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This question may be best way to describe the issue brought up in this question - A new stackexchange for Linux Desktop Environments is needed : Askubuntu is too specific, Unix and Linux is too broad .

That question is not answered by Is there any trace of my closed proposal?. I already went down the path in this other question, and the proposal was still closed because in the admin's opinion, U&L SE already dealt with that. I don't know how long after that the proposal was deleted, but if others have made that proposal before or since, there is no way of knowing that, which makes resolving the issue more difficult. Additionally, when a proposal is deleted, all relevant questions about it on the Area 51 Discussions site are also automatically deleted.

I am going to make an argument of why I think it is being turned down due to the administrator not knowing about the domain much, and why placing the kind of questions that would belong on my proposed site on Unix and Linux, Super User, or Server Fault is not appropriate.

  1. Linux is not UNIX, it is a Unix derivative

Linux is a UNIX derivative, and most end users' questions relating to getting their desktops running properly are Linux questions. UNIX hardly features here. Consider the chart below, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNIX. Linux is one out of 13 operating systems belonging to the UNIX family. When one uses the word unix those older and little used Unices is what most people have in mind. unix generally means HP/UX, AIX, ATT, Solaris, SGI and a few other obsolete and hardy used Unices.

Chart of UNIX History - Wikipedia

The users of those systems are a minority working in specialized areas and they will also have specialist administrators to help with their problems. You won't see one of them coming here to ask about getting Wine or Steam to work on their systems.

Consider this table about Unix adoption with supercomputers from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_adoption

| OS         | Number | Share |    
|------------|--------|-------|    
| Linux      |    497 | 99.4% |    
| Other Unix |      3 |  0.6% |

I don't know that relevant numbers are with desktops, but I suspect they will be even less flattering with the proper Unices.

If most questions here are related to getting things to work on Linux, then the name of the site should be Linux and Unix Stack Exchange (with Linux mentioned first) and the domain name linux.stackexchange.com. A number of potential uses probably see UNIX in the domain mentioned first, and probably ignore it believing it is more UNIX focused.

  1. You can't mix end users' problems with administrators problems

Even after this issue is sorted out, there is still separation between low level utilities and desktop related issues, something which I brought out in the comparison between Windows server administrators and Windows end users.

My issue is that the admins of Area 51 don't seem to grasp that you just can't lump end users who just want to get their stuff running and hopefully learn something extra with administrators who have even more complex issues to deal with and need more specialized knowledge.

Linux is an area where end users are forced to be administrators, but they only go so far and can't be lumped with proper server administrators, who are also sent to Server Fault and in some cases Super User as well. How does one judge if a Linux/UNIX administration question is better answered on Server Fault rather than Unix & Linux? If they are better handled on Server Fault. then why U&L, and why should end users go to U&L rather than Super User if Ask Ubuntu has no interest in non-Ubuntu issues?

This is why the repeated response (I don't know how many times) that Unix and Linux SE covers the need for every thing Unix and Linux seems ill-thought out or understood.

Of course if you feel that the Unix/Linux debate belongs in U & L Meta or Area51 that is fine, but the main question here is what should I do if I believe an Area 51 proposal was closed incorrectly or prematurely due to the administrator not knowing much about the domain in question?

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    I've found that when trying to get a proposal accepted on meta (and in life), it's better to push the positives of your message rather than the negatives. So rather than insult and disparage the moderators (in bold no less), if this were my problem, I'd remove all mention of that, and instead bold text the most important advantages of my proposal. Remember the overall goal of your proposal -- to convince others of its veracity, not to rage against the moderators. Your mileage may vary of course. – Hovercraft Full Of Eels Oct 15 '18 at 2:09
  • I agree with Hovercraft. Generally, questions that make a negative tone about site admins tend to get negatively received by the community. I've edited the tone of your question. – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog Oct 15 '18 at 2:19
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    It's also worth noting that "questions about [this subject] would be on-topic for this site, but the audience there isn't experienced with said subject and my questions about it get no answers" usually tends to be considered insufficient to allow another proposal to allow a proposal for that subject. – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog Oct 15 '18 at 2:22
  • If you read my original post which was edited I clearly said that I don't know if it was turned down due to the admin's limited knowledge of the domain, and I apologized that for that assumption, but it is my belief that it the case here. My question also is not about resolving the issue with U & L's appropriateness for my needs in particular. The U & L issue is there only there for illustration. That entire section can be taken out without the changing the intent of the question. It is only there because as on IT based company there should be people with SE who can understand it. – vfclists Oct 15 '18 at 8:03
  • I also want to add that I am not questioning Richard's competence here. If he is following established procedures, precedents and policy that have been set by SEs managemen that is fine, regardless of his degree of familiarity with the Linux/Unix domain, or any other relevant domain. The question is what does an individual or group of individuals do when they consider that to be the problem they face with their proposal, and how do they escalate it to a higher management, so to speak? What are SE company's procedures in this case, or that of the community for that matter? – vfclists Oct 15 '18 at 10:31
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The most important thing you can do is realize that your arguments don't exactly hold much water. At least, not in the SE model.

