12

We still get a fair number of people posting things on the wrong site. This is largely because they think their distribution is a derivative or is somehow related to Ubuntu and that makes this the right site. Others seem to drift in off the back of other questions they find through Google.

Either way, the current way of handling these (letting them post and closing their question with a snotty close message) is a huge waste of everybody's time.

Could we include something like the following that alerts these users that their distribution may not be supported on the site? I'm talking about a message like this:

Ask Ubuntu is a site for users of Ubuntu Linux distribution and its official derivatives (learn more). You appear not to be using one of these. Posts here may not apply to you and we request you not ask questions that aren't about Ubuntu or its derivatives here, rather that you use Unix & Linux.

The message might need tuning but this is dead simple to drop into the site template without requiring any server-side code:

$().ready(function() {
  if (navigator.userAgent.indexOf("buntu") == -1)
    $('<div id="system-message" style="margin-top:15px">\
      Ask Ubuntu is a site for users of Ubuntu Linux distribution and its \
      <em>official</em> derivatives \
      (<a href="https://askubuntu.com/help/on-topic">learn more</a>). \
      <strong>You appear not to be using one of these</strong>. Posts here \
      may not apply to you and we request you not ask questions that aren\'t \
      about Ubuntu or its derivatives here, rather that you use \
      <a href="http://unix.stackexchange.com">Unix &amp; Linux</a>.\
    </div>').insertAfter('#header');
});

It's important to note that this wouldn't prevent people from posting, just make them aware that they might be on the wrong site.

  • 1
    maybe just new users - as I often have my mac(osx) up at the same time and answer/review on it time to time – Mateo Jun 28 '14 at 20:59
10

I like this idea. I'll also be interested to see a graph of the numbers of off-topic by distribution before and afters if it happens.

8

Not convinced by this (like the idea though), for two reasons:

  • The user agent may not/won't specify the distribution - e.g.

    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux; rv:30.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/30.0
    

    though Windows can be guessed pretty easily:

    Windows / IE 11: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/7.0; rv:11.0) like Gecko
    
  • The question could be asked from another computer - e.g. if the OP can't boot Ubuntu and need to ask it from a Windows machine.
    Also, people may use another machine more often to browse the site (I 80% of the time use Fedora (I shall ignore the booing noises) the rest of the time Ubuntu, Windows, other OSs...) - there is also the mobile browser which could be using a Mobile OS... (Though is is possible to use Ubuntu Touch)

Edit: here are a few user agents off different Linux machines, have a guess where I got them from:

  • Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux i686; rv:30.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/30.0

    Ubuntu, what a suprise...

  • Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/35.0.1916.153 Safari/537.3

    Ubuntu, Google Chrome

  • Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:30.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/30.0

    oddly enough, Ubuntu

  • Windows / IE 10: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/6.0)

    Puzzled? There are things that can change user-agents... You need to use these with things like Pipelight.

This of course all depends on whether just the User Agent is being used, or some other thing which I don't know about...

5

I think that makes a lot of sense and would greatly reduce the off topic questions we're getting (I hope so anyway). I'd make a few small changes to the text though:

Ask Ubuntu is a site for users of the Ubuntu Linux distribution and its official flavors (learn more). You don't appear to be using one of these. Posts here may not apply to you and your question is likely to be off topic. We suggest you try Unix & Linux instead.

While I've tweaked the wording a little, I'm not too hung up on that. What is really important is to use flavors instead of derivatives to avoid confusion. Both because it's clearer (there are loads of Ubuntu derivatives but as far as I know all of them are off topic here) and because it's the wording used in the help section.

  • well, when people think of ice cream flavors there is only one clear distribution that is named like that ;) – Mateo Jun 28 '14 at 21:01
0

As someone who typically posts from Windows I can relate to Wilf's answer regarding varying browser information and people posting from other machines, but I don't see it as a problem. As long as the message isn't overly obtrusive, it should be easy enough to for people (like me) who use the site on a regular basis (and therefore assumingly already know which flavours are acceptable to discuss) to ignore. For everyone else I think this will function as a helpful speed-bump.

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