Since most Linux distros, including Ubuntu and all its derivatives are considered to be open-source software platforms for anyone who's interested, I find it an abusive and counterproductive practice to close or put on hold with so much ease certain questions and/or answers asked by beginners as well as intermediate users who made this effort to register on askubuntu.com site just for asking one "simple" question, hoping this way that they could get an useful solution to their problem.

I know it and I know that you know it also that there are out there a whole bunch of people that have come to loathe Ubuntu community and Ubuntu Linux itself because they were treated in this manner (put on hold, duplicate, closed question) or even showed a complete lack of respect due to the fact that they were not as all-knowing Linux gurus as other more prominent members in here. The famous BUMP! is no longer used today but putting a new user on hold or closing his/her question with very few and often quite confusing explanatory details makes it no different than calling that user a bump for not being able to address the question with the outmost clarity.

I am not sure if you are still aware of the fact that there are out there tons of Ubuntu enthusiasts with very few knowledge about Linux and/or about how to address a question to a forum or a support website the proper way. But they still need help, and this is why they ask their question anyway in the hope that they could fix a problem which can be caused by their lack of skills or by some bugs or flows of the operating system itself.

If advanced technical questions are expected to be posted on AskUbuntu, then let people know about it so they won't bother the 'gurus' no more but otherwise it would be quite polite and productive to reply to any question with some direct answer, even if it were just to redirect the user to some other forum or support site. Of course, there are users who are trying to promote some linux distros using AskUbuntu as a platform for their "evil" intentions, and there are other users who may be plain rude but they are just a few compared to the rest of us whose questions are marked as duplicate or put on hold or closed.

Ubuntu changes its features little by little each year, and I think sometimes new solutions are needed for the same issues addressed in the past on AskUbuntu.com so it would be great if Closed, Duplicate or On-Hold options would be used less and direct answers even to some dumb question addressed more frequently.

Let us not forget that Ubuntu OS is trying hard to replace Windows operating system promising the average user quite an enjoyable experience, ease of use and a most stable operating system so, again, it would be nice not to break that promise and be more open to beginners like myself still trying to figure it out which one is better, Windows or Ubuntu, Ubuntu or Windows?

  • 1
    So, in summary, we should reduce our quality standards? No thanks.
    – Braiam
    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:20
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    What quality standards are we talking about? I have seen quite a few major complaints on askubuntu.com concerning the new Ubuntu 14.04 release, and a whole bunch of them for the previous releases. Speaking of quality standards! And there are many questions in there posted in the past few months which are still waiting for an answer. Maybe they should be closed too or put on-hold?
    – Taz D.
    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:57
  • The quality standards of the post. Look, through we are part of a Ubuntu community, we are also part of the StackExchange network. SE network needs everybody to fit within certain quality standards when posting questions and answers, if those standards are not meet, the post can be deleted.
    – Braiam
    Apr 25, 2014 at 13:05
  • It is ok by me, I was just testing the waters. If there is an official policy, I won't be the one to try to change it.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 25, 2014 at 13:15
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    Please at least link to some examples that support your argument. As far as I can't tell we don't close beginner or new user questions, we close poor questions. Apr 25, 2014 at 20:07
  • It won't be easy to give you some examples in just one comment. But I have noticed that questions tagged with 'dual-boot' and 'Windows' and 'USB installation' are often marked as duplicate or put on-hold right from the start even if the user has just registered and has no clue about Ubuntu or how to formulate a question, not to mention technical details like duplicate or on-hold. Most of these users are not native English speakers and they need time to adjust to the way things are done on AskUbuntu.com.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 25, 2014 at 22:07
  • Most questions about setting up dual booting, or using a USB installation are already answered. If the user can't really explain what they're trying to do then how are we supposed to answer it? Show us data and examples of this being a problem, not gut feeling! Apr 26, 2014 at 18:18
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    This link is an example. The guy asking the question is a power-user and he knows better. The funny thing is that he actually accepted my solution alongside with another user. In spite of this, question was closed. And this one is a classic example where duplicate is used with ease. User was sent here but there is no valid solution in there.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 26, 2014 at 20:01

3 Answers 3


And I believe people should search first before asking a basic question. The amount of topics on AU that I copy the title from and insert into google that give me a perfect result is flabbergasting. And most times that result even leads to a topic in AU.

In the past people have taken time to provide decent, well documented answers that hold against at least several releases after the answer was posted. Those answers should be upvoted (that is a key element on how stackexchange sites work) and not asked again.

I disagree that lowering the standard on AU is the way to go. Users that did not put any effort in researching their questions before posting it should not be given any slack.

