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I've read the FAQ, but it isn't clear to me why "How do I make an automatic server backup in Minecraft? [closed]" was closed off-topic. There is a decent amount of activity on the server-administration tag. "Game-specific hardware and utilities" are allowed according to the FAQ, doesn't this count? The question seems like a relevant and pressing concern for anyone running a minecraft server. If not, why not?

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    I think we're a little too close-happy around here. – Sterno Mar 6 '13 at 12:04
  • "a little" rolleyes – user27134 Mar 6 '13 at 12:48
  • Does no one read comments anymore? It's a software recommendation. We allow questions about Game specific hardware and utilities, but software rec is an unbound list, and popularity contest. – Frank Mar 6 '13 at 13:19
  • @fbueckert: I apologise. I did miss the comment - I was blind to it because instead I was looking for an explanation inside the "closed as off topic" box. Your point may be a valid answer to my question, I think. Maybe it could be more clearly stated in the FAQ? The word "Software" doesn't appear anywhere on that page. I wasn't aware that this is not a valid topic of discussion. – pwaller Mar 6 '13 at 13:25
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    @pwaller I don't think software recommendation per se is off-topic. The same argument in the top-voted answer in this meta post about mod recommendations also applies here: meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/6828/… TLDR: "Closing is our go-to solution for too many things." "On our site, these questions take a form where a mod is generally a solution to a problem. Judge questions by the problem being posed instead of the presupposed answer." ... – galacticninja Mar 6 '13 at 14:01
  • @pwaller ..."Recommending solutions from a large number of possibilities is the core of a wide swath of questions." – galacticninja Mar 6 '13 at 14:01
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    @galacticninja If the core of the question is, "I want a program that does X", then yes, that it most certainly off-topic. It hits every problem to do with lists, incomplete answers, and popularity contests. This problem we're discussing could certainly be specific to Minecraft. If anything, it could be distilled to, "How can I backup a running Minecraft server", and that would resolve the root problem. – Frank Mar 6 '13 at 14:24
  • And we'd also guarantee we'd get answers that are about gaming, not a link answer and (from what I can tell), a Linux script that doesn't directly relate to Minecraft at all. – Frank Mar 6 '13 at 14:27
  • @fbueckert, please correct me if I'm wrong, but you're saying that the question was marked off topic because of one of the answers makes use of a generic tool? I don't understand your point about distilling it to "How can I backup a running Minecraft server" - you're saying that if that if the question was reworded it would be okay? I'm lost. – pwaller Mar 6 '13 at 14:31
  • The closure has nothing to do with the answers. It's all about the question. The base problem is trying to back up a running MC server, right? The main problem is getting that file without corrupting the data. The rest of the problem isn't a problem; once you have a file, copy it somewhere else to back it up. For Linux, your answer is a valid solution. It's not specific to Minecraft, but that's fine. And closure is temporary. The main problem I see is, "I want a script that does X". That's a straight up recommendation question. That can be fixed by distilling it to the root problem. – Frank Mar 6 '13 at 14:39
  • Here is an important principle to spell out explicitly: the existance of a tag is not a greenlight to ask related questions. – badp Mar 11 '13 at 20:58
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The general guideline for such game-related topics is usually that they are on-topic, as long as the game is an essential part of the question, i.e. you can't remove the game from the question without rendering it meaningless.

So a question about server administration that is in no way specific about Minecraft would be off-topic, but issues that are specific to games are on-topic. I don't know enough about Minecraft servers to say which is the case here, it seems to me that forcing a consistent state of the game data is something that would be different for every application, so there seems to be a game-specific aspect to this.

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    I run a minecraft server, and I was bitten by this exact problem. I googled minecraft backup and found that thread. – pwaller Mar 6 '13 at 13:58
  • You're correct that forcing a consistent state before making the backup is the crux of the problem, and that doing it properly for Minecraft will be different than doing it properly for another game. Minecraft's server is pretty cantankerous about its files, and it's hard to interact programmatically with it. – SevenSidedDie Mar 6 '13 at 19:33
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    The need for a consistent state is why I voted to reopen. The question is clearly focused on backing up an active Minecraft server world with little to no downtime. – MBraedley Mar 6 '13 at 20:29

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