I have a problem that I need to solve, and it may require the recommendation of a web app or service. How do I ask this type of question so that it isn't closed?

(Inspired by this question at meta.superuser.com.)

1 Answer 1


There are two ways to generally ask questions of this nature. The Good and the Bad.

How NOT to ask questions that may require a web app recommendation:

  • "What is the best {category} app?"
  • "List of sites that do {some function}"
    • or, closely related: "Is there something that does {some function}"
  • "What is an alternative to {some app}?"

These questions are not useful to the general community and lead to "fluffy" answers with little more than a link (and sometimes not even that). They really don't solve any problems (the main focus of any Stack Exchange site) and it is hard to filter what is good and what isn't when there are multiple answers all at the same rough vote count.

How TO ask questions that may require a web app recommendation:

First of all: Do your research. Have you thoroughly searched for an answer? Do you even have a real problem you need to solve? And if so, have you attempted to solve the problem yourself? Instead of assuming a solution, ask about your problem instead.

If you did your research and you can describe what the problem is, then here's how to ask:

  • "I have {this problem} that I don't know how to solve. I've already tried {these other solutions}. How do I do this?"
  • "I have {an app} that doesn't work anymore. How do I troubleshoot or fix this?"
    With this type of question, make sure that you are as detailed as possible about the issue(s). If you just say "My app doesn't work!" and that's it, the question will be closed. Also, be open to other apps or solutions that may solve your issue.

Questions like these are problem-based, and lead to useful answers.

See also:

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