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I'm noticing that more and more questions related to some home lab environment are appearing.

As I understand the rules, this is not on topic. And for fun fact, it appears that no one has asked this kind of question yet on meta?! ;)

Please let me know what you think about it. And for the feature request, if its offtopic i suggest adding an option for closure.

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    I'm sure this was been asked and answered before see meta.serverfault.com/search?q=%22home+lab%22 although some of the questions are heavily downvoted so I'm not sure if you can see them.
    – user9517
    Feb 17 at 14:47
  • I am sorry but it seems that I did not get a match for homelab that's why I was irritated
    – djdomi
    Feb 17 at 18:36
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    Basic EOL standards apply. Most home lab environment questions that are on topic are dealing with software questions, and when from advanced users become indistinguishable from business application. This has been discussed in the early days of SF, but I don't think a search for "home lab" will discover those discussions. Also, IIRC, there used be a better community close reason that was dropped which dealt with these sorts of things.
    – Paul
    Feb 18 at 14:28
  • No, never will be, but the new dynamic from WFH bring some questions related to that topic. A lab at home because of WFH and a home lab got a big nuance, but it's easy to differentiate each's one, as when for personal projects it's always something that wasn't designed to work that way that someone try to make it work the way they want.
    – yagmoth555 Mod
    Feb 19 at 16:08
  • because imho when I need to try something, I gonna setup a lab at work and not at home, so I assume I been right for the moment?
    – djdomi
    Feb 19 at 19:01
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    Yeah, but I know people now with WFH, from my entourage, that bring real gear from work to try at home, so I know such case can happen, and if the guy ask help on SF, if he dont mention home, we will miss the fact it's a homelab as it's on supported gear and gear made for that.
    – yagmoth555 Mod
    Feb 19 at 20:35
  • I am aware about this workaholics ;) but yeh it's quite a strange thing. and I also find it strange that every question on meta gets down voted at all in every situation, like James doing the same thing every year ;)
    – djdomi
    Feb 19 at 20:38
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    Regarding meta downvotes - they are just disagreement.
    – user9517
    Feb 26 at 14:49

1 Answer 1

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I know of people whose home-lab is better equipped than the test/lab equipment many of my employers were providing me with.

From such people I would expect great questions that are on-topic for ServerFault, questions that show they did research, found and read the vendor documentation and/or tried a solution before asking the internet for help.

That they encountered the problem in their home lab would be completely irrelevant to the problem at hand.

I think we should and already do welcome such questions and answer them.


Many other home-lab questions are more from power users and enthousiasts.

Often their problems are specific to and possibly even caused by the fact that they are in their home-lab or their attempts to engineer around typical home-lab limitations:

  • Their internet access will be from a consumer ISP, with limitations and restrictions such as;

    • no fixed IP-addresses
    • prohibits running servers and blocks for example
      • SMTP and ports 25 as a spam prevention measure
      • ports 80 and 443 for HTTP(S)
      • VPN protocols
    • their ISP provided modem/router is limited with regards to what the end-user can configure, monitor and/or troubleshoot
  • their home-lab equipment is often not fit for purpose:

    • too light weight like the (early generation) Raspberry Pi
    • not suitable/certified for their intended purpose (attempt to run VMWare ESXi on an old laptop)
    • was "enterprise grade" back in the day, but was in reality salvaged from the recycling bin after it reached EOL many moons ago
    • their home networking is broken because they don't have internal DNS and/or reverse DNS records, they insist on using the mDNS .local TLD rather than their own registered domain
  • etc. etc.

For such question I vote to close, sometimes with the close reason to migrate if they belong on SuperUser and at times I leave a helpful comment that their problem is of their own making.

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  • thanks hbrujin, would you also maybe agree we need an additional close reason that home lab question are offtopic?
    – djdomi
    Mar 1 at 15:58
  • I mean it should not break the entire database, adding another option while maintaining the current one?! ;) But I agree I would like to keep the existing one
    – djdomi
    Mar 2 at 6:24
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    IIRC The platform used by all SE sites allows each SE site 5 site/community specific custom close reasons, and 5 site specific "This question belongs on another site in the SE network" migration targets, including a mandatory link to "meta.serverfault.com" . The site moderators and/or community manager can adjust the texts/links - But for me "Questions should demonstrate reasonable information technology management practices." and "Questions on Server Fault must be about managing IT systems in a business environment." are good enough for home lab questions that I cast close votes on.
    – HBruijn
    Mar 3 at 10:07

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