This question was asked and there was nothing in the Original post that indicates that the post was off-topic. Some hours after I answered The OP came back and provided a not an answer which indicated that the OP was using Mint. This info was subsequently edited into the question making the question as off-topic as the aforementioned not an answer.

In a case such as this should the question be abandoned as off topic or preserved in it's on topic form? Which approach is more likely to be helpful to future users of the site?

3 Answers 3


The fact that the OP did not originally say they were using Mint seems not very relevant. They are using Mint, and this is most likely the cause of the answer not working, so the question is off-topic.

If it is any good it can be migrated:

Good off topic questions: migrate rather than close?

If you feel we need that question here for Ubuntu, not Mint, then perhaps consider making a Q&A.

Leaving a question like this by a Mint user here is just asking for trouble imho - OP could accept an answer that happens to work for Mint but not Ubuntu, downvote an answer that DOES work for Ubuntu because it doesn't work for them, etc. The OP has a lot of control over the post. We shouldn't sweep under the rug that they are using another distro - it's too risky.

Edit: On reflection, while I still think the edit was right (to explain OP's situation & behaviour) and the question should be closed (to avoid setting a precedent & the risk of answers that don't work for Ubuntu being added & accepted), since you already answered it for Ubuntu perfectly well, and you don't want to make a Q&A, I think it's fine to leave the question here, not migrate it, and make sure it doesn't get deleted, since it's useful to Ubuntu users...

  • You make some good points. If that's the way to go, why does the off-topic close encourage rewording the question to fit this site's scope after reviewing the community guidelines?
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 13:18
  • @ElderGeek haha maybe the notice should be reworded. I'm pretty sure we shouldn't be encouraging people to edit out mention of their distro (although this does happen) because it's really not just about words but about whether the answer will work, and whether its working-ness can be verified...
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 13:29
  • maybe the notice should be reworded, however there appears to be a history of attempting to do exactly that and I'm not sure what would be better considering the generic nature (by necessity) of close notices.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 13:44
  • @ElderGeek yes I don't know how it could be improved either. Doubtless the character limit is quite tight too
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 13:54
  • In retrospect I think the question itself is dated as at some point the versions in question will become irrelevent so I don't think I'll do a Q&A on this one.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 14:39
  • @Zanna if the answer is useful for Ubuntu users, we don't really care if it isn't for the OP.
    – terdon
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 17:17
  • 1
    @terdon sure, but if the question doesn't belong, then too bad for the answer I think. My view is that we shouldn't risk allowing off-topic posts just because they might get on-topic answers...
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 17:30
  • 1
    I guess I see it the other way around: if the answer is on topic and can help Ubuntu users but not the OP, too bad for the question. This sort of thing is borderline though, I quite agree.
    – terdon
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 17:36
  • @terdon Yeah it is really tricky I think... I have changed my mind over time. I think OP has too much control for it to be safe. If the distro doesn't matter for the case, then fine, like you said in chat, if it's uncertain, close to be safe. Anyway, if the question has a good answer we can upvote it and close and the good answer will still be there, with no risk of answers that don't work for Ubuntu being added and accepted...
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 17:48
  • @ElderGeek I thought about it & edited...
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:34
  • @Zanna How would one insure it doesn't get deleted? I could protect it to keep the low-rep OP from posting another non-answer, or edit it and remove the reference to Mint and vote to re-open. I don't see any other options to preserve it.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:50
  • @ElderGeek closed questions are not deleted by the system if they have upvoted answers. Only voters with >10k/mods could delete it, and if it were deleted, it could always be undeleted.
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:53
  • @Zanna I should know that. I'm not sure what I was thinking.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:56
  • @ElderGeek I think most users, even some of the really awesome ones like you, don't have much occasion to know which questions will get deleted. I only know because of my cleanup work :)
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 19:10
  • @Zanna Thank you for those very kind words. I've cast my share of delete votes, the pattern should be obvious to even the casual observer so my bad.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 19:20

My opinion is, if the user has Mint, it is off topic. Site policy should trump individual opinions.

The only time a question like that should be saved, is if someone can confirm the exact issue is present in Ubuntu, otherwise, it could do more harm than good.

In this case the not an answer, indicates it is a problem with the Mint repo version and not relevant to Ubuntu

  • With all due respect, in this case the question does apply to Ubuntu and I think the fact that the OP is running Mint is irrelevant to whether the question about running Adobe After Effects 4.5 under wine has a place here.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:45
  • I have to disagree, the OP had Mint. You want to save your answer, why not ask a new question on installing it on Ubuntu? OP was a 1 rep user of two days, I doubt they would object, a mod could even merge your answer to the new question. If you think the question has value, ask an on topic version of it and use your answer.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:57
  • What you suggest is a completely unnecessary time sink. I would have to write a new question that would nearly duplicate the existing one, and a mod would have to take the time to merge the answer to the new question. As I don't believe that's the best use of anyones time, I think it best we agree to disagree.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 19:03

I believe that this should be determined on a case by case basis by considering what would be the most useful to future readers of the site.

If the question is on topic, I don't see the benefit of editing it to make it off-topic. I've seen the reverse encouraged here "it may be necessary to reword the question to fit this site's scope after reviewing the community guidelines." but have yet to see anything to indicate that a post should be edited to make it off topic.

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