I was told that policy circumvention is off topic but on one hand I didn't find it in https://serverfault.com/help/on-topic, on the other hand, I doubt people are able to tell the true purpose of the questioner.

How is this question

"How to route requests to https://www.example.com to a proxy server?
I've installed HAProxy but can't figure out the rules"

comparing to a more detailed explanation

"How to route requests to https://www.example.porn to a proxy server because my company doesn't allow us to access adult content?
I've installed HAProxy but can't figure out the rules"?

Are they all on topic or off topic?

1 Answer 1


There's no separate rule for banning policy circumvention, it comes under the banner of "professional sysadmin". We don't consider it a professional behaviour to attempt to circumvent organisational policy. If your question shows evidence of that, it will be closed as off-topic. If your question is XY problematic, and further clarification reveals evidence of policy circumvention, it'll get closed then.

You're right that sometimes we can't tell what the intent of a question is, but to claim that we can't close a blatantly unprofessional question because we can't be sure that no other question is secretly trying to do the same thing is ludicrous and illogical. You don't get off a speeding ticket just because someone else was also speeding.

  • 1
    It seems to me that asking questions on this site requires a lot of careful wording. Askers have to defend or pretend good faith in order to pass the intent checking. Nevertheless, a policy circumventer can learn the skill by reading a good faith question, substitute the URL with the website he wants to bypass.
    – Gqqnbig
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 19:49
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    @QiqiGu I can only answer questions in good faith as a professional that appear to be asked in good faith, so to speak. The asker's, or a random third party's intentions and ethics are their own to police, not mine.
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 21:17
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    @Gqqnbig or you could, you know, just not ask questions in bad faith. No need to pretend then.
    – womble Mod
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 22:52
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    @Gqqnbig I think this is what wombie's last comment is about - Since I'm only ever asking questions about problems I have with professional system administration, and I don't have to try to simplify my questions for the audience here since everyone else is a sysadmin, I find it very easy to word my questions here. I just type them up naturally as if I were talking to a sysadmin sitting right next to me. Somehow I magically have never been grilled on the intent of my questions. Probably because my intent is always obviously to solve a real world problem I'm having in a professional setting. Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 15:46
  • Late to a party but there is additional important consideration. Questions about circumventing authority-induced censorship (Russia, Iran, China) happen from time to time. While technically avoiding the censorship might be the against the law in those countries, it is actually because the law is violating the human rights and it is good thing to help people to have a free speech. The only unfortunate problem is that usually those questions are full of other problems (bad statement, clearly insufficient competence and so on). But those should not be closed because of policy violation per se. Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 7:59

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