I didn't really want to post a question on meta, but it appears that I have to in this case. A simple explanation in the comments would have sufficed but, after being on ServerFault for a long while, I'm at odds as to see why my question would be off-topic.

Here's the question: https://serverfault.com/questions/798963/are-there-any-uis-for-diameter

The question relates to managing security by administrating Diameter generally. It does not relate to a particular product or service. I'm not even asking for a particular type of interface (UI is a broad concept, and I've alluded to command-line ones also). Diameter is a protocol with multiple implementations, but my question relates to server and service management in a security context between a server administrator and the Diamater protocol.

I'm asking a binary question - does it exist? (And, subsequently, what should I be googling to get that information?)

There are multiple questions here with good responses on RADIUS administration. As far as my knowledge goes, Diameter is a development upon RADIUS. I don't see, therefore, why RADIUS questions are ok, but Diameter ones aren't.

I have spent over 20 hours googling and reading material related to the topic, but only low-level protocol descriptions are explained, and why it's "better" than RADIUS.

I have acknowledged that my understanding is poor, but that's due to the lack of material on the topic, protocol, and implementations, and nothing to do with effort. I have also acknowledged that I may be on the wrong track/asking the wrong question, but it seems appropriate since there are multiple interfaces to RADIUS, but apparently none for Diameter.

I really really really want to know. I spent considerable time compiling and getting a Diameter implementation running, but no real information on how I'm supposed to administrate it.

Why do multiple people consider this off-topic and worth down-voting?

  • 4
    I would consider it off-topic, because no matter the amount of effort you put into it, it's still looking for a product recommendation, just disguised with different words. If the only answers to a question are the names of products, you're looking for a product recommendation no matter how you phrase it. Also, I don't see why your level of effort into researching matters here one bit. Lastly, this question is entirely off-topic. This is what meta is for.
    – user143703
    Aug 26, 2016 at 0:16
  • Ooops! (And other words.) Sorry. I thought I was on meta. I did click the meta button! Aug 26, 2016 at 0:17
  • 1
    But I'm not. "Are there any..." is not the same as "Can you recommend..." As I keep saying, I have googled and no products come up, so my question is binary or I'm misunderstanding something. Like, is Diameter administrated only through configuration, maybe? Aug 26, 2016 at 0:20
  • FWIW, there's a dedicated Stack site for software recommendations: Software Recommendations. I am not a member of that community, so I would strongly recommend their tour to ascertain your question belongs there.
    – jscott
    Aug 26, 2016 at 0:22
  • 5
    Something to think about: if you've really spent as much time as you have researching and implementing this, and you haven't managed to discover even how one is supposed to admin the thing, perhaps you put the cart a few miles before the horse? There's a really good reason that radius is still in very heavy usage.
    – EEAA
    Aug 26, 2016 at 0:22
  • 1
    Right, you're trying to play word games to skirt rules. The rules are guidelines. If you're trying to get just past the line to qualify, you're probably off-topic. 'Are there any?' is an entirely useless question as 'Yes' or 'no' are not going to be helpful. It's simply rephrasing to achieve the same result. I don't care what words are used, if you're looking for someone to name off products as the answer, you're off-topic.
    – user143703
    Aug 26, 2016 at 0:24
  • 1
    @EEAA, yes, and that's why I'm asking the question. My question also contains "is everyone choosing not to use it for a reason?" (Again, non-specific) It's been 13 years since its creation and 4 years since the last revision. I find it hard to believe that people would be avoiding it without reasoning. Aug 26, 2016 at 0:24
  • @yoonix, no attempt to skirt the rules here. I just can't understand why there's so little information (or questions) on a supposedly-well-used 13-year-old protocol. Aug 26, 2016 at 0:25
  • I meant the skirt the rules only in regards to 'are there any..' vs 'can you recommend..'. Not the original question.
    – user143703
    Aug 26, 2016 at 0:26
  • 1
    @tudor Reasons: 1) little if any utility above the incumbent technologies 2) ...leading to lack of adoption 3) ...leading to stagnated development 4) ...leading to lack of useful information. This thing happens all of the time with projects.
    – EEAA
    Aug 26, 2016 at 0:30
  • 1
    @EEAA, fair enough. Thanks. Now why can't that be an answer? At least that way I wouldn't have been made to feel stupid, alone, and misunderstood. "Some technologies (although marketed as successors or 'better' fail to gain traction for whatever reason. So there may not be the tool you describe. Maybe you can build it, but the people who use RADIUS appear not to see a significant need to migrate to this technology, resulting in a lack of tools." Aug 26, 2016 at 0:31
  • IMO, it's a good answer that should be on the web somewhere, but I don't see how it's relevant to serverfault. It's related to the our field of work, absolutely but it's totally unrelated to what sort of content I expect to see on serverfault which is trying to solve technical problems. This doesn't.
    – user143703
    Aug 26, 2016 at 0:34
  • 1
    Ok, Thanks everyone for the clarification/validation. :-D As an aside, the technical problem I have is a generalised flexible security model which RADIUS doesn't offer, so I saw it as appropriate here, but I must be misunderstanding where that boundary is, too. Aug 26, 2016 at 0:36
  • 1
    I agree that it's not easy for some people to understand what that boundary is simply by reading the rules. IMO, if you haven't chosen what software you're using yet and taken a stab at implementing it, it's not appropriate here. Your question is one of the rarer ones where research has actually happened (if unsuccessfully). I guess I don't see where the confusion is. If you have a problem and are looking for what tool to use to solve it.. It's off-topic. If you were configuring a tool that uses diameter and had issues, that would probably be on topic.
    – user143703
    Aug 26, 2016 at 2:27
  • 1
    Are there any UI's...? Could in some cases be answered with: Yes, it comes with one if you download the source distribution and look under the contrib directory. It's not packaged in the binary distribution.. Or Yes, but just the CLI. They intentionally didn't implement a GUI or anything due to issue xxx, see doc xxx explaining the reasoning. Oh, you didn't know there was a CLI? It's used like so:... or documented here.... Aug 28, 2016 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


