In short, this means that the issue you reported did not meet the definition of a system problem.
Most people submit system problem reports with a good faith belief that they're reporting a problem with our system. So it can be surprising and frustrating to see that we did not agree with their assessment, and we totally understand that.
We take all system problem reports seriously. When we close one as not a system problem, we're not blowing it off, we're not just doing it to be jerks, and we're not trying to pretend a problem doesn't exist. We investigate the issue enough to figure out what's going on. Typically, we can see exactly what the problem is, and it's not a system problem. However, the generic "not a system problem" response doesn't provide that information. (To understand why we do this, please see this FAQ entry.)
We find that members sometimes submit invalid system problem reports if they have a misconception about what such reports are for or how they work. One such misconception is that system problem is a synonym for important. This is not the case, and attempting to report something as a system problem because it's important to you is a recipe for frustration. The report will be closed, everyone involved will be irritated, and you will have to start over with lost time and an even higher frustration level.
We also find that members are sometimes confused about which support mechanism is right for their situation. System problem reports are not a way to get support, free or otherwise. If you want the fastest possible response about something important to you, then maintaining an active subscription membership is by far the best way to obtain that. If you're not sure which support mechanism is right for your needs or you prefer not to pay for support, try asking in our member forum first.
Another difficulty we encounter is an inappropriate definition of "system problem." Anything that doesn't work as expected, this theory goes, qualifies as a "system problem" because the system is not working as expected, and that's a problem. This is not the case. We have meticulously defined exactly what constitutes a system problem. Please ensure you're using our definition when reporting a system problem since that's what we will use when responding to the report.
Here are a few examples of common issues that may appear to be system problems but aren't:
- I cannot log in to ssh. (Member is using the wrong login credentials or has a local firewall issue blocking access.)
- I get permission denied when trying to upload. (Member is trying to upload to the wrong directory.)
- My site is down, but I can still see (other site). (Member's domain is expired, or an Internet network between us and their ISP is having a problem.)
- My email forwarding is silently dropping email. (Member's email is forwarded properly but dropped at the far end; we do not silently drop messages -- they bounce, get quarantined, or get forwarded.)
- My XYZ suddenly broke, and it must be a system problem because I haven't touched it in ages. (XYZ depends on ABC, which was discontinued by its developers years ago, and we finally had to drop it after warning we would well in advance.)
Any one of those could be critically important to the person reporting them, but even if that's true, they still aren't system problems and can't be addressed through the system problem report facility.
If you do get a "not a system problem" response, your next course of action -- if you can't figure it out on your own -- should be to contact us through one of our member support options. This is true especially if you're sure we got it wrong because, at that point, you need to talk to someone, and system problem reports aren't a way to do that.