Here's the question. It was closed simply because I tagged it as "14.04" (I am using Xubuntu 14.04 which is not released yet). However, the question is not specific to 14.04 in any way, it is specific to Thunar 1.6.3 which has been released for almost a year. The moderator that closed my question made no effort what so ever to assist in answering the actual question, or to give any insight on where the values that confuse me might come from. Instead, I got this:

You are using 14.04 right? right? right? right? right?

As soon as I confirmed this was the case (and asked why the tag was removed), the question was closed as off-topic.

This annoys me a little bit. I understand that AskUbuntu cannot allow questions that may be software defects in an unsupported and unreleased version, but in this case I was merely posing a question out of interest for where the sizing numbers are coming from, and if there's a functionality in Thunar (or any other file manager for that matter) for displaying recursive file size.

Not sure if I'm creating even more unnecessary drama by posting this here, hopefully not, I just wanted to get a second opinion.

  • 3
    If the question was not specific to 14.04, you shouldn't have tagged it with 14.04.
    – Flyk
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 16:34
  • 1
    I should probably point out that 14.04 is not a stable release yet. That's why we don't have 14.04 questions as a supported release of Ubuntu since it's still in development. We don't support the still-changing development release.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 16:35
  • That is abundantly clear, Thomas.
    – pzkpfw
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 16:36
  • kalina: The fact that I tagged it with 14.04 is not a reason in itself to close it if the question can be answered for Ubuntu in general.
    – pzkpfw
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 16:36
  • @bigbadonk420 Actually, it is. Like kalina says version tags should only be used when you actually have a version specific question. Since 14.04 is in development all 14.04 version specific questions should be closed per site policy. Of course, as Oli says below, it was a bit hard to tell what was going on here at first.
    – Seth
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 18:04

3 Answers 3


I can see this from both ends and I think I can explain why it was handled the way it was:

  • At first reading it looks something between a bug report and a feature request. You want Thunar in 14.04 to do something it currently doesn't. That should be handled directly with Thunar's developers.

    Why did I interpret it that way? Because you ask "is there a way to make ...".

  • After reading your comments and re-reading the last line, I read it as a "Can Thunar do this?" or "How do I do this with Thunar".

  • Reading this meta conversation, it sounds like you just want a way to recursively check the size of things, regardless of Thunar or its future. If you want to just describe the problem and leave Thunar out of it, that's fine too.

The actual question is still ambiguous. Which of those interpretations is correct? If it's the first, go and deal with the Thunar devs. If it's the second or third, we need you to improve your question to make that clear.

  • Rev. 1 of my question ended with this sentence: "If not, does another File Manager for *ubuntu?". I think this is the key to why the question should not have been closed, it was specifically file manager-agnostic from the start.
    – pzkpfw
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 16:35
  • @bigbadonk420 - if its file-manager agnostic then thunar has no bearing on the title and thus the question title should be similarly made agnostic.
    – fossfreedom Mod
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 16:41
  • God forbid you actually read the question before closing it.
    – pzkpfw
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 16:43
  • @bigbadonk420 You do yourself no favours being subtle here. If you want it to appear on-topic you can. I'm just pointing out that your use of language has given several conflicting opinions over what you actually want. Simplify that to something that's on-topic here and we won't have an issue :)
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 16:45

This annoys me a little bit.

We understand that, does not make it off-topic for the site.

Not sure if I'm creating even more unnecessary drama by posting this here, hopefully not, I just wanted to get a second opinion.

You are free to post anything on meta about the site, or sort out issues you have with situations that happened on the site.

About the issue itself

This was closed as off-topic for the site because it is related to a development version of Ubuntu, asking about something that can change really soon is not really something we do.

We are trying to make Ubuntu better and Ask Ubuntu should reflect quality in documenting the several improvements made to the software. Because pre-released packages can change very fast we all agreed (a long time ago) that if its a pre-release version of Ubuntu any issues you might have should be reported in launchpad instead of here and after the release is out we start a new cycle of support.

  • You are not correct when you say "it is related to a development version of Ubuntu" as I have made clear in my comments on the question.
    – pzkpfw
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 15:24
  • Should it display the size of a folder's content? Does it display the size of a file correctly? Is that the purpose of it? If its not doing what it should, either it should be fixed or removed form the software, else it is useless. Other than that you need to chance the source of the software and compile it to your needs, no? Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 15:28

No, I don't think you are creating an unnecessary drama.

I can not definitely say it was an off-topic question, since the question as it stands now seems perfectly fine to me.


I requested a confirmation if the issue exists in a supported release, to cast a reopen vote. You could have answered yes, no, I'll check it when I boot into it, or anything along the lines. Instead you chose to bash me up for asking that.

Do understand that we agreed long time ago to not support unreleased Ubuntu versions, but at the same time we also agreed to help users with every supported release.

Please wait for someone to confirm, or confirm it yourself that the issue exists in a supported release, and the problem is solved. The question will be reopened in a few minutes.

In case the issue is specific to this version of thunar, it remains closed as per the site policies.

Edit: Also note that, due to the way hard links and soft links are handled, it may make sense for a file manager to show only the inode size, rather than the recursive size. There are some subtleties involved, and some project may chose to do it the simple way. Still, since the question is framed as "is there any way to do this", it becomes valid, if it is known that this is not a bug introduced in the latest version.

  • The size shown by Thunar is identical to the size shown by ls -lh in a terminal so none of this is fundamentally related to 14.04 or Thunar. As I wrote in the question comments: A good answer would have explained to me why this is, rather than just closing it as being "14.04 specific" which it clearly is not. An even better answer would have told me if Thunar, or any other file manager for Linux (also not 14.04 specific) has a functionality to display compound size instead.
    – pzkpfw
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 15:50
  • The world is not always ideal. If it clearly is not, edit your question to that effect and it gets reopened. I don't see a problem here.
    – Mahesh
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 15:57

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