If both this SE and the Ubuntu SE make it out of beta, it might be a good idea to have some guidelines for when questions should be directed to the Ubuntu SE.

Personally, I can't think of an "Ubuntu" question that wouldn't also be a "Unix and Linux" question, but at the same time (out of selfishness) I enjoy reading and answering questions that are distribution agnostic and think that this site would lose a lot of value (at least for me) if a good portion of the questions on the front page could all be answered with a sudo apt-get install $foo type answer. So far I haven't seen too many ubuntu-specific questions land here, but I think it is a good idea to talk about what the relationship between the two sites should be.

2 Answers 2


I'm not planning on thinking about a relationship... I don't really care what they are doing, them choosing not to be a member of the Linux/Unix community was their choice. All Ubuntu questions are welcome here, there will be no migration path either way because they are a subset of the topic here, but questions that are asked there although they may be truly general will likely not be migrated here.

Here's my full thoughts on the vote. Ultimately I think it is a lose lose situation, but I'm not going to stop helping people who come here.

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    We are members of the Linux/Unix community. We also participate here. However, this is a matter of communities, not the unwillingness to work together. To keep two sites is a matter of addition not division. Hopefully, the opponent of two sites will understand this one day
    – txwikinger
    Commented Sep 5, 2010 at 21:59
  • Here in 2017 your link doesn't work. The domain still seems valid, but I get a 404 on the page, and it offers to take a submission of an issue, but that form looks like a hassle. Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 22:34

I'm in no way surprised by the results of the poll; I wasn't sure which way we would vote (although voting to merge seemed likely), but I was quite certain they would vote not to merge, and I was actually shocked they had as many Yes votes as they did.

In my experience, if you ask Gentoo/Arch/Fedora/etc. users what OS they use they'll say "Linux", and if you ask Ubuntu users they'll say "Ubuntu". Unfortunately, the same is true when it comes to searching for problems. If I'm trying to figure out how to do foo, I'll google "linux foo" -- Ubuntu users will google "ubuntu foo", even if foo is completely distro agnostic. The reason (and I'm not trying to insult Ubuntu users, I suspect they would say the same thing) is Ubuntu users tend to be new to Linux and simply don't know which parts are Ubuntu-specific and which aren't. This means they end up on the Ubuntu SE and ask their question there, and so far (not unexpectedly, since we're both in beta) it looks like they don't direct distro-agnostic questions to us -- the newest question on the Ubuntu side is about Rhythmbox's python interface; the one before that is about LVM, and before that is a generic partitioning question.

Rather unfortunately, the impression I got from the initial poll announcement comments was that the Ubuntu side was worried our side was too advanced and would be throwing command-line solutions at people when they would prefer a GUI solution. So far that doesn't seem to have been the case, and (as xenoterracide mentioned on that thread) we even dropped "advanced" from our description, but it's definitely a valid concern. More unfortunately, there wasn't much of an opportunity to actually discuss the merge and address concerns; I imagine most people found out about the poll from the notification on the sites, and voted without seeing any of the arguments at all.

I started out thinking the communities should stay separate but changed my mind pretty fast after reading the arguments; it's like saying C# and C++ should be separate and SO is foolish for merging them together. C# is the language most asked about on SO, and I know nothing about it, but the "Ignored Tags" feature is sufficient to let me completely ignore those questions. I think similarly tagging Ubuntu questions [ubuntu] here would work well.

I didn't realize until I made the link just now, but we actually have an [ubuntu] tag with 14 questions on it. Normally we've been told migration options won't be available until after a beta is finished, but if we're going to stay separate communities I think it would be highly useful for us to each have a migration option to the other's site now. There's no point in keeping the communities separate if we're not going to move questions that belong on each other's sites; we might as well just merge then. I'll talk to the SE team and see what they think

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    I don't think we should bother migrating people with the ubuntu tag. I've tagged questions with that once I realize it's a ubuntu system. Those people came here for help, and not to ubuntu SE. I don't think we should essentially turn them away just because the rest of the ubuntu community thinks they belong elsewhere. Commented Sep 4, 2010 at 23:36
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    @xeno Well, at the same time I want to encourage them (the Ubuntu SE) to send non-Ubuntu questions our way, and I'm not sure how well that'll work if we're hoarding questions that belong on their site Commented Sep 5, 2010 at 2:07
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    On the other side, it's not like a ubuntu question doesn't belong here. And implicitly by moving the question on them, you're telling the person who asked the question that "we don't want it". So I'd vote against moving questions for political reasons, and reserve that for when someone actually asks a question in the wrong place.
    – user455
    Commented Sep 20, 2010 at 5:13

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