Some of the questions appearing seem pretty advanced, wile others (like the ones I'm asking) are elementary. Who is the user we imagine using this service? The answer to this question should determine what kinds of question we ask here.
The easy answer is, of course, both new and advance users can find this service useful. But why would an advanced user come here, rather than, say, the ubuntu forums? The interface here seems much more aimed at newer users. I'm curious what people's thoughts are on this issue.

5 Answers 5


This StackExchange effort was initiated and promoted by Evan Dandrea and myself. We were hoping to address the needs of the average user who wants an operating system that Just Works. These people are not tech savvy, don't know what a terminal is, and are not interested in joining the Ubuntu community -- they merely have straightforward questions about Ubuntu and want straightforward answers.

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    And that is why it should be preferred to give answers which solve the problem through the UI and not using some cryptic Terminal commands.
    – User
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 23:24

I actually find this funny:

The interface here seems much more aimed at newer users.

You, sir, have been violated by too many bad UIs!

The interface here is well designed and unchaotic. It is, in fact, exactly what you come up with if you know what experienced users will want in a UI. It is also exactly what you come up with if you know what new users need in a UI.

As with the original trilogy (Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User) and life in general, there are really no questions too basic, too advanced, or too stupid. There are, at worst, misplaced questions (e.g. we'll probably end up with a good number of questions that really belong on Super User), and bad questions (where the definition of "bad" is a matter of eternal debate, but questions likely to provoke holy wars for no good reason, questions that just can't be answered, questions where it is entirely unclear what the question is...).

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    It's so true -- I have experienced some awful UIs, especially in wiki/collaborative projects. So I find this interface a wonderful change. Thanks for your answer, by the way -- I enjoyed it! Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 13:53

A lot of the users here I imagine come from stackoverflow for the most part. So in general I would expect mostly users with a software background. It's probably more the connection with stack overflow that will pull advanced users here over the ubuntu forums although I myself will probably ask questions at both if its a good question.

I should probably point out that I'm in no way an advanced user of Ubuntu. I've used it for a few servers here and there but I still a primarily Windows user. The most advanced thing I've ever done is a touch screen. So this answer comes from someone probably more in the newer user category.


All questions, from the most basic to the most advanced, have their place here.

But... wasn't Ubuntu supposed to be "the linux for human beings", or whatever variation of that ?

The last thing I want is variations of the "do it yourself n00b" answer on an Ubuntu question.

While this could be acceptable on Stack Overflow (it is a software engineers forum, after all), I want my 60-years old mother able to surf ubuntu.stackexchange.com and ask questions, even extremely naive or stupid questions, and not have answers pointing her as a newbie or a retard, or telling her to visit a 30 Mbytes web page describing all check-ins in the last Ubuntu repository to search for her answer.

I believe, too, this forum should be relaxed on the "not really a real question": When someones wants to discover cool software on Ubuntu, this forum could do the trick, as the best answers will come up first. Is there an "elite mafia" at works ? Take a look at Not-So-Well-Known features of Ubuntu. The author not only asked a question that could have interested my 60-years old mother, and that interested me, too. The remarkable thing is that the author contributed two answers, one inside the question, and one as a separate answer. And it got downmodded. WTF?

I would like some quote like "Ubuntu@StackExchange : Ubuntu Q&A for Humans beings" to be highly visible on ubuntu.stackexchange.com, as well as an explanation on the FAQ to have us all remember that no question is too n00b to be asked.

This way, human people could learn a lot on Ubuntu and be part of a community, instead of being the cowed plebeians of an elite of geeks who happen to run Ubuntu.

Please note that there is competition, now: Miguel de Icaza's blog post about a ALL-Unixes Stack Exchange forum (in opposition to an Ubuntu-only forum, I guess).

I believe that if there is a room for a specialized Ubuntu forum instead of a generic Linux Desktop one, then this is a room for non-tech people asking obvious questions that will be mocked everywhere else. If this is not the case, then ubuntu.stackexchange.com should be merged with Miguel's proposition.


I initially wondered, too, about the use of this site, when the ubuntu forums are such a comprehensive source of information and support.

However, they do suffer from exactly the same problems that all forums do, that stack overflow / exchange was written to fix.

This site allows the modification of answers that change over time, pushes the relevant answers to the top, allows voting etc, all things that make it a much more useful tool.

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