  • I suppose that if I were you I would give the same answer. But I am not you, I know very few things about Linux. Ubuntu claims to be an operating system aimed at the home users and also business and developers. Once you decide to enter the home users market things become a little more complicated because home users will expect full support for their new operating system. Charge them for getting professional support or don't but it is a fact that they won't be able, at least half of them, to solve their problems in any other way than reinstalling Ubuntu again and again once they get stuck.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 25, 2014 at 13:11
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    @floppy I don't see any gulf between "easily Googleable database of answers" and "full support". One of the cornerstones of this site is that people put in at least some effort to research a possible answer to their question before asking it again, and it should not be assumed that the average home user will be unable to do this. Besides, this site isn't a professional support site by any stretch - I know Ubuntu itself points here from time to time, but very many users [I hesitate to say "a majority", but I'm certainly among these] are not affiliated with Canonical or Ubuntu in any way.
    – Jez W
    Apr 25, 2014 at 15:38
  • Yes, using a search engine is helpful for being able to deal with your own issues and finding a solution for your problem. The thing is that many Ubuntu users, myself included, can't use English with ease and sometimes we get confused when it comes to enter the keywords for a specific problem. Fortunately, Ubuntu benefits from technical support in many languages but this isn't always useful for finding a solution. 'AskUbuntu' uses English, and English is the second language most users will try once they are not satisfied with the answers provided by a search engine in their native language.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 25, 2014 at 21:51
  • Speaking of Canonical-Ubuntu --> When you click the Ubuntu official page it gets you straight to Get Ubuntu for cloud (have heard about cloud computing but have no idea how it works), and it gets worse once you try to find some useful info about Ubuntu OS itself. Mostly big words with absolute no technical details. Finding the support page isn't easy either, and this can only mean one thing, Canonical devs are very sure of themselves and have come to believe that Ubuntu is actually a well-known brand all over the world, and that is not true statistically speaking.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 25, 2014 at 22:57

Lead by good example.

That's all I can say.

all-knowing Linux gurus

That is either a marketing phrase or actually an expression of hostility (or of low self-sesteem). Guru, genius and similar words are used to tell very simple minded people that other people are abnormally smart and should be segregated therefore. Please don't use such words.

I am not sure if you are still aware of the fact that there are out there tons of Ubuntu enthusiasts with very few knowledge about Linux and/or about how to address a question to a forum or a support website the proper way.

No problem, nobody knows everything right from the start.

Most importantly: This is not AskKarma and the distribution is not Karma Linux. You always have the chance to improve yourself if you do something wrong and nobody should be resentful towards you.

Let us not forget that Ubuntu OS is trying hard to replace Windows operating system [...]

No. That is not true (anymore) and there are many things wrong with this. Basically if you never wanted to learn more about your Microsoft or Apple operating systems or cared to get involved in troubleshooting, you're in the wrong place and you should find someone doing that for you.

With Linux and FLOSS, issues are guaranteed to arise. At best you learned how to communicate in a efficient, rational and humane way before you experience issues. I agree, some users with high reputation count still have things to learn, which brings me to: Lead by good example.

Tell users what they are doing wrong and how they could do better. A duplicate or on-hold is not an offence, but rather a hint that they have not explained their issue clear enough. You can also improve answers and questions.

  • Hello, LiveWireBT! I bet you are a huge fan of AC/DC, at least this is what your nick suggests. I like them too, a lot. And thank you for helping me to understand what FLOSS means (Free/Libre Open Source Software). I used Google just now, and find it out. About the so-called 'Linux gurus', I know they are out there, fortunately for most of us, and what I meant was that these people are trained professionals, and can put together or rebuild a linux distro from scratch. It is people like them that made Linux available for the average user and also made AskUbuntu and other web projects possible.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 25, 2014 at 22:30
  • 1. You are right. :) 2. The other reason why I don't like descriptions such as guru is, that they unnecessarily generate low self-esteem. If you take a look around, you will find that the examples you gave have a completely different background in reality. Also the notion to know and master everything is very obstructive when it comes to computers (I'm deliberately leaving out the word science). Improving a question or answer on the other side, or giving a better explanation is a very cool hack where some experts are not very good at.
    – LiveWireBT
    Apr 26, 2014 at 0:51
  • Guru is just a term or a 'marketing phrase' like you labeled it, widely used in American English with no negative connotation. But you are right about low self-esteem when it comes to ask more experienced users a technical question. In the end it is like this, AskUbuntu.com proves to be an useful and quite friendly place for asking questions and learning how to optimize your Ubuntu OS for daily use. But it is limited to Ubuntu only, and it makes you feel sometimes like you live isolated on some island instead of being part of a larger community of people with common interests.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 26, 2014 at 1:39

We do not, or at least should not, close questions because they are simple. As long as a question is:

  1. On topic for the site;
  2. Clear;
  3. Self contained, all information needed to answer is included in the question;
  4. Show research effort, the OP has tried to solve it and has not simply posted here instead of putting any effort in;

Then it will remain open. This has nothing to do with gurus or shamans or druids or anything else. There are some simple rules about what type of question can be asked here and those that do not follow them will be closed.

As for the different distros, this site is about Ubuntu. Questions that are not about Ubuntu don't belong here and should be closed. Beginner questions are very welcome, in fact the site is full of them.

That said, closing a question as a dupe is no lack of respect whatsoever. If the answer already exists on the site, why should we re-post it? That just makes the site larger and that much harder to search through. The posted wants an answer, if the dupe provides this answer, then the poster will go away happy, with their answer and the site will not get clogged up by another iteration of the same information. It's a win-win situation.