Whilst I wasn't the moderator who put this question on hold, if I'd seen it first I would have, choosing the same close reason as was used. So, while I can't speak for Sven, here's why I would have nuked it:

  • The literal question asked, both in the title and body, is a question which only has a yes/no answer. That means that, as literally written, the question is unanswerable because strlen("Yes") < MIN_ANSWER_LENGTH && strlen("No") < MIN_ANSWER_LENGTH (in case you're not aware, #define MIN_ANSWER_LENGTH 30).

    So, if you want that literal question answered, you're SOL. It'll get closed as "Unclear what you're asking", or perhaps a custom OT reason along the lines of "this question is unanswerable in its current form". However, despite appearances to the contrary, we do want to be helpful, so we tend to try and tease out a relevant subtextual question where it's not too much trouble, which leads us to...

  • The subtextual question asked, "what UIs are there for administering Diameter servers?" is, straight-up-and-down a shopping question. That's going to get closed, nailed shut, boarded over, and bricked up. No way around it.

    However, based on your comments on this question (see what a discussion that turned into? Can you see why I recommended coming over here, rather than leaving all that cruft on the original question?) it looks like you might want to have asked something like, "why does there appear to not be any administrative tools for Diameter?", or perhaps "why is nobody using Diameter?". That's far, far too deep a layer of subtext in your original question to reasonably expect everyone to get that one of those is what you're really asking, so please don't be surprised that you're not getting answers to a question you really didn't ask.

    Personally, I wouldn't slam the door hard on either of those questions, if they were asked, however I wouldn't hold them up as exemplars of fine ServerFault questions. Others in the community with closing powers may well think either of them are questions not worthy of remaining open, and that is nothing more or less than collective moderation at work.

I hope that gives you some visibility into at least my personal thoughts on the subject of your question. The length of this answer might also show you why trying to address the question of "why is my question closed?" in a comment (which is limited to 600 characters) is less than entirely informative, and why I suggested you ask over here in meta. Thank you for doing so (or at least trying <grin>), rather than giving yourself the vapours as some people are wont to do when their questions are closed. Closures, like downvotes, aren't a reflection on you personally, merely the expressed opinion of the community on the topicality of a question.

