I saw this question: Can the OpenGeo Community Edition be used in a commercial project?

which I felt was a very good fit to this site.

Unfortunately it was closed as off topic.

I am having trouble understanding why it was off topic. We have already discussed whether it is ok to ask questions about licensing & legal issues. The general consensus was that it was Ok to ask those kinds of questions here.

There are many questions along these lines including:

I don't see how this question is any different from the others.

I can understand that a knowledgeable person's query might be satisfied by knowing that the software is under GPL, but that fact by itself is not enough to close the question as off topic.

  • 2
    Devdatta, you have the rep to vote to reopen that question. Why haven't you done that? – whuber May 17 '13 at 14:21
  • @whuber: You are right, I should have done that. I felt that maybe my understanding of off-topic might be incorrect. – Devdatta Tengshe May 17 '13 at 14:25
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    You did the right thing by asking for clarification here. I just wanted to point out that your vote to reopen might be a good idea, too, because it starts a parallel process of engaging the community in this discussion. – whuber May 17 '13 at 14:27
  • The question is re-opened all is well on GIS-SE - this shows an active and responsive community. – Mapperz May 18 '13 at 0:45

I felt that since the answer was clearly on the suite's home page that there was no real question to be answered.

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    The vast majority of questions (on this site, as well as the stackoverflow) can be answered by reading the help/documentation of a particular software. We still answer those. And in any case I don't think it makes the question off-topic. – Devdatta Tengshe May 17 '13 at 14:08
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    but this was the home page - not buried in the help pages. – Ian Turton May 17 '13 at 14:08
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    Obviousness is usually in the eye of the beholder. Although it can be annoying to encounter questions that are easily answered through a search, such questions can create opportunities to add value to this site. It is not SE policy to close questions just because they have answers elsewhere--otherwise relatively few questions would remain open. Check out the discussions on meta SO concerning "RTFM," including the nice flowchart at meta.stackexchange.com/a/161346/166924. – whuber May 17 '13 at 14:20
  • I'm prepared to be convinced - but I still think it is very obvious – Ian Turton May 17 '13 at 14:24
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    The only reason offered in a comment to that question is that it is off-topic here. Do you agree with that, Ian? If so, stick to your guns and argue to keep it closed. If not, please try to remember to post explanations when undertaking actions like closing and migration. (This is less work than it might sound, because by the time a post gets a mod's attention, some helpful community member has already supplied an appropriate comment.) – whuber May 17 '13 at 14:30
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    @iant: Think in terms of a non-technical person. One who has no idea of the FOSS movement. Saying something is under GPL or Apache license is like talking in latin and greek. Saying those words makes no impact on such a person. – Devdatta Tengshe May 17 '13 at 14:30
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    I think PolyGeo's comment to that Q touches the nub: it's a licensing question "what can I do with...", but we don't have a definitive place to direct such discussions. It would be good to find one as it's a very common concern. Without that place to redirect to I'm reluctant to close (but am willing to to downvote close to zero). – matt wilkie May 17 '13 at 16:50
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    There are two reasons that the StackExchange network has destroyed IRC and forums as a medium for getting community assistance. The first is the answers tend to improve over time like a good wine. The second is that every other answer isn't "read the docs". – ChrisInCambo May 21 '13 at 1:30

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