I'm not positive about why this topic was closed as not suitable for the site.
;TL/DR; I'm guessing below that it's being considered a bug report and a dupe of Launchpad content.

  1. It's about Ubuntu
  2. It's about a current release.
  3. It's a valid inquiry. I'm having the same issue and was led to the topic with a Google search.
  4. There was some Q&A, and an answer that the OP provided/accepted for himself.

It looks completely normal to me. But three days after it was self-Accepted, it was closed as "off-topic", "Not suitable for this site" with the normal required mod+4 confirmations:

* Post Closed as "Not suitable for this site" by @pomsky, @karel, @dlin, @user68186, @Eric-Carvalho *

There was no reason posted by any of those voting to flag it as off-topic.

The content does need editing: The OP's Answer to his own question wasn't really the right answer to "What's up with this file missing in 20.04?" The OP actually posted the right answer in a comment to his own question, that this is a Confirmed issue in v20 ... confirmed before the thread was closed as not suitable. That should have been the answer, that a confirmed issue (can't call it a bug yet) causes the /etc/securetty file to be removed, and the OP provided a replacement file as a temporary fix.

So, we can disagree with how the author answered the question, but the thread itself is not "off-topic" or "not suitable". What gets me is how did 5 people conclude that it was worthy of closing? What am I missing in that thread and/or the rules there?

I'm guessing it was closed due to the position:

  • "We aren't a bug tracker"
  • "Just linking is lazy and makes for a poor quality answer"

That's completely valid. If that's the reason for discomfort with a Q&A, then say so and give the people in the discussion an opportunity to understand what's happening. Otherwise the reason for closing doesn't make sense.

If there is agreement on my inquiry here, I'm hoping someone will re-open the thread, and I'll attempt to help fix the Q&A. People can decide later if we're unsuccessful in fixing it.

But, finally, I hope this leads to a policy, that might already exist? : When people vote to close a thread, one of the criteria should be that the thread includes a comment to explain why the thread is invalid. The first person to suggest closing it should be compelled to post a comment with an explanation. Mods 2-5 should evaluate that comment and perhaps provide their own insight, or sure, just vote if the first comment was adequate. I think this will lead to less frustration from people who are just trying to admin their systems, and not familiar with the personalities, preferences, gamification, and other nuances of this forum.

Addition 1, response to @pomsky :

;TL/DR; I started this thread because over-use of a good policy is now accepted as the norm, and I hope we can achieve more balance. It's not about the specific thread. That thread is just a perfect example of the point I'm trying to make.

About that thread and why it is on-topic, and not "not suitable", let’s look at what is considered https://askubuntu.com/help/on-topic.

Questions that you may ask:

  • It's a questions and answers site for Ubuntu-related questions.
    (yes, on-topic)
  • It's also a place to share knowledge about Ubuntu.
  • Using and administering official Ubuntu flavors.


  • …EOL unless … how to upgrade to a supported release.
    (yes, this was about a post-upgrade anomaly.)

Information needed:

  • Apply as many tags as makes sense.
    (Yes, has tags)
  • Questions should show as much information about your problem as possible.
    (Yes, the OP researched the problem and provided adequate information.)
  • Make sure the Question's title shows what the problem is about.
  • If your question lacks information…
    (question was complete)
  • Please look around to see if your question has been asked before.
    (check, I didn't see any other AU posts on this, it wasn't marked as duplicate, Google showed this as the #1 result… yes above Launchpad bug reports)
  • It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.
    (which the OP did before the thread was flagged)
  • If your question is not specifically on-topic for Ask Ubuntu, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site.
    (nope, this issue is specific to Debian/Ubuntu)

I hope that confirms that this thread adequately qualifies as on-topic according to every single point in the on-topic page.

About the elephant in the room: Avoid Bug reports. In that thread:

  • @afr and others share an observation: "Of course bug reports are not suitable, but how do users know it's a bug? What if they do not recognize it as bug and post it as regular question?"
    • At the time the question was asked it was not evident that the issue was a bug (in fact it has still not been confirmed as a "bug" it's just been acknowledged that the issue is related to a Debian change. The point here is that the question was on-topic when it was posted, and should not have been denigrated after the fact.
  • @lfaraone in the Community Wiki says "Questions that are simply problem reports are not suitable… If it's not very obviously a bug, though, I think we can leave it. If it's behavior which might be a bug or, say, a case of PEBKAC, err on the side of being more permissive."
    • The question as-posed was not disguised as a question to post a bug report. It was unlikely PEBKAC. The issue was not obviously a bug, and as noted above the exact nature of the issue has still not been determined. The point here : The mods should have preferred to "err on the side of being more permissive".

I'll summarize on avoiding bug reports with a quote by @trampster in that thread:

"I do not believe just closing a question is helpful, it sends the wrong message to people trying out Ubuntu. I also believe that if people run into a problems with ubuntu they should be able to find answers and solutions on this site. Just closing someones question will not do that."

THAT is exactly why I posted my thread here - not for this specific thread.

We can fault the thread OP in that Google showed may results pointing to Launchpad bug reports. (https://www.google.com/search?q=ubuntu+securetty+no+such+file+or+directory) If he did more research (beyond the effort he already expended) he would have found the answer on Launchpad, or at least a hint that his problem Might be the same or related. The "off-topic/not-suitable" label seems to be a slam in the face for someone who performed adequately, just not heroically. That's overkill and it's certainly not the intent of the Close mechanism.

