Just saw this question and Daniel's comment about voting for closing.

That seemed like an on-topic question to me, since we can't be sure it's really a VLC bug without a little more information. And even if it might be, maybe there are workarounds or fixes.

So, really, what exactly is on-topic here? Only software developed by elementary? Only software included in elementary OS? Say I need help with partitioning in gparted, or rsync (IIRC both are not included in the stock install), is it on-topic?

I lately found out I couldn't play https URLs with mpv because Ubuntu's (and so elementary OS's) ffmpeg is compiled without SSL support. If I hadn't found that out myself, could I have asked here or would I run the risk of having the question closed because it's a "mpv bug"?

As a user, I'm really confused about what I can and can't ask about here.

  • If that question should be closed some day, then only because there is too little information to diagnose the problem... imo – quassy Jul 29 '15 at 20:34

It isn't a user's job to know whether the problem they're facing is specific to elementary OS, or whether the software they're using is developed or adapted by elementary.

If I have a problem with Firefox on Debian, I can ask on Unix & Linux. Firefox also exists on Windows, so my question would also be on-topic on Super User, but why should I care? I'm using Unix so I ask on a site about Unix.

If I have a problem with Firefox on Ubuntu, I can ask on Ask Ubuntu. My question would also be on-topic on SU and U&L, but why should I care? I'm using Ubuntu so I ask on a site about Ubuntu.

Likewise, if I have a problem with Firefox on elementary OS, it's perfectly normal for me to ask on Elementary OS Stack Exchange. Maybe Firefox isn't elementary's browser of choice, but why should I care? I'm using elementary OS so I ask on a site about elementary OS.


This should probably be a discussion on Updating the "What Questions are off-topic" Help Page, but I'll answer anyway:

While we can't be sure it's a VLC bug, there's nothing to indicate it is anything to do with elementary specifically at this point.

Software included with elementary OS (including GParted, it's on the installer disk) is definitely on-topic (so long as it's a supported release). Third party software made specifically for elementary or software that experiences a problem only on elementary would also be on topic.

I think that this specific question should likely be closed because it is a bug report, not a question. Workarounds should probably be posted, but that's a separate question in and of itself. For now, we will leave the discussion open.

As for your question, it would likely be off topic, not because it doesn't effect elementary, but because it's a feature request or bug report for another developer.

Re: Upstream Problems

I dunno if I agree with this tbh. Why should a user of this site have to know our underlying architecture to have their problem solved? If it's not a bug and it happened on elementary OS, it should be on-topic imo.

– Daniel Foré Jul 23 at 15:58

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    Disagree. Which questions are on-topic should be defined by the target audience which are (generally non-technical) users running elementary, not by the people doing the support. Of course we don't aim to fix bugs in 3rd party software, but as you said, workarounds should be posted, which is why I am strongly against closing any "semi bug reports" if there is even the slightest chance there is a workaround. – quassy Jul 29 '15 at 20:31
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    But how would I, as a user, know if a specific problem or question I have happens only on elementary? And I'm not sure my mpv example is a bug report/feature request. My question could have been "how can I play video from https URLs?" or "how can I download a local copy of a youtube video?", where it's not about a bug, it's about how to accomplish something the bug is preventing me from doing. Would those questions be on-topic? – vivien Jul 30 '15 at 1:50
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    As I said, workarounds are totally on topic, even when we're covering holes in other peoples software. The "how do I fix this" questions, this being a third party bug, are not. – Lewis Goddard Jul 30 '15 at 12:21

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