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36

I do my own research - when confronted with an issue I break out scientific method, being structured really does help in problem solving. It hasn't always been possible/practical to go and ask the internet so I learned early on to read manuals and other sources. It helps me that I am naturally inquisitive - I generally don't want to just fix something I ...


28

You missed me off the list! 2155 answers, 28 questions :) Anyway the answer is that they, and I, are smart, experienced and resourceful. We've done this a long time, building instincts that help with fault-finding and know where to go to get answers quickly. We actually probably run into MORE problems than more junior guys, we're usually doing more so ...


28

I thought I'd chime in my with 2c here because I am a programmer, not a network admin, and am probably one of those people you talk about that are not really wanted here. I don't have a problem with that, but I wanted to let you know that your site doesn't communicate that fact very well, and thought I'd share my experience. First off, I'm familiar with ...


26

My general thoughts -- First we need to (re)define what our scope and target audience is. Our FAQ currently says "Information Technology Professionals" -- this was arrived at after much debating during the great FAQ rewrite (sffaq) because we did not want to exclude members of our target audience of system, network, DB, etc. admins. The more I think about ...


25

Often the process of writing a question out forces you to think critically about your problem and break it down into its component pieces. During this process, the problem and its solution reveal themselves using magic (often related to unicorns), making the question pointless to post. There are in fact many problem solving techniques that use this tactic, ...


24

I almost made this a TL;DR intro to my other answer, but I think this is a standalone way of looking at most of the "problems" with ServerFault that we've been discussing lately: Most* of the regulars want ServerFault's focus to be on professional system administration. One thing that all professional sysadmins do is figure things out: we learn how things ...


23

What is the purpose of ServerFault? Is it to be a country club golf course for elite cream of the crop IT? Or does the definition of "Professional IT" include those who work for MSPs or for small businesses, who frequently have a limited scope of experience? I think you're right in comparing the site to a country club, and this is something I have a problem ...


22

Here's a simple way to use voting to clean up some crap: In the search box, enter: votes:0 answers:0 Click the "Newest" tab and scroll down until you're looking at questions that are at least a day old Click on one that looks bad (based on the excerpt), read it. If it really is bad, vote it down. After 30 days, questions with no answers and negative ...


17

The quality of content coming in needs to be drastically pruned. I remember a few times where Iain spot-checked all of the questions on the front page, and over half of them were consistently from users with almost no rep on SF, but a lot of rep on SO or Programmers. This is a continuation of the same issue that got SF removed from SO's migration list. ...


16

My comment on Mark's answer shows my agreement with him. I've done exactly what he suggests many, many time. Additionally, the problems I end up stumped on are rarely good SF questions. They tend to be full of nuance, and I've found that the act of explaining the nuance brings it smack into the domain of Too Localized. Or worse, need a fair amount of back-...


16

Frankly, I'm seeing a great deal of wheel spinning lately over what people want this site to be that it currently isn't. Some of this is within the context of what SF says it wants to be, but the rest basically amounts to SF would be useful to me if it were X. SF is not useful to everyone, nor can it be. I feel that a great deal of our problem stems from ...


11

Before going through old stuff looking for things to vote on, I strongly suggest keeping an eye on the front page in order to help keep it clean. This is how I approach voting and I (of course) highly recommend it. Upvote questions which are clear and well-written and should, in your opinion, have more eyeballs on them. If you answer a question, it almost ...


11

I've always felt - from as far back as Usenet before the word spam was coined - that if you want to get something out of a community, you HAVE to participate in it. One one level, that's obvious hyperbole - someone can come here, create an account, and ask a perfectly good question or post a good answer without any prior activity on the site. But in most ...


11

I am on here because of these policies. I only turn to serverfault when I cant find an answer to a problem I'm facing or there is something I dont understand. I assume a certain level of knowledge from the people I'm talking to, and its nice to know the people replying are profesionals and tend to know what they are talking about. On the other hand it can ...


11

I poke at the problem until it goes away, using my vast knowledge of Strange Shit I've seen in this business since I started. If the problem doesn't go away, or I'm still in the dark at the end of my poking I ask a young person. Or Google. The above steps have always solved the problem - If they don't I'll post a question here in the hopes that someone ...


11

What the others said, plus A black belt in Google-Fu A patient rubber duck. I have a little stuffed Tux instead :) Persistence and the art to prevent to let persistence turn into stubbornness.


9

Have to agree with the answers here, as experienced IT people, we probably face more problems and we certainly face more complex problems than junior IT staff. My own troubleshooting process goes like this: Define the problem fully - I've solved numerous problems just by taking the time to properly describe them, which causes the troublesome area to ...


9

I am likely known for expressing minority's views here on meta, but as I feel there might be a constructive contribution from my digital-culture background here it goes nonetheless: The discussion seems to boil down to the conclusion that the site has changed lately and now a hard core of skilled brave sysadmins is facing the challenge of answering zillions ...


8

I'm not entirely convinced that SF is failing at all. Traffic to sites ebbs and flows. There is a lot of content here which will come up in searches, and novel, sane questions about things actually relevant to administering a production network do get asked, answered, and upvoted. Things like conceptual questions about a technology, or questions about a ...


5

Personally, I would like to see either a clarification or the scope, or a change of it. "IT Professionals" does not just mean Sys/Net Admin/Engineer. "IT Professional" to me includes Developers. If we want "SysAds asking questions of SysAds", change the scope of the site to do so. Yes, the crappy, clueless, and not-even-googled questions bother me, too. ...


5

I ask a lot of questions compared to most high-rep users. They tend to be good questions, complex questions, or questions that will be helpful to other users (e.g. Google results). It's a balancing act. Many times, I know I can feel my way through an issue, and there's value in doing that. Other times, it makes sense to know when to get help (and where to ...


5

This might seem a bit naive however I've been wondering if a revision to the signup / anonymous question asking process might help. Effectively the same way a lot of organizations require users to have read and understand their terms of service before being granted access to their account. It would equate to effectively require reading and agreeing to the ...


5

Don't close questions so fast. In my short time on these sites I've already found a few times that a new question asked today has been closed in-between when I clicked on it and when I've answered it. This is very frustrating, as answering questions is one of the few things I can do to increase my rep on the site to actually allow me access to some of the ...


4

I would participate more but, I have trouble because I don't have enough rep... Currently, I can only do 2.5 things: Ask Questions Provide Answers comment on stuff I've written myself or on answers to my own questions. I've had several instances that I've had something constructive to say that I cannot use the proper facility for simply because I have not ...


4

@autocompleting was implemented some time ago for comments. You should be able to type @ followed by the first character of the username and you'll be presented with a list of suitable usernames to tab through. In the example above BillWeiss real username is Bill Weiss so just removing the space(s) should also work.


3

They probably face more problems, but they also have more experience, so they can solve problems quicker. Also a recent trend on serverfault is that lot's of people ask questions that can easily be solved by reading docs,manuals or just using google.


3

At least for me, the problems that I face have to do with very high end specialized equipment and the only person that can resolve the issue is the vendor - they are all "too localized". I have given some thought to posting some self-answerable questions about other more generic issues I've come across, and how to "resolve" them, but I just haven't gotten ...


2

OK, I don't have that much reputation compared to many users here, but I'm getting there! I tend to reply the stuff I already know from my past experience. After spending way too many hours with servers over the 10+ years, I've learnt quite a lot. My method for learning new stuff: read the docs, try it out, most importantly, try to break and then fix it. :...


1

I think the problem is we made our scope too narrow. Why does the NetworkEngineering stack exchange exist? We should have asked for that content to be here.


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