How/why did Ask Ubuntu play a valued role here?

I was able to detect a problem on my systems and find a solution on this site, and it saved me a lot of personal research time when I already spend a ton of research time trying to figure out anomalies with Ubuntu and dozens of other tools. That's how this is all supposed to work. If details about an ongoing investigation are in Launchpad, then a link to that information is a good answer to the question, not a reason to invalidate the question.

As I said earlier, the OP had some issues in his (IMO) otherwise valid report. Because he (and so many others here) help me with my system administration, I'm offering to help clean up his report (if that's really required anymore?). THIS is how Community helps to foster collaboration. We do not encourage participation by closing threads too eagerly.

I'm not suggesting that this site allow abuse. I'm suggesting over-use of a good policy is now accepted as the norm, and I hope we can use this example in a new drive to achieve more balance with this often-discussed issue of protocol.


  • Most (likely, all) of the close-voters voted to close the question neither because it's a duplicate of a Launchpad content nor because there are issues with the answer by OP; rather simply because bug-reports are explicitly off-topic here (see the help page). Even questions asking for workarounds are not quite welcome too.
    – pomsky
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 15:01
  • What are your counter-points against the closure and/or what are the reasons for reopening the question? Others with the same issue may want to engage with it is not a reasonable one imo. At the risk of sounding like a pedant, I would point out that Ask Ubuntu is not a (general discussion) forum. Note that even the OP seemingly didn't bother to attempt to reopen the question or take any other actions after the closure as they found out it's a bug-report (presumably because the OP is an experienced user here with high reputation points, so they know how the site works).
    – pomsky
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 15:02
  • 2
    Full response to valid question by @pomsky edited into bottom of this question.
    – TonyG
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 20:46
  • 1
    "There was no reason posted by any of those voting to flag it as off-topic." Except the big blue banner with an explanation once the question is closed. Since you added so much text to this post, it is unreadable. There is a question, followed by two responses, followed by another question and a rant of some kind? I don't know, plus, your title contradicts that this is not about a specific question. It would be better to summarize your question in a concise way and respond to answers in the comments (people don't even know you added that to the question). -1 this is needs more focus.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 18:27
  • 2
    We've seen simple "why was this closed" threads. That is not what this is. The answer to @pomsky's question could not be answered concisely and completely in one of these comments. I chose to make the question/reasoning itself more complete in one place than to have such information lost in comments here. The big blue banner only says "closed, off-topic, not suitable." That is precisely what this is all about. But thanks (not) for the -1 now which begins to invalidate this topic rather than addressing the topic itself.
    – TonyG
    Commented Jun 30, 2020 at 0:10

1 Answer 1


It was closed as off-topic. The specific reason selected was:

Bug reports and problems specific to development version of Ubuntu should be reported on Launchpad so that developers can see, track and fix these issues.

(emphasis in original)

Unfortunately, the system probably didn't show you that detailed explanation. It ought to be shown to everyone who sees the question, but instead it's only shown to high-rep users and the user who posted the question. It's been this way since the network-wide redesign of how post notices are displayed. I view this as a serious problem that makes it impossible for most users to know what's going on.

As Cody Gray (one of the moderators on Stack Overflow) said in an answer to What close reason was used to close this question?:

Apparently, the new post notices are no longer distinguishing between the "off-topic" closure reasons in the notices. This is, in my opinion, a major misfeature. It was already confusing enough to group things like "no minimal, reproducible example" and "typo or not useful to others" underneath the "off-topic" category. But at least before, there was some explanatory text describing the actual reason for the closure. Now, there's just boilerplate suggesting that it is off-topic, which is absurd on its face, since these questions are clearly about programming. The off-topic closure only makes sense to people who are already experts on the nuanced scope of Stack Overflow, and this population of users has almost no overlap with the population of users whom we are trying to educate with the notices.

The topics and the available community-specific off-topic reasons are different on different sites, but I believe this is as much of a problem on Ask Ubuntu (and probably on every Stack Exchange site) as on Stack Overflow.

Bringing it back to the question you asked about, I'm not completely sure the closure is correct, but the OP did link bug reports in the question (one of which is a duplicate of the other), and it looks like the question may effectively just describe that bug.

If the closure is wrong, it would be valuable to comment explaining how the question does not effectively just describe or attempt to report a bug.

  • 1
    That's a solid answer @Eliah-Kagan. I have added a comment in that thread which points back here. I'm hoping those who closed it will see this thread here and give it another shot.
    – TonyG
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 19:27
  • 2
    My question did NOT deal with a development version of Ubuntu, but rather, a released version of Ubuntu. It was NOT a bug report, but rather, a description and workaround for a common problem seen by almost ALL users of 20.04. References to bug report links were provided by other readers, and then referenced by me. Readers continue to up vote both the question and my answer... indicating that they're helpful to many users with the same problem. My question is no different than any other user posting a question about 20.04.
    – heynnema
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 13:53
  • 2
    @TonyG Thanks for your thread about the closure of my question and workaround.
    – heynnema
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 13:54
  • 2
    Wow, the team here re-opened it and my -1 is gone. In a world that seems really messed up at times I feel like we've seen a small bit of justice here. That feels good. Thanks to those who contributed to this.
    – TonyG
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 2:07
  • 1
    Marked as the answer. @eliah-kagan took the time to consider the situation, comment on what would help make a case for re-opening, and responded to the additional information. That's how I would hope this all works. Thanks everyone.
    – TonyG
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 2:21

You must log in to answer this question.

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