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A general rule of thumb on many StackExchange sites is that "Product recommendations are off-topic". I agree with this stance, as there are so many ways a question like "What is the best ..." can go wrong, aside from it being closed as primarily opinion-based.

However, the Help Center defines that questions in regards to security tools are indeed on-topic. And while the stance on questions like "What is the best tool to do X?" is clear, I am uncertain about "Which tool can do X?".

For instance, a question like "Which tool can I use to crack an MD5 hash?" seems on-topic and relevant. Is there a clear stance on this?

  • Such questions sound like a perfect match for Software Recommendations, although we can't quite claim the level of security expertise to be found here – Mawg May 23 at 6:50
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"What product/service can do X?" is off-topic for being both recommendation and a call for lists. The potential answers can be endless and it can be difficult to have a single acceptable answer.

Years ago, we had a question that was something like, "what tools to scan a network?" Talk about a fiasco. Everyone was proposing a wide range of tools, bashing other tools, promoting their own favourite tools ("unicornscan FTW!"), "use my script", etc. And the voting button became a mechanism for "vote for your favourite tool". The result was a long list of many possible, perfectly usable tools.

While there may be some features that are only provided by a small set of products/services, that may change at any moment. Products/services shutter, popular features are incorporated into new products/services, etc. So the question could end up being added to forever.

And ultimately, if you know the feature you want, this sort of question should be answered with a Google search.

IF there is a feature so unique that there would only ever be a small set of products/services offering it and would not show up in Google searches without a lot of google-fu, then people could be directed to chat for this targetted help.

The principle is: "What product/service can do X?" is off-topic. The corner cases can be handled efficiently in chat or a comment.

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