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You encounter a specific computing problem. You search for a solution everywhere and don't find one. You spend a considerable length of time writing a well-thought-out, researched, eloquent and articulate question on superuser.com or another one of the StackOverflow websites. You post the question... and within a few minutes it's [closed] with this lovely message:

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This has become a regular trope on the SO network and it is seriously pissing me - and a lot of other people - off.

The guidelines on this issue (here) basically boil down to "don't just ask for software recommendations, but manipulate your issue into some kind of question which can be answered or which has a solution". That's stupid. In many, many cases, the solution is going to be "use X software".

The rule is apparently in place because such questions result in single-link answers which quickly become outdated or stale. So what? Programming solutions - or any other type of solution, for that matter - become outdated and stale just as easily.

If someone asked back in 1999, "How do I make text bold using HTML?" should the question have been closed because the <b> tag would be deprecated within a few years?

By all means, force responses to contain more than just a hyperlink. Force them to include detailed description of the solution (software) being recommended. Force links to be archived.

But stop wasting my time, and the time of my colleagues, by closing legitimate questions and forcing me to perform cursory re-writes and re-phrasing of questions just to end up asking exactly the same thing.

Read the top comments on this post - I am not the only one who is being driven away from StackExchange by this nonsense: How do I ask a question that may require recommending software?

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  • FYI here is my latest question which was closed: superuser.com/questions/1518759/… – WackGet Jan 21 at 3:32
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    Did you try softwarerecs.stackexchange.com ? – Michael Frank Jan 21 at 3:42
  • We don’t need to allow software recommendations here at Super User there is a Stack Exchange community dedicated to software recommendations. While your feedback raises great points, those recommendations are not possible, due to the limitations of the Stack Exchange software itself. It’s not possible to require links, and have recommendations meet a certain level of quality, what will happen is we will be spammed by low quality single sentence answers. You don’t know about all the answers that are deleted which are absolutely not worth keeping around. Getting angry is not the correct approach – Ramhound Jan 21 at 6:47
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    If only users would read What topics can I ask about here? - Help Center - Super User before posting, but I guess that is just too much of an ask. – DavidPostill Jan 21 at 7:58
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    @DavidPostill If you check out my question which was closed, I wasn't just asking for a straight recommendation. I followed the guidelines on how to ask. I described my problem and described a desired solution; users are free to recommend solutions which aren't just straight up "use this software". That's what annoys me about this rule being [ab]used. – WackGet Jan 21 at 17:05
  • @DavidPostill And I really fail to see how my question falls foul of any of the recommendations in your "What topics can I ask about" article. My question seems to fit right in, and should be re-opened. – WackGet Jan 21 at 17:08
  • "So I am basically looking for a way to administer a firewall (network filter, whitelist/blacklist, or whatever you want to call it) much more easily and with a more visual/interactive approach. " I don't see how that is anything other than a software request ... – DavidPostill Jan 21 at 17:10
  • What topics clearly says "and it is not about … asking for a product, service or learning material recommendation" – DavidPostill Jan 21 at 17:12
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We used to once.

It... didn't work that well. In fact the close reason network wide started with us

"That nonsense" was basically a compromise that enabled folks to ask questions that required software, and get answers that was more than "use that thing". It teaches one to fish, as opposed to the two extremes - that you could fish with a rod, or to hand one a fish.

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    If you check out my question which was closed, I wasn't just asking for a straight recommendation. I followed the guidelines on how to ask. I described my problem and described a desired solution; users are free to recommend solutions which aren't just straight up "use this software". That's what annoys me about this rule being [ab]used. And I really fail to see how my question falls foul of any of the recommendations in the "What topics can I ask about" article. My question seems to fit right in, and should be re-opened. – WackGet Jan 21 at 17:05

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