SE sites are not forums; we don't expect every user to be involved in every or even most (or more than 1%) of "threads". People answer what they like, according to their interests and knowledge domain.

As such, SE sites can be larger than forums in terms of topicality. SO is a great example. Functional and imperative programming questions live on the same site. Yet experts in one will often be baffled by terminology in another. That's OK. We have very different kinds of programming languages, but they are all (more or less) served by SO.

If you split an SE site, then you make it more difficult to have cross-talk. Many programmers are good with multiple languages, and thus can provide expertise in several such domains. Allowing them to do so from a single site is a good and useful thing. Forcing them to jump from site to site makes it harder for them to provide their expertise.

I would say the same goes here. Just because you know command line Linux stuff does not preclude you from knowing desktop Linux stuff. Separating them out spreads that expertise out.

Also, we allow different sites to have some overlap. Game Development.SE allows game programming questions, even though they would technically be on-topic for SO. That's fine. So how do you tell whether a question goes to Server Fault or U&L? You use your best judgment; odds are good you'll get an answer either way.

Lastly, your argument about putting Linux first sounds like pedantic arguments about GNU/Linux and whatnot. And that sort of thing is not going to convince anybody.

In conclusion, your argument is not particularly convincing to those who have long experience with the SE model.


If you really believe that some Linux Desktop site needs to exist, then the best argument you could make for that is to prove that there is a need. Not with specious arguments about how you think sites should be arranged and how communities work. But with undeniable facts.

SE sites are Q&A sites. And Q&A sites exist to answer questions. So the most important thing you should look at is this: does U&L actually answer Linux desktop questions? If you can ask Linux desktop questions on U&L and get functional answers, then the site is working just fine. If you can't, then the site isn't working for those questions and something might need to be done about it.

Tag statistics about the number of questions asks isn't really relevant to that. What you need is to show that Linux desktop questions go unanswered with greater frequency than other U&L questions. If they have about the same rate of answers vs. other questions, then there is no evidence that the site is not working for Linux desktop questions.

  • The point you miss is that the proposal's are immediately turned down without any discussion on the ground that U & L already exists and serves that need. But the point is Does U&L serve that need properly or adequately?. SE is a company created by computer users for computer users. So from the perspective of computer Power Users , does U&L server the need of non-Ubuntu Linux (desktop) users to the same extent as Ask Ubuntu servers Ubuntu users? For me the idea that I have to prove what must be self-evident to Power Users who work at SE is ridiculous. – vfclists Oct 16 '18 at 10:31
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    @vfclists: "For me the idea that I have to prove what must be self-evident to Power Users who work at SE is ridiculous." And what if it's not "self-evident"? You don't even consider the possibility that you are wrong about U&L. What good would a discussion be when it's had with someone who doesn't think there needs to be a discussion, who thinks that they are right, that it's "self-evident" that they are right, and anyone who thinks that they are wrong isn't enough of a "power user" to be able to speak intelligently on the subject? – Nicol Bolas Oct 16 '18 at 13:29
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    @vfclists: Providing factual evidence is a good way to cut through what people think is "self-evident" and get to the truth of the matter. – Nicol Bolas Oct 16 '18 at 13:30
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I'm not sure if you have any more options other than convincing him he made the wrong decision. Ultimately, he is the highest (and only) authority when it comes to closing Area 51 proposals.

Writing down evidence, like you did, is a first step; I can imagine that when your point of view would have a lot of support here (maybe even from other Stack Overflow employees), he could reconsider his decision.

Sometimes, it works better if you can deliver your point of view verbally, so you could try to email him (his email address is on his profile page) and see if he's in for a phone call or video chat.

  • I understand the point, but there should be a way of moving forward, and SE should have a way of dealing with these issues. The problem here is if similar proposals are closed there is no way of seeing that it is point which has come up time and time again. If you call a support line and you are disatisfied, you have the option of asking it to be escalated. But if right from day one your case is dealt with by the manager of 3rd line support and is not satisfactorily dealt it you have to take to company management itself or discuss it in public forum where management can see the issue properly. – vfclists Oct 15 '18 at 7:51
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    Is there a company internal policy that prevents other staff members from reopening proposals themselves? Is it frowned upon to discuss a proposal with another employee with more domain knowledge, and if they agree that it shouldn't be closed, they themselves can reopen it? – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog Oct 16 '18 at 4:10

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