The meta links to the server fault meta community area, where it should be appropriate to ask a question about what is appropriate for server fault, before actually posting to server fault, and having your question subsequently marked off topic. But one cannot, until one has 5 points on server fault. So, here I am writing a meta question, off topic for server fault, appropriate for the meta site, so that perhaps I can subsequently post a later on-topic question about server fault on the meta site.

How does one place the chicken (meta-appropriate question so one can be faq-correct) before the egg (having 5 points on non-meta site, enabling meta questions)?

That being asked, now I'll ask the meta-appropriate question...

Having read the FAQ, it seems quite clear that a question by an IT administrator about one of his servers is entirely on-topic. Yet one of the first questions I read was from an IT administrator, in a corporation, having errors thrown by his print server, users complaining, him seeking help, and his post marked off-topic and shoveled off to superuser. Is the scope of serverfault far more narrow than the FAQ indicates?

Edit: by request of commenter Pre: https://serverfault.com/questions/201289/pc-freezing-when-useds-closed Post: https://superuser.com/questions/210294/pc-freezing-when-used-to-print-labels/210871#210871 /Edit

Thanks for clarification on both, I'm new here. (sorry that these are meta questions, see above for explanation! I guess feel free to move it to meta, I cannot post or answer there)

  • 1
    Once 5 of us vote, it'll be automatically migrated to meta. Honestly, though, it's very easy to come up with 5 rep points. Just pay your penance like the rest of us did. :)
    – EEAA
    Nov 15, 2010 at 1:14
  • Also, could you edit your post and link to the question you're speaking of?
    – EEAA
    Nov 15, 2010 at 1:16
  • 1
    Sorry - third comment. Really, there's nothing bad about having your question marked as off-topic and migrated. There's a reason that feature was implemented - if the question is worth asking, then it'll get migrated. If it's just a "bad question", then it'll get marked otherwise and closed. So just keep to the guidelines set forth on the how to ask page and you'll be all set. serverfault.com/questions/how-to-ask
    – EEAA
    Nov 15, 2010 at 1:22

3 Answers 3


As others have pointed out, this is right on the line of 'judgment call' for those who can vote-to-close. By my read, this is a machine being used as a print-server. It also happens to be using XP, and a fairly old MS Access version (7 years old!). A Desktop, with an attached printer, running old desktop software. Just from that, I would have voted to migrate as well.

A few more details would sway that vote, though. If the original poster had mentioned that this is a stand-alone machine used purely for label printing from a stand-alone application, and maybe included some printer details as well, I might have answered instead of vote-to-migrate.

That said, the fact remains that the following conditionals are knee-jerk for many of us:

IF ($OS="WinXP") THEN VoteToMigrate(SuperUser)
IF ($OS="Win7") THEN VoteToMigrate(SuperUser)

It doesn't matter if the usage is server-like, the fact is that it is a desktop OS and that's enough to shovel off to SU. Yes, I know many System Administrators have desktops doing server tasks for a variety of reasons. The unfortunate fact is that opinion is really split here on SF about whether or not problems with such systems are SF-worthy or SU-worthy.

  • 1
    +1 "opinion is really split here on SF" - Bingo
    – Chris S
    Nov 15, 2010 at 14:04
  • I'm accepting this answer because it provides the insight I was looking for -- which is that this community views the definition of server in terms of the OS version, rather than terms of usage. If this is going to be the case, it seems like a good tidbit for the FAQ. Nov 15, 2010 at 14:45
  • @Robert Not a bad idea. It's a strong enough knee-jerk that a questioner needs to describe in good detail the environment surrounding their problem before getting to the OS. This is a problem for non-fluent English speakers or people who don't understand their problem/systems well.
    – sysadmin1138 Mod
    Nov 15, 2010 at 15:27
  • @Robert, seasoned SysAdmins have different views of "Server", "Client", "Network", and other components you're are familiar with. Every OS can serve data, that doesn't make it a server to us. If your significant other brings your food to the table one day, does that automatically make them a waiter/waitress?
    – Chris S
    Nov 20, 2010 at 3:33

The question you posted a link to is in regard to a single computer having lockup problems due to the local print driver (or a related system).

While I would not have voted to move the question, I see the basis that the problem likely has nothing to do with multiple computers, and is in fact a problem with a driver on a computer.

Also, it appears the computer has likely been heavily neglected for some time, there are indications it's running very outdated and unsupported software. A configuration like this reflects poorly on the SA, and is indicative of a non-professional admin (I have no inside knowledge, just trying to pick up on cues here and there).

  • 1
    While I agree about the single computer with a problem issue, don't be too quick to judge the admin's professionalism based on what is being run. I have to maintain an XP machine running a 15 year old 16 bit program. Nothing else can talk to our time clock. The programmer has passed away. The source code has been either lost or destroyed and nobody has so far been able to reverse engineer the encryption used. To replace the program we must replace the entire time clock system, which is simply not cost justified. Nov 15, 2010 at 9:57
  • @John, I agree there's exceptions that call for unorthodox configurations. I tried to disclaim my knee-jerk reaction, but people will think what they want. I'm just trying to explain what might have happened in this case.
    – Chris S
    Nov 15, 2010 at 14:02
  • I'm also prone to knee-jerk reactions when voting. :) Nov 15, 2010 at 21:55

While I personally wouldn't have voted that particular question closed I can certainly see why some would. The question has been written in the context of an end user experiencing a problem with a single computer. It should be born in mind that many of us are sick of seeing end user questions posted to SF and can be a little trigger happy as a result.

FWIW, if that was my machine I would restore from backup or wipe and reinstall, after performing a full hardware diagnostic.

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