a comment is much more helpful than a downvote especially if a non native speaker wrote the question.

  • how to ask questions correctly here on serverfault?
  • why questions are downvoted/closed so aggressivly here compared to stackoverflow?

please tell me why, tell me what could be enhanced or better written. i nearly stopped asking, reading and answering questions here, because of the aggressive downvoting and while i write this question i see this questions downvoted and closed because its a "meta" question and don't belong here or whatever. i asked it here, because i don't look for this question answered on the meta page, where a different clientele reads the question. i want to ask it to the serverfault clientele.

so please be kind, don't see rules too strict.

  • wow 4min until the question was moved from serverfault to meta, even if i described why i ask it on serverfault. how can this question be answered by the right people when is moved here?
    – c33s
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 20:15
  • 14
    Regardless of what you would like to see, meta is the part of the site where users discuss the workings and policies of Server Fault rather than discussing server, networking, or related infrastructure administration itself. Your question is off topic on the main site.
    – HBruijn
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 20:20
  • 3
    The close reason used to close your question leads directly to a post on meta How can I ask better questions on ServerFault, in what regard did that not provide an answer to the question you ask above?
    – HBruijn
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 20:43
  • @HBruijn No one who needs to ever reads anything... - Q.E.D. ( I wonder ...)
    – user9517
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 20:46
  • @HBruijn i read it, but i has not helped me. i tried to add the missing information. had not helped. the answer from @ lain is much more helpful, if it is a requirement to put more effort in find a solution to the problem and then ask the question with more exact problem descriptions.
    – c33s
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 20:58
  • @HBruijn but why this aggressive downvoting? i received another downvote on my old question (i assume from you), why downvote a already downvoted and closed question. this is exaclty what i mean with my question here. be a little be more kind, this motivates user to write better questions and be helpful. not bash on someone who is already on the floor.
    – c33s
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 21:05
  • 4
    @c33s but why this aggressive downvoting? i received another downvote on my old question You brought attention to it by posting this. Bring attention to a good post, it gets more upvotes. Bring attention to a bad post, it gets more downvotes. In that your question can be interpreted as a request to do free work for you (write me a script that does [foo]), it's not surprising in the least that it would get downvoted heavily. The community really doesn't like that kind of question/request. Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 21:08
  • 2
    Downvotes, on Meta, signify disagreement. If you've ever used the Stack Overflow meta during your time as a very happy Stack Overflow user you should be aware of that.
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 13:21

3 Answers 3


The the best of my knowledge, this is what you want to look out for when posting a new question. It is quite a bit to keep in mind. I may be off on a few things, but I think I have the right idea.

  1. Only ask about systems/network administration in a business environment and only about reasonably standard/supported practices/equipment/environments
  2. State in your title clearly and specifically what your issue is / what you want
  3. State/ask your question clearly and in as much detail as possible.
  4. Use proper formatting, including such things as highlighting, code blocks, hyperlinks, bold, italic, bullet points, etc... to make it as readable as possible.
  5. Do your best to use proper English. It makes things easier to understand. I suspect this will prevent frustrated down votes.
  6. If you're asking for help to do something, make sure to clearly state your end goal.
  7. If you're asking an actual question, make sure you clearly state your question.
  8. Avoid asking multiple unrelated questions at once.
  9. Do your research before asking a question and demonstrate that research. Try to solve your own problem to the best of your ability and explain where you got stuck. Don't post duplicates (check before you post).
  10. List things that you've tried already and provide information such as log files, command outpout, command lines entered, error messages, etc...
  11. Don't ask questions that are too broad. They should be as specific as possible.
  12. Don't ask for people opinions. You'll likely be offered them anyways.
  13. Don't ask for recommendations on products, services or learning materials.
  14. Don't ask questions about hosting panels such as CPanel.

Doing some of these incorrectly can result in down votes, close votes and "constructive" comments. The end goal is to get the best quality questions/answers on the site, not to hurt anyone's feelings.

If I got anything wrong, please correct me and I'll update my answer.

  • This is an excellent list of possible problems with questions, good stuff! Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 5:06

Remember, SF (and SE in general) should be the last place you come to to ask a question, see here point 2.

I think the simple answer is that we have higher standards than SO. We expect you to have put a bit of effort into solving your problem, and we expect you so show what you have learned, explain why it didn't do what you want and how it failed.

Your question shows no effort and is basically a product/service/script writing request. These don't go down well here (as you found).

To answer you somewhat peevish comment (a quote from the help center)

If your question is about the site itself, please don't ask it here. Visit our meta-discussion site, where you can talk about things like what questions are appropriate, what tags should be used, suggest a feature, point out a bug, or generally discuss how this site works.

  • thanks for the answer. hoping more to come. "higher standards" would really explain it. maybe a reason for closing should bewould be added "not enough effort". i think your text answer text should be in the info text. @meta i read the text you are quoting, this is the reason why i explained why i posted in on sf anyway.
    – c33s
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 20:55
  • Anything that requires that someone reads something is pretty much write only,
    – user9517
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 21:29
  • 3
    As this site is targeting professional administration in a business environment, you should know what information is relevant or not to include. I will down vote and vote to close any question that doesn't bother. I disagree that it should be worded 'not enough effort' because thats pretty much what the close message you got already said. I can't speak to your individual post (deleted now) so I don't recall why I voted for this one. Usually it's because the question looks like someone followed a tutorial then posted a question here when it didn't work. Ask whoever wrote the tutorial.
    – user143703
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 23:13

On no other stackexchange site i noticed this quite aggressive downvoting and closing of questions.

Then you haven't been paying attention... on every SE site where I'm even slightly active, I see this exact same complaint. When you get more experience with multiple SE sites, you'll see it for yourself: on every single SE sites, there are posts on meta.whatever.SE saying, "why are there so many downvotes on this site, it's not like that on other SE sites?"

That list Ryan posted of "rules for good questions" is excellent, and your question violates #9:

Try to solve your own problem to the best of your ability and explain where you got stuck.

Three people (me, yoonix, masegaloeh) voted to close your question with the

Questions seeking installation, configuration or diagnostic help

close reason. I can't speak for the others, but I chose that reason because your question was basically: Tell me exactly how to do blah blah blah.

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