I am new to this site and posted a question about RAID 10 configuration in CentOS Linux on the Unix & Linux portion of the site.

Software RAID 10 Array Space Loss

@psusi, @Anthon, @Archemar, @slm put the question on hold as off-topic. I had to research what this meant and after reading through the help topics referenced in the hold notice, I'm really confused as to why that question is off topic for a Unix & Linux site.

Hopefully I'm putting this question in the right place...


The terminology in that close reason can be confusing since it's covering a few different scenarios:

off-topic → Questions describing a problem that can't be reproduced and seemingly went away on its own (or went away when a typo was fixed) are off-topic as they are unlikely to help future readers.

The question as it was previously phrased was off-topic, in the sense that it was not reproducible for a variety of reasons.

  1. Users here do not have access to your hosting provider's environment
  2. The question lacked enough details to be answerable

So myself and others selected this close reason since it was the one that matched closely with the situation as it stood at that time. You've since provided more details per feedback from @frostschutz, which has improved things.

One of the primary functions of closing a question is to block it from eliciting many partial answers which are attempting to answer a question which hasn't been asked with enough specificity.

If you read through what makes a good question these 2 bullets are pretty crucial:

Be specific

If you ask a vague question, you’ll get a vague answer. But if you give us details and context, we can provide a useful answer.

Make it relevant to others

We like to help as many people at a time as we can. Make it clear how your question is relevant to more people than just you, and more of us will be interested in your question and willing to look into it.

NOTE: I've personally never cared for the term "close" on questions since it has a negative connotation. Comments and closing are however, the 2 primary methods users have with interacting with the questions posted on the site.

Hopefully this makes a bit more sense to you and welcome to U&L. Hopefully you'll not take this as a negative experience. Everyone here is generally eager to help and there can be a bit of a learning curve if you're new to the StackExchange sites.

We appreciate you taking the time to read through the help (this is one of the biggest frustrations to older users of the site 8-)). Hopefully you've gained insight into why you were having your particular problem, and how the site as a whole, functions.

  • Thanks for the explanation. I can see the plusses and minuses for the approach. However... I didn't receive any sort of notification that it had happened. If I hadn't noticed it when I was adding some data, I would have never known that it had happened unless I came back to bump it. Is there a setting that I need to configure to get notifications when this happens in the future?
    – BentDreams
    Jun 9 '15 at 3:55
  • @BentDreams - I'm not sure about a notification of the state change for your Q in terms of a bump. There was a comment left by Anthon which I was expecting you to address. Otherwise we typically leave comments directed to the OP if a Q is in this particular type of state (not always but often times we do this). When asking a Q it's typically expected that the OP come back to tend to their Q's to make sure that there aren't any issues that need addressing. Asking Q's is a interactive activity on the SE sites 8-).
    – slm Mod
    Jun 9 '15 at 4:01
  • If you look through the SE meta site (meta.stackexchange.com) a Q was posted about the bumping of the OP: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/93842/…. It looks to be an outstanding issue that is currently being pursued. The meta sites (like this one) are meant to help ferret out issues w/in a given site, or in meta.se, to improve on the software used across all the SE sites and overall policies & procedures. This is probably more than you're looking for, esp. since being new, but thought you might find it interesting.
    – slm Mod
    Jun 9 '15 at 4:06
  • @BentDreams - ^^^ BTW our highest rep'd user on this site has posted a bounty on that Q that I linked to as well. It's definitely a issue to new users (not getting notified). It's an old Q but perhaps more attention on it would help get some movement as to getting it implemented. One of the A'ers there links to userscript extensions you can install on Chrome/Firefox that will facilitate you getting notified if your Q is closed. Doesn't really help, except for the ppl that have a lot of initiative to install it, but it's better than nothing.
    – slm Mod
    Jun 9 '15 at 4:15

I don't see why that's off topic either. I'm sure one of the close voters will come by and explain their reasoning1 but the question as it is now seems perfectly on topic. I am therefore reopening it.

That said, I would also like to welcome you to the site and thank you for taking the time to 1) read the rules and 2) post on meta. I wish more new users would do so!

1All of those users know way more than I do about RAID so I might be missing something.


You cannot know this, but it's a side effect of this site being part of the larger Stack Exchange network. These sites all have a few common close reasons (e.g. the question is so broad the answers would fill a book). One of the close reasons is "off topic". What is "off topic" is defined per-site.

Most sites on the network found out that there are a few types of questions which frequently crop up, but are not good for the site, because they cannot produce satisfactory answers, or because they lead to flame wars. So each site got custom close reasons too. The questions could mostly be defined by their topic. For example, Cooking.stackexchange.com has as a custom close reason "question about health and nutrition". So this is where the custom close reasons are sorted, under "off topic".

It so happens that Unix and Linux has a custom close reason of "can't be reproduced", which is not a topic-bound category. But because all sites in the network run on instances of the same software, the custom close reason appears under the "off topic" part.

Also, your question here is in the right place on Meta. I also see that your original question got improved, reopened and answered - thank you for participating in this process, it is what we'd like to happen to most of our closed questions (except for the handful which is beyond salvaging).


As to my specific reason to vote to close this was that you

  • asked why there wasn't more space on the disc
  • wrote that you have "a RAID 10 software array" (i.e. not multiple)
  • All of the 4 disk are completely used ...
  • You get an answer pointing out that your disc are partitioned and not used as one whole, so your calculations started from the wrong premisses.

To me this is as if you we writing:

I have two number 8 boxes of 12 eggs. I counted them and I got 96, but 8 * 11 is 88, (I checked on a calculator).

I.e. I saw this as a misreading on your part and unlikely to help future readers. Hence the specific close action I chose.

  • Interesting... unfortunately that was the entire point of the question. I was trying to get confirmation that the array was configured improperly so that I could ensure that my understanding of the premise was accurate and give me the confidence to be forceful about doing it again. Ultimately my toolbox got a bit bigger as I start working with Linux again after several years away from sys admin work, but unfortunately their competence got worse as they ended up delivering the system the third time with the entire array configured RAID 1.
    – BentDreams
    Jun 12 '15 at 4:51
  • @BentDreams I reread your post (but skipped the disc detail numbers. Maybe I am (again) not reading correctly, but what seems to be missing from any of the incarnations of your post was: "How do I get more disc space of my array available?". For me that is now, with your comment here, clear, but originally it was way too implicit and it still is (implicit in posting the two optons, until then a reader of your post has no clue that you actually want to repartition)
    – Anthon
    Jun 12 '15 at 5:15

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