Maybe it's time to be final and state that any and all recommendation questions are just off topic and out of scope with the site.

The current close reason listed reads:

Questions seeking application recommendations are off-topic unless they detail what has already been tried and rejected. Describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve

This still ends up where users will ask questions and list apps or websites that don't meet a criteria instead of actually using one for a time and trying to ask about that web app or website specifically.

A clearer, more exact and concise close reason could be:

Application/website recommendations are off-topic and out of scope. It is better instead to use a particular web app or website and ask for help in any issues you have with it specifically.

This would remove the "prior research" angle and instead be direct about the question and the scope of questions preferred on this site.

It would be more helpful, and many-user applicable, to target an active issue (configuring/fixing/hacking a particular app) than it is to satisfy a list of requirements (recommendations).

  • 3
    I'm for this. Also, there's a new SE site getting prepped for launch which is dedicated to software recommendations Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 13:39
  • 1
    @Sathya: That thing is going to be pounded with migrations.
    – ale
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 20:22
  • @Sathya Does it include web service recommendation? Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:33
  • @FranckDernoncourt yes Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 19:48
  • I sometimes stumble upon old questions in this category, some have accepted answers, most don't. Should I flag these, too, as off-topic? Or do we let them live? Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 9:53
  • 3
    If you see a question that should be closed, vote or flag as necessary, even if it has an accepted answer @vid Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 19:39

4 Answers 4


OK so the help center has been updated.

Please note that the following subjects are considered off-topic here:


  • Web application recommendations

The offtopic close reason has not yet been updated, will do in a bit..

  • 2
    Is it also possible to add Software Recommendations.se to the list of migration options? Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 15:09
  • @vidar not any time soon Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 15:10
  • 1
    Dear all: If you'd like to view the help-center article which Sathya updated, click here. Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 4:54

I'm all for this.

I like the idea of being able to recommend something to someone after they've tried something else, but no one ever seemed to follow through with that advice. Even with a decent recommendation question (where they list out their requirements) it would, at best, attract one-line answers (sometimes without even links).

As for the wording in the Help Center, et al., I think we should direct people to describe the problem they're trying to solve. Like some of the advice from Super User: How do I ask a question that may require recommending software?


I agree with making recommendations off-topic here, because Software Recommendations is now doing great (as many questions per day as webapps)

See Software Recommendations's webapp recommendations tag.

Like Vidar said, recommendation questions should be migrated there. It is the most logical thing to do. If there is a rule against such migrations, let's break the rule. Software Recommendations has already broken many rules, and it won't be the last.

At the strict minimum, let's insert a link to http://softwarerecs.stackexchange.com when closing such questions.

  • 1
    +1; Breaking rules is very difficult.
    – Jacob Jan
    Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 9:45
  • 1
    By long-standing policy, beta sites are not added to a site's migration paths. We'll have to wait until it graduates.
    – ale
    Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 3:00
  • 1
    Questions should also follow SR guidelines, which they usually don't, so migrations usually end up creating messes unless they're already a good fit and format Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 2:59

I am against this:

  1. It takes a lot of time to seek a service corresponding to one's need, so to me it makes sense to ask for a recommendation even if we didn't look carefully at a existing solutions.
  2. Often the user's needs can change depending on the existing solutions (e.g. when the user has no idea that such thing existed).
  3. Users' feedback on their experience using a product is valuable.
  4. Sometimes it's tough to find the right services when you don't know how to call them. (e.g. "Clipboad manager")

I would prefer to use a policy similar to SuperUser linked in AI E.'s answer.

  • 3
    "Users' feedback on their experience using a product is valuable." I agree, but it almost never happens. Someone asks for a recommendation and all that they get is a bunch of one-line answers, often without even a link.
    – ale
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 20:58

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