Close votes on the following question evokes this statement:

I don't know why did it attract close votes. Probably because it didn't contain the word "Ubuntu" either in title or body of the question.

Please, do not close questions just because our favorite word is missing. "Ubuntu" is implied unless there are circumstances which lead us to believe that the question is not about Ubuntu or using Ubuntu to carry out the given task.

PS: I have left this comment a couple of times previously, so I thought it would be better to have a Meta Question concerning this.

  • 2
    For what it is worth, I bumped it from the review queue.
    – Seth
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 15:33
  • 7
    Actually, we don't want "Ubuntu" in the title if you can avoid it. You're already on Ask Ubuntu, it's implied; otherwise every single question would end with "...in Ubuntu". That gets old real fast! Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 19:44
  • If a question says "How do I do X?" it should be interpreted to actually mean "How do I do X using Ubuntu?" when deciding whether it's on-topic. The "using Ubuntu" part is implied by the fact we're called Ask Ubuntu and would be redundant in the question title. Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 1:24

2 Answers 2


I agree, it seems that the hordes of fans that Ask Ubuntu has sometimes make use of their close votes in a unfair way.

The help section of the site clearly states:

  • Using and administering Ubuntu, including official Ubuntu derivatives.
  • Development on Ubuntu.

This does mean that questions like: "How can I do this using Ubuntu with any tool available" and "Crap, I use Ubuntu for developing this crap piece of code that I produced and it is not working, please help" type of questions are on-topic for the site.

Still you see people that are asking for help around those 2 topics getting shushed and abusively being sent to other SE sites by users that have no authority for that.

No, this does not mean that every question posted that contains the word Ubuntu is on topic for the site, eg:

  • How do I make Ubuntu logo shaped eggs
  • How to I make a computer that can fly with Ubuntu
  • Can Ubuntu cure cancer?

All of those would be closed for some reason or the other, namely: off-topic, unclear what you're asking and primarily opinion-based.

I recommend that you use some common sense and judging ability.

If you are new to the site refrain from posting "This should not be here, you should do X and Y" before you ask more experienced users, or even a moderator, for help and advise. And if you are an experienced user that detects that type of comments on questions instead of starting an opinion war just flag the comment for deletion, a moderator will take care of it.

Enough of those by a specific user and he can find another account to create because his will be suspended.

  • 9
    Note that "Can Ubuntu cure cancer?" might be reopened if the author narrowed it in scope by revising it to "Can I do distributed computing on Ubuntu to find candidates for cancer drugs?" Personally, I feel that's a sufficiently narrow software-recommendation question to be allowed. :) Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 23:27
  • 1
    @EliahKagan +1 :D Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 7:25

Would the question "How can I write a successful business plan on Ubuntu?" on topic? Following the logic, attaching "Ubuntu" to any question would make the question on topic, for more ridiculous the question is. This already happened on SO with the infamous boat meme which in essence you could ask any question as long as you used "for programmers" somewhere in the question.

So applying this precept to AU, you could say that: The fundamental rule is you can't just stick "for Ubuntu" on a question to make it Ubuntu related.

  • At least use the comments area for that function please.... Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 14:53
  • 1
    @BrunoPereira is not a comment, I'm twisting the question around so OP see the implications that attaching "Ubuntu" to any question doesn't magically makes the question on topic.
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 14:54
  • Nop, this is the start of a discussion and better fits as a comment. Live with it. Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 14:55
  • 2
    @Braiam: I am not arguing that mere presence of the word "Ubuntu" makes the question on-topic. We close lots of questions that contain the word "Ubuntu" in it (bugs, cannot be reproduced, ubuntu+1, etc). // I am arguing that mere absence of the word "Ubuntu" doesn't qualify the question as off-topic. // To answer w.r.t. to your example, if the question asks for software-recommendations about writing the business-plan, I consider that to be a completely fine and on-topic question over here :-)
    – Aditya
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 14:58
  • @Aditya see my edit.
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 15:00
  • @Braiam: My comment still remains the same (I think I have covered it, please point out in case of confusion)...
    – Aditya
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 15:01
  • 1
    @Braiam: On second reading of this answer, you seem to agree with me. Just like presence of a certain word/phrase doesn't make the question on-topic, absence of a certain word/phrase shouldn't make the question off-topic as well. Is this what you are implying? (Because this is what I am implying.) Did you properly understand what I posted in the question?
    – Aditya
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 15:38
  • @Aditya for the amount of downvotes I don't see that it matters...
    – Braiam
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 17:38
  • This is definitely an answer that points out--astutely and correctly--how the presence or absence of the word "Ubuntu" is not what determines if a question is on-topic. (The suggestion that this should have been a comment because it was the start of a discussion was also kind of weird, since we usually say that's not the best use for comments.) +1 Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 21:26

You must log in to answer this question.

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