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I understand that questions asking for app recommendations (or even just "if such an app exists") are off-topic. Questions should be about problems to solve.

Sometimes, though, the best solution to a problem is an app or tool that has already been built.

What are the best practices for answering a question with an app recommendation to avoid getting downvotes or, worse, deleted as spam?


Related:

  • 1
    Thanks for posting this! – jonsca Aug 19 '16 at 22:27
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    Super User has a similar QA, apparently. I don't know how much of it I want to go back and crib for our purposes. – ale Aug 21 '16 at 14:54
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    Should we point new "answerers" to this thread? There is a old question that just got an answer suggesting the use of an app ->How to disable Google's doodle – Rubén Aug 21 '16 at 18:51
  • @Rubén: If they're leaving answers that lack useful information, yeah. That's kind of the point. In the same way we want to point people toward the question (and answer) about asking a question that might prompt an app recommendation. – ale Aug 21 '16 at 19:44
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Yes, very often someone has recognized the very problem the Asker has and built something to address it. "Why re-invent the wheel?" as the old saw goes.

By all means, do recommend an app if it will solve the Asker's problem. Just don't simply leave a link as an answer and move on.

An ideal answer will provide a link to the app, a basic description (perhaps even quoted from the site itself), and, probably most importantly, will explain how the app/tool will solve the Asker's problem. If you've used the app yourself, a short anecdote about how it helped you would also be useful.

It's also okay to recommend an app that you have created, but remember:

  • you must disclose your affiliation every time
  • if all (or most) of your answers are hawking your product(s), the community is not going to look on that favorably, even with disclosure

Bad:

Use widget-breaker! It's teh awesom!!1!

Good:

I think the WidgetBreaker Chrome Extension will work for you. It's designed to frob your widgets when they get de-frobbed. Since you're trying to foo the bar, this should do what you need. Just:

  1. Create your profile
  2. Set the widget-frobber to use your Google Account
  3. Mark the bars to be foo'd

I had a similar situation with my bazzes, and this fixed them right up.

(Note: I am not the developer, just a satisfied user.)


These are just basic examples, not templates.

To recap:

Do:

  • Link to the app/tool
  • Explain how it will solve the Asker's problem
  • Disclose your affiliation to the product, if any

Don't:

  • Just link to the app (or, worse, just name the app without even a link)
  • Make all (or a large portion) of your answers to promote your product(s)
  • Neglect to say how the app will solve the problem

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