I noticed that a question about shell scripting was closed as "off-topic", but I don't understand the reason for this decision. Is it true that certain questions about shell scripting (such as this one) are considered "off-topic"? To me, it seems counter-intuitive for this question to be identified as "off-topic". Can this specific closing reason be justified, or should the question be reopened?

As far as I know, questions about shell scripting or Unix commands are considered on-topic on Stack Overflow. Is there some exception to this rule that I'm unaware of?

  • 3
    this looks like a question about the linux environment rather than about shell scripting Jul 12, 2013 at 17:33
  • @JanDvorak In that case, would the question be more relevant on Superuser than Stack Overflow? Jul 12, 2013 at 17:34
  • 1
    I would say, Unix & Linux Jul 12, 2013 at 17:34
  • It's too old to migrate.
    – user102937
    Jul 12, 2013 at 17:36
  • @RobertHarvey "... were it a new question", I add Jul 12, 2013 at 17:37
  • 1
    Looks pretty valid to me. Jul 12, 2013 at 23:02
  • @JoeTatavaran Unfortunately, it appears that the question has already been deleted. :( Jul 14, 2013 at 1:43

1 Answer 1


It's not a programming question. Well, it could easily be one, all they have to do is talk about including it in a shell script and give a snippet.

But in it's current form it's really an end user question. Yes, end user -- most Linux users don't consider sudo and whatnot to be programming.

Maybe if it was asked now it could have been migrated to Unix & Linux (or maybe Super User), but it's 2 years old, can't be migrated.

  • 2
    The "anti-migration rule" seems to be working to our disadvantage here. I wish it were somehow possible to migrate this question to the Superuser or Unix Stack Exchange site, since the question and its answers are still useful and not obsolete. Jul 12, 2013 at 18:06
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    @AndersonGreen Meh. It's old, it's answered, why does it matter? Jul 12, 2013 at 18:07
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    Because I'm afraid that the question will be deleted in the future(resulting in a loss of knowledge) instead of being migrated to the correct site. Is there any chance that the question's answer will survive instead of being deleted? Jul 12, 2013 at 18:10
  • 2
    @AndersonGreen Upvoted. Has answer. Answer upvoted. Clocks out on all three counts. Nope, no deletion Jul 12, 2013 at 18:12
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    @Manishearth grossly offtopic -> broken window -> possibility of deletion nontrivial.
    – Rosinante
    Jul 12, 2013 at 19:37
  • @Rosinante Not grossly off topic, though. Jul 12, 2013 at 19:39
  • @Rosinante Why do you think that particular question is "grossly offtopic"? Jul 12, 2013 at 23:41
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    It is fundamentally a question about how the sudo facility works. Any programming or scripting issues are incidental.
    – Rosinante
    Jul 13, 2013 at 1:35
  • @Rosinante So, if someone pasted two bash snippet and asked y u no work (with a clear display of effort, yada yada), that's still off topic? That makes almost all bash questions off topic. Most questions on SO on other languages are like this. Jul 13, 2013 at 9:53
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    @AndersonGreen While I disagree with the anti-migration rule, this isn't a good example: there are plenty of similar questions with good answers on Super User and Unix & Linux already, there would be no point in migrating this one. Its deletion is no loss. Jul 13, 2013 at 11:04
  • personally, I think there's a clear line between the scripting language (iteration, conditionals, variables) and the operating system commands that people invoke with it.
    – Rosinante
    Jul 13, 2013 at 15:28

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