I was surprised by the closure of this post on stackoverflow as being off topic.

The query is on how to use a programing language, Lua, to achieve something with Nginx and the answer was provided on this basis.

The fact that other non Lua based approaches came up, they are not ideal in any case, does not make it off topic I would have thought.

  • 1
    I'd ask that you not post the title as an "arbitrary closure"; that's an assumption of the intent on your part, one which is unfounded. Moderator flags are not handled on a whim; we do our best to make sure that the outcome is always what's best for the community and the user(s) involved. – casperOne Dec 22 '11 at 19:06
  • @TheGhostofChristmasPast: CASPERONE!!! – user1228 Dec 22 '11 at 19:35
  • 1
    Just seeing this. Well, "arbitrary" does not assume intent. It is closer to "at random" perhaps (not saying that is what it was - you have explained your thought process satisfactorily). The vast majority of "Nginx" tagged questions on SO have little to do with programming/scripting yet they are there while this one, perhaps better suited to SF, but which at least had some element of scripting, was not even migrated but shut down. That is what seemed arbitrary when compared to the status quo. As said, nothing about intent ... I know people are doing their best. Just take it at face value. – Dayo Dec 22 '11 at 19:51

Meh, I re-opened.

The original flag was "Belongs on Server Fault". Maybe it'd work there, but it was asked on SO, and involves Lua scripting, so it doesn't seem off-topic.

And you answered with code, so that helps.


I closed the post. The flag being addressed at the time was that it was "off topic, it belongs on Server Fault".

As Michael Petrotta said, nginx is a server application/admin tool/etc.

With that in mind, these questions are tricky, as there's no clearly defined point for when it becomes about administering/configuring the server/application through script (off topic), or programming against the server through the same scripting interface (on topic).

The fact that it's Lua doesn't make it any easier.

The former is how I viewed the question, hence the reason for the off topic closing.

I hope that this has not hindered you or given you a bad experience with the site, that is definitely not the intention, nor was it viewed as horribly inappropriate for StackOverflow, it simply was a judgement call, one that I apologize for.

As for why it wasn't migrated, again, as Michael Petrotta said, you don't want to migrate crap, so these questions don't get migrated instantly just because they are considered OT.

  • I understand the quandry and I think most questions involving Nginx on SO, I answer a fair few, don't really belong there. Perhaps every question tagged "Nginx", "Apache" etc, should be migrated automatically ... but then I just finished reading a post here with the SF folks moaning about stuff migrated to them. Having said that, I still think this should probably be the case. I queried this because it actually seemed to fit better than most of the others to me. – Dayo Dec 22 '11 at 19:06
  • Thank you for understanding the quandary, again, it was nothing personal about the question, you, or the technology, simply a tricky situation. To the point about migrating every question tagged Nginx or Apache to SF, it's safe to say that would almost never happen, under the "don't migrate crap rule"; while some good, deserving content would definitely be moved over, it would put an enormous amount of work on the SF mods to sift through all of it and indicate what was and was not appropriate for SF. Again, thanks for understanding. – casperOne Dec 22 '11 at 19:10
  • Thanks for explaining. I know people are just putting forward their best efforts. On my suggestion, I'll like to add that from my short time here, I find that 99% of the questions on Nginx on SO are not a good fit and that an auto process will have the SF guys dealing with a fraction of 1% of crud. An alternative that could be considered is to ban those tags. I.E., no webserver tags allowed. In this way, people will either have to put queries under other tags where they would stand out like a sore thumb if not appropriate, or move them over them selves. Anyway, just a thought. Thanks again. – Dayo Dec 22 '11 at 19:26

Hmm. This one's tough. The question as posed is pretty much off-topic for SO - nginx is a network topology and administration tool, and questions on nginx are better suited for Server Fault. The OP's question mentions Lua, but really only tangentially, kolbyjack's answer doesn't talk about it at all. Yours does, though, at length.

This seems similar to sysadmin questions that could be solved with batch or PowerShell. If one or two lines of script would do the job, Server Fault. If it'd take a page or two, Stack Overflow, potentially.

I'd have left it on SO myself, but I'd have supported moving it to SF. I wouldn't have closed it outright. But then, maybe the question is so bad (I can't really tell, but a comment on the question implies it) that the moderator didn't want to migrate crap.

  • Actually, Lua scripting is the ideal way to address the OP's question. The alternative approaches have potential issues and users are explicitly advised to use a scripting approach for this sort of issue in the Nginx docs. It advises using either the embedded Perl module or third party modules such as the one for Lua. The OP seemed to have an inkling that something like Lua should be used but obviously didn't know the correct syntax etc. To shut it down seems really off base to me. – Dayo Dec 22 '11 at 18:35

You must log in to answer this question.

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