Most of our questions are recommendation questions asking for software that can perform a certain task. I'm generally against these, and they're generally against the SE philosophy of what's "constructive".

However, in our specific case, software/tools can be very limited and very obscure. Unlike other areas of interest they might be some compelling reasons to allow these questions on the site to help professionals as the information isn't easily obtainable elsewhere and it does help solve practical problems, supporting Stack Exchange's general rule of "make the internet a better place".

Apparently Theoretical Computer Science makes these work, but I don't have direct experience with how they handle them--perhaps someone could chime in.

Can these sort of questions work in a constructive way with our community and topic? Are there some guidelines we should have that can keep them constructive and useful? Basically, do we "make the internet a better place" by allowing these questions in some way?

  • I suggest the guidelines as I specified earlier for 'list type' questions.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:35
  • @StevenJeuris have those actually been put to use? I haven't seen any questions of that type on the site since the private beta or so...
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:48
  • No, we didn't have any 'good' list questions since then. However, I'm simply stating asking for 'a tool which does the job' is a list type question, and it might be wortwhile formatting it as such.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Apr 30, 2012 at 23:12
  • @StevenJeuris still not sure I approve of those (as I haven't been seeing good ones), but I think tool requests have merited a deeper look
    – Ben Brocka
    May 1, 2012 at 0:46
  • 1
    I think they are perfectly fine. I will try to elaborate my thoughts into an answer later, but it will probably revolve around how we want to serve the community not just the topic. May 2, 2012 at 6:20


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