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Since this site does not provide a private means of contacting moderators, I'll leave this here:

I had a question deleted before I even had a chance to reword or rephrase it. This makes it seem like the moderator team doesn't care in the least what I might have to say in support of the question being on-topic or fit for the StackExchange format.

If the moderation team is going to so quickly censor a user's posts without so much as allowing them a chance to defend it, I daresay they should not have moderation powers at all.

And now, since I already have a question deleted and this one is probably also not fit for the site by your judgement, I expect I'll probably be banned. Please explain to me how this is just.


The deleted question: 10k link, link for the rest.

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    I just have one thing to say. You're presenting your thoughts/complaints/concerns in a respectful manner. Keep doing that and you won't be banned. StackExchange sites aren't the regular forums. The moderators are very sane and understanding. – Adi Dec 6 '13 at 20:54
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    @TildalWave It was a shopping question, asking for recommendations on a specific class of hardware with a specific set of features with a specific dollar amount for a budget. – Xander Dec 6 '13 at 21:01
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    @Adnan Unfortunately, the question you see now is not the original. The original was actually quite inflammatory. I just felt it would be better for him (and the community) if the question was made more constructive. The edit history is here. – Iszi Dec 6 '13 at 21:01
  • Here is the question in question, for 10k users. – Iszi Dec 6 '13 at 21:02
  • @Iszi Impressive edit. Good job. – Adi Dec 6 '13 at 21:06
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    Quite inflammatory? Are we adults here? When you get notice that your question is on hold and you should edit it. You spend 10 minutes editing it. You hit submit and it's deleted. Are you sure my response was inflammatory? Oh by the way. I'm standing at an intersection, "Is it safe for me to cross?" - Come on. It must be really good to be the king. – Rex Winn Dec 7 '13 at 19:37
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    @RexWinn The tone in which you originally expressed your concerns was entirely just as childish as the last half of your above comment. As such, I expected many responses would have been addressing an attitude problem than any issues actually relevant to your deleted question. In fact, it stood a fair chance of being closed and/or deleted itself, because your real and legitimate concerns were hard to read behind all the general whining and personal attacks against the moderator. – Iszi Dec 7 '13 at 21:30
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    Instead of leaving you to have another bad experience, with another closed/deleted question and/or some rather stern responses and reactions from the community and/or moderators, I thought it was best to edit your rant into something much more civil and constructive. The fundamental issues raised by your question were not changed - just its verbiage and overall tone. This is one of the ways this community acts in order to prevent a question from being closed or deleted, if it's at all salvageable. – Iszi Dec 7 '13 at 21:36
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    I understand why the question was closed. But I don't understand why it was deleted that quickly. With non-spam questions deletion should usually only happen a few days after being closed. – CodesInChaos Dec 10 '13 at 12:33
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    Go to the Info Sec home page and try to find a link to the about page. I had to bookmark it from TidalWaves link. Since I cannot ask anymore questions I thought I might see the link if I started to ask a question but now I can't. Nice touche!. – Rex Winn Dec 11 '13 at 17:51
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The question you posted, which was deleted, had several significant issues which did not make it fit for the StackExchange format. It therefore was deleted, with commentary from @RoryAlsop (plus a system-generated note) explaining why, because there was no foreseeable way to edit it into something which would match our format.

That your question appeared to be a product recommendation query is probably not the only reason it was closed or deleted, but unfortunately the system only displays the majority reason when a question is closed.


Here are some issues that I see:

Off-Topic: Product Recommendation

The intent of this site is to host questions and answers which are generally useful to the Internet population at large, and which will remain so for a reasonable length of time. Asking for a specific product recommendation to fit your particular needs will most likely result in answers that are only really beneficial to you. Further, as technology does quickly progress - especially in the realm of computers, and even more so in the realm of security - answers to such questions quickly become out-dated.

