After chatting with some users on some of the other SE sites, I heard that questions asking for recommendations of XXX are becoming very popular, and often problematic.
Examples of these are requests for recipes on Cooking, recommendations for games on Games, etc.

Do we want to allow these on our site? With what limitations?

The first discussion on this, on the SO blog: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping/
Also check this looong, but very good, discussion on MetaGames: https://gaming.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/997/handling-game-recommendations-how-can-we-solve-these-two-problems-of-quality

Giving thought to this, here it might make sense, depending...

For example, here are a few recent questions like this:

Now, for the most part, I think these questions have value... but I'm not sure why?

I think we should have a consensus for policy, before it gets away from us.
I have a few ideas, but I want to hear what others think first...

1 Answer 1


From my perspective I think we should encourage 'learning' type questions where possible, as these can only help to improve the industry.

Questions like the antivirus one (link removed as question closed) definitely shouldn't be in as it doesn't improve anything.

I think the 'what is in your toolbox' questions are of value professionally as a lot of experience people build over time in areas like rapid response comes at the expense of many mistakes - passing on lists of tools to have is something I see as positive.

The Firewall without features one I think is more a recommendation/opinion so I would rate it as less appropriate here but possibly still above the threshold, and similarly the file monitoring one could easily end up just a marketing flamewar, but thus far has been useful albeit brief discussion.

I guess the obvious Off-Topics will get flagged up so really we just need to keep an eye on opinion for that middle ground and see what the responses are like.

Oh - another thing I didn't realise, although I have now found it in the mods guide - a vote to close from a mod is instant, not a vote. Do you guys think I did the right thing closing this one on AlertLogic? Looks like I can reopen if not.

  • re AlertLogic - I'm not so sure. There was a discussion on chat, WebApps have a similar problem: lots of questions about obscure sites, that dont have - and wont get - any answers, simply because noone is familiar with them. The consensus seemed to be to leave them, and maybe eventually close them "too localized". But somebody might show up with knowledge of it, sooner or later...
    – AviD Mod
    Dec 19, 2010 at 7:05
  • re subjective, that part of your comment there does make sense, and is very connected to what I was asking here about reccomendations (really, the same thing). I think its fair to ask for insight/problems/advantadges for a specific product (e.g. AlertLogic), or ask for comparison between several (even if unknown, e.g. firewalls, file integrity). As long as the question is aimed to get objective information, or at least anecdotal, hard-experience based facts. (Thats why I dont like the "favorite" part of the file integrity question, its very subjective, and didnt ask for specifics.)
    – AviD Mod
    Dec 19, 2010 at 7:09
  • Same goes for the lists / toolbox type questions, I think these questions would have much more value, if instead of just listing names of programs, start each item by saying what it is you need to do, and then propose a tool for that. Preferably, with a description of the tool and explanation of its benefits over others.
    – AviD Mod
    Dec 19, 2010 at 7:11
  • Thanks Avi - I'll pop back to the AlertLogic question and reopen and leave it. You do make some very good points. Cheers
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Dec 19, 2010 at 12:07
  • @rory: can you fix the antivirus link? I'm not sure where it is supposed to go. Jan 4, 2011 at 7:45
  • @roxOr - that was a question which was closed, so I have now removed the link.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Jan 4, 2011 at 11:45

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