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Is it okay to ask a question about a problem, for which I can't test the answers for, out of general curiosity ? Say I want to ask a question about a problem I would potentially face / I used to face when I was using a Server account, but I no longer have access to the said server account. Can I ask such a question without going out of the boundaries of what is allowed in ask ubuntu ?

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  • I suppose it depends on the problem. If, for example, some command output or logs are needed for the problem to be assessed and solved but you can't provide them, then there is no point in asking really. If on the other hand you can provide all the information needed, then ask about it. In my opinion (but you've better wait to see what other people say in order for you to decide), you can go ahead and ask the question either way. In the worst case it will be closed as needing more details. You risk of getting some downvotes however. – BeastOfCaerbannog Apr 21 at 15:18
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    One of the standard close reasons is pretty much "This problem can no longer be reproduced or went away on its own" – muru Apr 21 at 15:21
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In general, no.

  • You might not be able to answer requests for detail
  • You might not be able to say what worked (if it's something that needs fixing)

It's hard to think of many examples of questions that can be asked in the abstract that are about an actual system. If you think you have one, be more specific in your question here, or just ask but make it clear that you cannot get more information.

It seems likely that the time spent answering this won't offset the limited reward of answering your curiosity, but also consider that we've no way to police any of these things. Just be conscientious with other people's time.

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  • I would consider these types of questions "unanswerable hypothetical questions" because you no longer can test, etc. As such, it would be closed as "no longer reproduced or went away", and you can't really get more information for us when we need to debug things. So, this is really a "Bad Fit" for the site. As Oli said. – Thomas Ward Mod Apr 21 at 16:23
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    I have actually done something along these lines over on U&L: Mysterious bash instances using a lot of CPU, how can I debug?. I asked the question, but then rebooted and the issue went away, but I was still interested in a solution for next time. I mentioned in the question that I could no longer test and still got some useful answers. – terdon Apr 21 at 18:33
  • @terdon I might be nitpicking in this case, but I would argue that your question does not contradict Oli's answer. Your question asks, "how to debug?" instead of "how I can fix it?". If it were the latter, it would have been a closeable question as you can't really confirm if the answers work or not. But in the way you asked it, you can still verify if the answers allow you to debug a CPU problem even when you don't have that problem anymore. – Dan Apr 22 at 11:53
  • @Dan no, my question doesn't contradict Oli at all! I posted that as an example of "questions that can be asked in the abstract that are about an actual system". And the approach I had chosen at the time is what Oli is suggesting here for such edge cases: I clearly stated that I can no longer test in the question body, but went ahead and asked since the answers could still be useful. – terdon Apr 22 at 12:04
  • @terdon Ah sorry, I completely read that out of context then. Thanks for the clarification! – Dan Apr 22 at 12:06

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