If you find this to be too restrictive, there are hundreds of other sites out there that have no quality control and you are welcome to use them. This site is part of the SE network so the same standards apply.

  • What about this question marked as duplicate, do you think duplicate applies in there? Please, pay a visit to that link where user is supposed to find a solution. Appart from being part of SE network, you are also part of Canonical Ltd, it seems. There is a direct link to AskUbuntu present on the front door for the official [Ubuntu page] (ubuntu.com). Link is labeled as ASK. Which makes AskUbuntu the right place, and the only place for asking Ubuntu related questions.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 27, 2014 at 13:34
  • @floppy we are most certainly NOT part of Canonical! I know that the links give this impression and I have already posted a question about this on meta. Nevertheless, AU is not part of Canonical in any way and it is also not the only place to ask about Ubuntu. And yes, of course the linked question is a duplicate. The answers in the marked dupe explain precisely how to install flash. Why would it not be a dupe?
    – terdon
    Apr 27, 2014 at 13:38
  • I know you're not part of Canonical, someone already explained that to me already. But the ASK link from the official Ubuntu page says otherwise. One can be easily fooled by it :)! As for the linked question I agree and disagree because the duplicate link is mostly about how to install flash 64bit version, but the user who asked the question actually needed an answer for installing Flash 32bit version. Just a wild guess, the actual question does not point to flash player 32bit, but why else would he or she accept my solution (aimed mostly to how to install flash player version 32bit)?
    – Taz D.
    Apr 27, 2014 at 13:54
  • @floppy, I agree that the links give the wrong impression. Nobody asked us before adding them and I, personally, would be very happy to see them removed. As for your other points 1) the OP did not ask for 32 bit, your answer assumed it with no reason 2) if you read the other answers, you'll see they give the same information yours does, the same procedure applies to both 32 and 64bit. Which answers your 3rd question. That's why they accepted it, because your answer (which is the same as the others, just using synaptic instead of the software center) works for both architectures.
    – terdon
    Apr 27, 2014 at 14:02
  • Oh, forgot to mention this. Great post! Too bad you can't feature that question somewhere in the Take 2 Min. Tour section.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 27, 2014 at 14:04
  • I don't know if I can close my own question myself so no more votes be needed for closing it for good. It seems it leads to nowhere anyway.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 27, 2014 at 14:11
  • @floppy why close it? Downvotes here cost you no rep and it might be useful for other since we have answered explaining the community's position.
    – terdon
    Apr 27, 2014 at 14:12
  • I already tried it but the best I can do is to cast a vote myself. Nice, 24 votes are needed to close a question, that is a long way to go!
    – Taz D.
    Apr 27, 2014 at 14:13
  • @floppy 5 votes are needed to close. But seriously, why close it?
    – terdon
    Apr 27, 2014 at 14:14
  • I was just saying it, if you think it can be helpful it is ok by me. The funny thing in all this is that I have very little idea about Linux or Ubuntu. All my answers on askubuntu.com are based on my short-term experience with using Ubuntu and of course on info one could easily get using a search engine.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 27, 2014 at 14:22
  • @floppy that's fine, everyone answers to the limits of their knowledge. Generally speaking though, if the answer is really easy to find, the question should not have been asked here. As explained clearly in our how-to-ask page, we expect users to research before posting.
    – terdon
    Apr 27, 2014 at 14:29
  • I suppose creating a FAQ page with tutorials for beginners could be a new topic for yet another question in here. Users can find a solution on the Internet easily, the hard part is to implement that solution. What is a Terminal, and why can't I open it when pressing Ctrl+Alt+T? What is Synaptic, and why is it not installed by default in Ubuntu? What are software sources/repositories and how to enable them? What is a ppa? ... All these are tiny details that can make it impossible for beginners to use the solution provided on AU or found on the Internet. One problem leads to another and so on.
    – Taz D.
    Apr 27, 2014 at 15:00
  • @floppy most if not all of those are already covered on this site. If you feel one is missing, post it as a question and then write your own answer and accept it.
    – terdon
    Apr 27, 2014 at 16:31
  • What I had in mind was for AU to create a separate section for beginners, Beginner's Corner, Do It Yourself Ubuntu, DIY Resources and Links or similar. You can gather in there excellent tutorials for beginners like this one or you can send users to AU exclusive tutorials/links. This one is also an excellent post. Too bad is not easy to find. Is it worth the effort since nobody gets paid for this to ask a question specifically on this topic?
    – Taz D.
    Apr 27, 2014 at 18:24
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    @floppy let's not have this discussion in the comments. If you think that would be useful, post a meta question suggesting it. Personally, I think that would be a horrible idea. This is a Q&A site, not a tutorials or howtos site. We're here to solve specific problems with specific solutions. We want the scope to be limited and we don't want to be the single resource for everything Ubuntu. Only for questions and answers. The kind of thing you are talking about is better suited for (and probably exists already) ubuntuforums.org.
    – terdon
    Apr 27, 2014 at 20:54

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