There are many software rec questions on meta, involving correct tags, how to ask etc, but I can't find one that covers this aspect.

No matter how well a user follows the guidelines in How do I ask a question that may require recommending software? it seems these are all invariably slammed shut in minutes. We seem to have developed an absolute intolerance for anything which might require a software rec in an answer.

The user is left with this…

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…which sends them right back to the first link.

We really should send them to Software Recs, or at least give them a clue as to its existence, or we know they will just go round in a fruitless circle, trying to post a rec question that isn't slammed shut in an instant.

I think this is, of course, worse to present to newbies, as even those few who take the time to read all the tour & help can still fall foul of this one & then they're just left stumped, nowhere to turn. This is a definite "walk away, never to return" moment imho.

Sidebar refs to We have bad question closing habits and I think SU has a newbie-biting problem

  • I often comment as follows "You are asking an off-topic question. Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic. See on-topic. Try Software Recommendations, but please first read What is required for a question to contain "enough information"." if it is a software request as they are picky about their questions.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 14:21
  • @DavidPostill - Yup. I have some rubber-stamp very similar to that, but I'm sure it would be better in the big blue box than tucked away in a comment underneath. It does feel like we need the whole thing rewording to cover much more like your copy/paste.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 14:25
  • 1
    Lets wait and see what the other mods say ...
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 14:28
  • 1
    What I don't get is, people can ask about problems with software (right?), and these get outdated just as quick as recommended software. Maybe we need to educate those who answer instead, for example answers like 'PRODUCT X works for me' aren't what we want, but what's wrong with an informed opinion about some piece of software? Also, answers provide opinion based software recommendations anyway. IOW, shouldn't we be more critical with regards to software recommendations in answers instead. Commented May 17, 2023 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


We seem to have developed an absolute intolerance for anything which might require a software rec in an answer.

I think this is the core of the issue and linking to Software Recs SE is only a band-aid solution. Perfectly good SU questions will still keep getting closed because OP dared to mention that the problem may require software and we'll be directing them to Software Recs, which is not the right SE site for their problem-based question.

I don't have any better ideas, unfortunately. I feel like things have improved since last year, but I'm still seeing good, problem-based questions closed as software rec every now and then - sometimes with a single vote of a diamond mod…

  • When I'm so inclined, I will rewrite a question to remove explicit requests for software if the rest of the question is fine without those. It does feel that certain phrases trigger certain sorts of reactions sometimes. I don't know what the solution is. The site is best with the most trust is given to those who have earned it, and this does mean that there will be inconsistency and imperfection in the application, but it also means that overall, taken as a whole, things are best. Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 18:33

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