Primarily Opinion-Based

Aside from the often subjective nature of product recommendations in general, you also asked for opinions on how certain systems measure up against one another. This is likely to result in a lot of discussion and debate amongst users, which is not what this site is intended for.

Too Broad

You question really was kind-of all over the place. At any given point in the post, you're asking one or more of several questions:

  • Is anyone on here a Cisco reseller?
  • What firewall should I use?
  • What antivirus should I use?
  • What IPS should I use?
  • How can I implement a security solution, while maintaining maximum bandwidth, for 10 site-to-site VPN connections?
  • How does product X compare to product Y?

These are way too many questions for one thread in the StackExchange format, and most of these questions wouldn't even be permitted if they were submitted individually anyway.

Unclear What You Are Asking

A comment on the question demonstrates that, even if Product Recommendation questions were on-topic, there was not sufficient information in the question for it to be properly answerable.

What's your traffic utilization look like? Peak/sustained/minimum bandwidth? Also be aware there are database-specific application firewall appliances out there, commercial and open source. It may make sense to purchase something small like a Fortigate 80c for the office, and a GreenSQL box for the server. – RI Swamp Yankee


Generally, the first step for a question that doesn't appear to fit the StackExchange format is for it to be put on hold. This allows the asker an opportunity to clarify their needs and rephrase the question in a way that it can fit this site.

If a question remains on-hold for a certain duration, its status is changed to closed. Essentially, on-hold and close are the same thing. The on-hold term is just used initially to indicate that this question has a fair chance of being re-opened if modified quickly. Closed means that the asker has had a reasonable amount of time to modify it, but either has not cared to or has not been able to meet the StackExchange standards in that time.

In either situation - on-hold or closed - a question can be re-opened if it is changed to suit the StackExchange format. All it takes is a few votes from high-reputation users, or a single action by a moderator.

However, in extreme cases - like this one, where the question fits nearly every closure reason there is - a question may instead be deleted. This is reserved for a few, relatively rare, scenarios.

  • The question is spam.
  • The question is hateful or abusive, and otherwise serves no constructive purpose.
  • Though not spam or offensive, there is no reasonable expectation that this question can be modified in a way to fit the StackExchange format and quality standards.

Your question clearly fit the last of those scenarios. Part of the reasoning for this was explained in the close reason tagged to the question, and the comments. I hope I've more clearly outlined any other aspects which may have not yet been covered.

If anything is still unclear, I suggest perusing the Help Center. There are many useful bits of information in there, including articles on how to ask a question here, what is and isn't on-topic, and reasons why questions may be closed and/or deleted. Browsing other questions on Meta, regarding question closure or deletion, may also be useful to you.

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    The hold didn't eve last long enough for me to edit it and repost it. By the time I hit submit it was deleted. – Rex Winn Dec 7 '13 at 19:34
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    @RexWinn The very reason it was deleted, as I believe I have rather thoroughly explained above, was because there was no way you could possibly have edited the question into one suitable for this site and still have it be the same question. – Iszi Dec 7 '13 at 21:21
  • All right. The bet is $20 (virtual of course). That I can reword my original question and make it relevant and make it so that nobody feels the need to close it. I also find it interesting that you can say, "there is no way [I] could possibly" there is and I will. – Rex Winn Dec 8 '13 at 1:42
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    Rex. This conversation is not going anywhere useful. If you have a question that meets the requirements in the tour page, please feel free to ask it. Wasting time with this 'bet' is not going to help anyone, and is just likely to annoy the members of this community more. – Rory Alsop Dec 9 '13 at 8:36
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I just took a look at your deleted question. It's a question regarding product recommendation, and we don't really like such questions.

