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I've seen this question covering why we don't need to add an explicit VtC option to covering licensing questions.

However, it would seem to make sense that, if we're going to close questions about licensing as off-topic, it might be worth including that fact on the What topics can I ask about? page in the help center (as a topic you cannot ask about, of course).

The contents of that page do seem to be specific to DBA.SE - including a line that says something like:

  • Licensing - Questions on licensing should be referred to the vendor, and an answer obtained in writing from them.

wouldn't seem to make that page too unwieldy, and avoids the need to link to a meta-discussion as to why it's off-topic.

I can see that some things might change with time (whether MS Access or BI is on topic, over the course of years, could change (BI would probably be off-topic if a Business Intelligence Stack Exchange site were created, for example)), but since the licensing issue is a legal one, I don't see this as something that's likely to change over time.

And, the closing of licensing questions seems to be a matter of tribal knowledge - I don't see anything about it in the faq questions, the help page, the tour.... I only know about from seeing such questions get closed. Which leads me to believe that we need to manually comment on every one, so the asker knows why it was closed.

We tell people not to ask for career advice there - why not licensing, too?

4

I am going to say no at this stage.

This is not necessarily an awful idea in principle, but the suggested text is too broad and vague (as well as a little blunt).

  • Licensing - Questions on licensing should be referred to the vendor, and an answer obtained in writing from them.

Questions about licencing are not automatically off-topic, so we would need better wording that covers the sort of questions we do not want, without dissuading people from asking good on-topic questions on the subject (for example about the process of applying a change in licence).

Perhaps a separate meta question could seek input on what that wording should be, then we might revisit this.

Even so, I am uneasy about starting a process where we end up trying to list everything that might be considered off-topic on that help page. It is not as if the site is groaning under the weight of off-topic licencing questions. Neither is meta drowning in passionate debate over what is and isn't acceptable as a licencing question.

Changing that help page is something we should not do lightly, so I think the bar should be set quite high regarding quality and justification. The page is imperfect already; we should resist making it worse.

  • I copies the wording from a suggestion in Max Vernon's linked question; if the wording is the biggest issue, let's change the wording, please. I've edited the question - for me a part of the problem is that closing licensing questions seems to be a matter of tribal knowledge - neither the help page, nor the faq questions, indicate that it would be off-topic, or when it would be off-topic. – RDFozz Jul 12 '18 at 15:13
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    Is there a meta question that covers the issues with the help page, and how we can make it better? – RDFozz Jul 12 '18 at 15:14
2

Assuming that I understand the tribal knowledge on this correctly, I would think that the question could be worded something like this:

  • Licensing - Business-oriented licensing questions, such as purchasing licenses, which license is correct / better for a given purpose, and similar questions should be referred to the vendor, and an answer obtained in writing from them. Questions about operations in SQL Server related to licenses, such as how to apply a license upgrade / downgrade, are acceptable.`
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    That seems a bit wordy. Maybe this: "Licensing question related to legal/financial matters (cost, what's required for your environment) are off-topic; purely technical questions, like applying a license up/downgrade, are acceptable." – RDFozz Jul 18 '18 at 16:59

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