Lately I see a lot of comments from less experienced users (and some more experienced ones too) pointing out that questions about other OS etc are off topic and rightly so, they are.

However, we should still aim to leave a good impression and help the users as much as we can.

I see comments like

"This is off topic on Ask Ubuntu"


"We don't support that OS"

While these comments are not exactly rude or anything, they also do not help people find the correct site to ask on.

I would ask that users append their comments with a link to the correct site to ask on, as this is still useful information for people and leaves a good impression too.

I am not saying do something fancy but just

"This is off topic on Ask Ubuntu, but you can ask at: http://unix.stackexchange.com "

or whatever site is the correct one.

It is a small thing but I believe it make a big difference to peoples opinions of this community.

  • 4
    I agree it is much more polite to provide links etc. I do that when I am at home, and I have my pre-cooked snippets (-list) under a shortcut. When traveling, I simply use "unfortunately, Blub_Os is off topic here", hoping others will do the further job. I don't think sacrificing voting to being polite is a correct consideration then. Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 8:27
  • If you're using Firefox, there's an add-on called AutoReviewComments which allows you to automatically add preconfigured comments, depending on whether you're commenting on a question or answer. You can add your own custom comments, and they support the SE "magic links". It makes it much easier to politely direct users to more appropriate sites with a couple of clicks.
    – Arronical
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 16:42

2 Answers 2


I personally agree that we should try to help the users as much as we can rather than appear to give them the brush off. Utilizing Add data.SE style "magic links" to comments can make this faster and easier to do.

While I consider it admirable to take this approach, I understand that many may feel it's unnecessary as if someone actually bothers to read https://askubuntu.com/help/how-to-ask , the tour page and visited the help center and actually did thoroughly search for an answer it may seem that they should have been able to find a better place to ask or would have found the answer already.

Sadly many are not exceptionally skilled at forming questions and are challenged when it comes to searching for information that is outside their area of expertise. I have no doubt that we have all seen numerous examples of poorly phrased, poorly researched questions.

The final determination as to exactly how helpful to be must (and should) be left to the user commenting. Whether it's a "small thing" is a matter of opinion and depends on what may or may not be competing for the commenter's time when the comment is crafted. We all have our criteria that we use for making that determination.

I know that I am unlikely to try to be very helpful to those who provide beliefs rather than facts regarding their issue, claim to have tried everything and whine about well deserved closures without even making an attempt to edit their post to bring it up to site standards.


I would ask that users append their comments with a link to the correct site to ask on, as this is still useful information for people and leaves a good impression too.

Absolutely agree with that, although please keep in mind that in some cases the "correct site" could be debatable. For instance, Cygwin is used under Windows hence may seem more suitable for Super User site, but it could be more suitable for Unix & Linux site (and yes, Cygwin is on topic there). Sometimes you have to stop and think whether or not what you consider a best fit would actually fit the user.

You also have to consider the context. If there was conversation going on within the comments for some time, and an established user already questioned the new user on which OS they're using or which tools, comments such as This is off-topic on AskUbuntu can be fine, although I agree that adding a link to that would be more useful.

On the technical side of things, I would recommend maintaining a text file with commonly used comments and learn from top users in our community. Such users as Fabby, terdon, Zanna,steeldriver typically provide useful and detailed comments, so I would recommend copying some of their comments. Alternatively, use a clipboard manager to insert the commonly used comments into clipboard and paste it right away.

I am currently working on one like that,indicator-bulletin, which will soon have ability to have list of commonly used phrases and insert them into clipboard. Hope the community can benefit from it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .