The example is here

I know in the interest of being friendly, you just let it ride. However, do we need to think about the policy of "this was the top google hit, so I posted something relevant as a comment" as okay?

I'ld tend to say, until the imaginary problem becomes a real problem, just let it go. I was wondering about the thoughts of others though, so here we are.

  • 1
    s/OSX/OSn/g let's make the question a bit more abstract.
    – Hi-Angel
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 6:31

3 Answers 3


The silly thing is there's already a comment under the question that links to the OSX answer.

Is that a problem too?

I usually have no problem with the odd related comments popping up. Comments are displayed as second class citizens, they're small and unobtrusive... That is until they descend into open meta quibbles (so thank you for moving the conversation here).

"How can you say that?"
"This it Ask Ubuntu!"
"OSX is proprietary rubbish!"
"Down with the system!1"

Well sure, but in absolute terms this little comment was doing us an extraordinarily small amount of harm and was making SE (and the internet) a better place. Maybe I'm just reaching a particularly lazy phase of life but I would argue for a little utilitarianism, especially when the trade-off is currently so small.

If you think this is a slippery slope and we're going to get a flurry of Nintendo Game Boy users telling us how they do things in LibreOffice, perhaps we can address that then, but I see no evidence of that yet.

2 comments will not tip this ship.

On "technically correct", "potential harm" and "precedent"...

Rightly, Meta posts often discuss the future ramifications of their subject.

I've flippantly addressed this above because I feel that slippery slope or not, we're not talking about Everest here. Two or three comments a year that help people either navigate to the right place or just outright help them is worth it IMO.

But precedent isn't that important. We aren't writing an immutable constitution or issuing a supreme court edict here on Meta. If this becomes an actual problem, I have no problem changing the rules then to deal with it at that time. If that means shutting down somebody who says "but in 2016 Oli said I could post Game Boy cheat codes everywhere", that's okay.

  • 1
    Leaving a link to an answer on ask different would be fine but this example is a solution posted in comments on the wrong site, I don't see how that is " making SE (and the Internet) a better place" at all, posing it on the correct site as a Q&A is the best action to take and will benefit the correct demographic, with maximum impact, will it not?
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 10:24
  • 1
    You're weighing what is technically right against what is technically possible. I am saying that OSX users are already hitting that page and it costs us so little to leave the comment there as a comment. Redirecting them (the question comment) is good (within reason). A copy of the path on OSX saves the OSX readers another click (the rest of the answer "it's a lockfile") applies.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 10:30
  • I hadn't noticed the link to askdifferent. I only noticed b/c it was a comment that gave me a notification. I agree it won't tip the ship. Commented May 3, 2016 at 11:28
  • 3
    I'm the original offender. My reasoning was: this is a libreoffice issue, not so much an ubuntu issue, and osx is a unix of sorts... The osx libreoffice uses a different folder than the ubuntu libreoffice, which is sort of a libreoffice issue, so I commented on it in the hope that the info might be useful to someone else. I am extremely fond of open source, hence my use of libreoffice, but I also use osx, windows, and several linux distros on a weekly basis. Ubuntu is corporate-sponsored, so I'm a little surprised at the puritanism. Thanks to those advocating tolerance. Peace.
    – PatrickT
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 11:48
  • 2
    @PatrickT - I completely get it, and I don't have a problem with the comment at all. I just tend to look at what if's. I'm a camel nose under the tent thinker almost all the time. Commented May 4, 2016 at 0:25
  • 3
    +1, especially for Nintendo Game Boy users telling us how they do things in LibreOffice
    – cat
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 23:32
  • @PatrickT website policy on what is on-topic has nothing to do with "puritanism". Your comment was made with good faith and probably it's not worth the hassle of being deleted, but it's still off-topic. Commented May 12, 2016 at 18:26

In my opinion, I don't believe it's a problem at all. Extra information is never a bad idea. There are a lot of answers around Ubuntu that work with different OS'es (whether it's Fedora, or Red Hat, or even OSX). I've personally used quite a few answers on Ask Ubuntu to solve problems with OSX, for the same reason the commenter said: Ask Ubuntu is, most of the times, the top result in Google.

That said; it's not a bad idea to ask the user, albeit nicely, to post the solution on Ask Different.

  • 2
    "I don't believe it's a problem at all" I disagree, lets flip this round and say you were browsing ask different and found a solution for your Ubuntu problem that you modified to work, would you leave a comment on that question saying how to do it on Ubuntu or would you add the solution to a question here? Of course the latter is the correct course of action and so should apply for that comment too, it has no value here. It is a slippery slope, if one comment is allowed, what is to stop another user using that as the reason they can post a Windows solution here? using that comment....,
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 10:09
  • ... as a reason it is unfair to disallow there comment and before you know it people start posting these type of comments all the time because it was allowed once and ask ubuntu is top of the search results? It is off topic here and should be on ask different where it has value.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 10:11
  • @MarkKirby Posting questions not related to Ubuntu is off topic, I don't believe there's a rule for comments though. I just don't see a reason why you wouldn't allow users to have a little more help. Besides, it was just a tip. Not a full answer.
    – Dan
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 10:48
  • " I don't believe there's a rule for comments though" You are correct, I guess this post will set a president for future comments of this type here, let's see how voting goes, as we are a community, what is the opinion of said community should be how we deal with this (regardless of my opinion right now)
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 11:04
  • "Precedent", not "president". But I agree with the recommendation to Self-Answer Different. Commented May 7, 2016 at 21:13

This story was educational in the sense that we learned that it is possible for OpenOffice to leave a pesky lock on a Mac that is not automatically remedied by a reboot.

This could never happen on Linux because /run/lock is cleared on boot and it is frequently mapped to a tmpfs (RAM) in /etc/fstab by users anyways.

So, thanks for sharing it.

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