I wrote this question. It was down voted. I'm not upset and am not here to argue. My question here is what can I learn from this, for this or future questions? Is there something inherently wrong with the question that I should have thought about? How can I make this question better?

  • 1
    Relevant: Should posts be self-contained? Apr 14, 2020 at 9:15
  • I've already told you why both pivot_root and chroot are used in the example from the manpage. But I'm probably talking out of my ass, and there's something subtle and deep about that obscure system call, since so many people (or so many incarnations of the same) care so deeply about it. It has a metaphysical quality that move_mount(2) or open_tree(2) do not posess. Something that can only be approached by a humbling and penitential act, like watching a youtube video of some dude blabbering for an hour.
    – user313992
    Apr 18, 2020 at 11:08

2 Answers 2


This is, of course, my personal opinion. I didn't vote on any of your questions.

The main issue I see is that you seem to be asking why a person is using two specific commands in a 50+ minutes YouTube video. This is likely not to be well received:

  • As it has been pointed out, questions should be self-contained.
  • That video is lengthy; it would take a non-negligible amount of time to locate the relevant part and properly understand it: what exactly is that person trying to illustrate? How do pivot_root and chroot fit into that? And answers would then likely refer to things that are not stated in your question.

Unfortunately, while the revised question shows your effort to make it more self-contained, you don't seem to be asking about specific points from the quoted text you added. Your main question still seems to be in (emphasis mine):

... I still do not understand why you would pick one over the other in those situations.

Again pointing to the video.

How you can improve your question:

  • Show that you are not asking others to digest video material for you: providing a link to it is fine, but you should reduce its content to a complete and concise example. If the snippet from pivot_root(8) is a suitable example to you, then simply state what you find unclear in it.
  • The difference between pivot_root and chroot isn't a well defined concept by itself. They are distinct tools, how different they can be said to be depends on the context in which they are evaluated. Thus,

    Please explain the differences, an example could be great.

    should probably be limited to a specific context: is it meant to be that of Docker containers? (If so, refer to my previous point). The startup process of some Linux distribution? Something else?

  • Especially in relation to your revised question: keep it simple. Include every definition (with quotes1) needed to make sure your readers will be aligned with you, but no more than that. Make it clear how the external material integrates with the main point you are asking about.

1 Since you mentioned a second question of yours in a comment to another answer: "I read that ..." sounds vague. You should quote some source, with a strong preference for a primary one.


If the one down voting your question doesn't leave a comment why (s)he did that, then, as there is nothing to be learned out of it, IMHO all you can do is ignore it.

  • That might be so, but the last two questions I posted are both in the negatives, so I assume there's something I'm doing wrong.
    – Uberhumus
    Apr 17, 2020 at 8:06
  • 1
    @Uberhumus Questions that asks about explaining concepts are harder to write in a way that attracts the wanted type of attention, while question that asks about solving issues are easier to formulate.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Apr 22, 2020 at 6:53

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