However, you didn't stop there; you took it a little further by asking us to basically balance your decisions based on your budget. We don't really do that here and usually such questions get deleted. It's not personal. Actually, one of our moderators Rory Alsop ♦ explained the reason for deletion:

This is off topic here. We can provide guidance on security setup, architecture etc., but we do not do product recommendations, general networking guidance or costings. If you want to speak to a Cisco reseller, you should just do that. – Rory Alsop♦ 1 hour ago

For the future, please take a look at other questions on the site and learn from them. If you want discuss product recommendations and prices (and other topics), you're welcome to visit our chat room The DMZ. If there's someone who can help you, I'm sure they will do that.

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  • Since I don't have the reputation to reply. I wouldn't call my new question inflammatory. I would like to hope that it caused someone to ask "Did we do the right thing?". I actually can easily reword that question and rephrase key parts of it so that it would have been spot on. What angered me is that in the midst of me rewording it which took time, the question was locked and deleted. That's what ticked me off. If we want to have a real, mature go at this. Put my original question back up, with indicators that the real question will post below it. I'll rewrite it and I'll bet it's "on topic". – Rex Winn Dec 7 '13 at 19:34
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    @RexWinn The deleted question is not what has been called inflammatory. It is the original revision of this question which was. The reasons for deletion of the former are rather thoroughly covered in the several answers here, as well as this site's help center. In short, there was no form which that question could have taken which would fit the StackExchange format. Again, please review the answers here and the help center for a better understanding of why. – Iszi Dec 7 '13 at 22:31
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In my experience, when questions are deleted or closed it is because they do not meet the fairly strict guidelines for what can and cannot be asked here (and not because a mod is out to get you). I certainly understand your frustration, and have felt it before myself when I've had, what I thought were, legitimate questions closed or down voted.

Keep in mind that the StackExchange sites are the best Q&A sites out there because there is such strict moderation by both official mods and the community. Because of this you are able to find high quality answers quickly instead of wading through the BS you see on other Q&A sites.

If you disagree with the reasons for having your question deleted/closed you should bring that concern up on the meta sites to see if the rest of the community agrees with you. This is really the best way that you might be able to influence the direction of the sites.

I haven't seen which of your questions were deleted/closed, but based on my own experience on the security SE site, the moderators are not that heavy handed when it comes to deleting/closing. I know it can be frustrating to have your question closed, but I would suggest reading through the FAQs and see if you can find a better way to ask your question.

If you don't understand why your question was closed, come here and ask rather than venting your frustrations at the mod.

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  • This was actually the OP's only question on this site... – Rory Alsop Dec 6 '13 at 21:20
  • @RoryAlsop Confusion is probably resulting from my re-wording of the Meta question. Before I finally came across the deleted question, I assumed that someone could only possibly be so frustrated with the system as this one seemed to be if they had had multiple questions moderated in a way they did not agree with. It seemed a bit overkill for a post like this originally was, to be addressing just one incident. – Iszi Dec 6 '13 at 22:18
  • @Rory. "This was the OP's only question on this site..." which is why I would have loved a chance to respond to the suggestions, edit and re-post a neutral question that had terms concisely explained so that thoughtful conversation could result. If that's how you treat new members ... I'm dismayed. My comments to you were not inflammatory and I intended them to provoke thought, not consequence. Everybody these days wields so much power. Do everything you can to avoid the hammer. Use the hammer when all other options have failed. R.I.P. me. – Rex Winn Dec 7 '13 at 19:44
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    Rex - sorry you felt that way, but it was not editable - it is entirely off topic, and as I detailed in the comment back to you, the deletion was to avoid anyone answering it because the answers you were asking for are not welcome either. – Rory Alsop Dec 7 '13 at 21:10
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    The FAQ lists all these things. We do expect everyone to read the tour page and ask/answer accordingly. That way you will be welcomed here. – Rory Alsop Dec 7 '13 at 21:12
  • I'll read the FAQ, repost my question and we'll be done with this. I'm still amazed that you guys assume to know so much about my situation the you ASSERT I can't pose a proper question by rearranging things a little. – Rex Winn Dec 8 '13 at 1:45

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