  • Thanks for posting this, I came back wanting to add two cents and see you left a dollar. The only comments I'd like to add on my personal thought process: I feel the quality of the content on serverfault has been degrading continuously for awhile now. When I vote to close I'm annoyed that I felt there was a need yet again. Basically, 'I barely care enough to even participate anymore' is the attitude I have by the time I'm responding to someone asking why. I do however appreciate the fact that you asked it here (eventually.. I kid!) and womble's response which I agree with.
    – user143703
    Aug 26, 2016 at 6:00
  • This is mostly my view as well, although I've to admit that I first read the question as straight product recommendation - it's really very rare that people ask "Does a product doing X exists" without at least implicitly asking to name the product as well.
    – Sven
    Aug 26, 2016 at 9:28
  • Yeah, the very clear subtext to "Does X exist?" is "... and what is it?", hence why I would have slammed the linked question shut as a shopping question, too. I wanted to highlight the problems with the literal question too, though, because there was a hint of "but I wasn't asking for a product recommendation, just whether it existed!" in some of the earlier comments, and I wanted to demonstrate why the literal question wasn't a good one, either.
    – womble Mod
    Aug 26, 2016 at 9:53
  • A .2c, we could try to move more often to softwarerecs.stackexchange.com by maybe adding it to our v-t-c for migration. (but we would need to remove another site from that list as it's full)
    – yagmoth555 Mod
    Aug 26, 2016 at 13:07
  • @yagmoth555: No, I wouldn't like this. I also largely tend to ignore the existence of that site as this leads to an inconsistent application of the "no shopping" rule.
    – Sven
    Aug 26, 2016 at 13:10
  • @Sven not a bad point, and too, while thinking to it, to do a software recommendation for a home user for a product is something, but for an enterprise it's something else. (as it would be more professional to direct the user to a consultant)
    – yagmoth555 Mod
    Aug 26, 2016 at 13:22
  • I came back to respond to the first dot point, but I also see that @ryan-babchishin has pointed this out, too. Just because an answer is binary, that doesn't mean it evades an explanation. The first point is misleading because, as you point out, the system wouldn't let you answer that way, and I already knew that I wouldn't get just a "yes" or "no", but an explanation that would be helpful. Aug 29, 2016 at 3:12
  • Re: The second dot point, I maintain I didn't ask the question that way because that was not what I was interested in. It was the apparent lack of information that was bizarre and I felt that was a valid question. In all reasonableness, I felt I has missed something and honestly expected an answer like "Yes, but Diameter, because it's doing something very clever, has chosen not to call them APIs, UIs or CLIs, but "Purple Fuzzy Unicorns" to emphasise that they're not working with a traditional security model. You'll need a PFU editor to interact with it this way." Aug 29, 2016 at 3:21
  • 1
    You should ask the question you want an answer to. Asking a different question and then getting confused that you didn't get an answer for the question you didn't ask seems... unproductive.
    – womble Mod
    Aug 29, 2016 at 4:06
  • @womble I'm sorry that you see it that way. I believe that some people think I was asking a different question than what is actually written, since the only explanation here appears to be rewriting my question so that it doesn't fit the criteria. Sep 15, 2016 at 1:19
  • Some people think you're asking a different question so as to give you the benefit of the doubt and not immediately close it by virtue of being unanswerable. If by "rewriting my question so that it doesn't fit the criteria", you're referring to the criteria for closure, yes, if you want your question not to be closed, you should rewrite it so that it doesn't fit the criteria for closure. If you think people are misinterpreting your question, rewrite it so it isn't ambiguous!
    – womble Mod
    Sep 15, 2016 at 1:46
  • @womble I still believe that the question as asked is within the criteria, and the "benefit of the doubt" reinterpretation is what leans towards the unacceptable question and have repeatedly stated that's not what I asked. I've already accepted this answer because of the peer pressure that's clearly resulted, and I now have an answer to my original question in the comments above. I can see that we're not going to agree on this, so let's just leave it at that, please. Sep 15, 2016 at 2:20

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