17

Background

I had asked this question a while back, and received some great responses, and a great final answer that helped me out quite a ton. Everything was fine until ~yesterday.

Yesterday, however, it generated quite a bit of a discussion, because I had mentioned that the .NET Framework in general (and thus Paint.NET specifically) is too slow for my laptop to be a viable solution, and some supporters of Paint.NET misunderstood this as a blanket ".NET is slow" statement, with not-too-difficult-to-predict knee-jerk reactions.

This misunderstanding subsequently caused Tom Wijsman to make an edit to "clarify" the meaning, but unfortunately the edit didn't help. See the edit history and comments on the question.

Of course, such an ambiguous edits about the characteristics of interpreted languages caused confused comments and a (binding) close-vote by random as "Not constructive".


Question

random then mentioned that "the content and intent of looking for an alternative program" makes a question "not constructive" or "too localized".

I'm having trouble understanding why that is the case, and therefore why the question was closed.
Could someone please explain why asking about alternative programs is "not constructive" or "too localized"? And if possible, could someone please let me know if any edits would make it better, so that the question might be re-opened?
(The question seemed popular enough, so I'm having trouble understanding why it is localized.)

  • 7
    I'd say because we already have sites like: alternativeto.net – Ben Richards Feb 14 '12 at 18:51
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    @sidran32 Where's the runs well on ancient hardware filter on that site? With this requirement, it becomes a question requiring specific expert expertise. – Daniel Beck Feb 14 '12 at 18:55
  • @mehrdad Can you admit that the question went to heck, when your question inspired another List (including me). And when you attempted to defend the reasoning behind the specifics in your question? Can you admit that it has another list in it, including items you specificly excluded? Can you admit that the question Became messy, and one that doesnt fit into the little perfect plan of the site? Was it non-constuctive, or did it BECOME non-constructive? – Psycogeek Feb 15 '12 at 1:24
  • @Psycogeek: Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by "inspired another List (including me)", "it has another list in it", etc... could you rephrase your question please? – Mehrdad Feb 15 '12 at 1:44
  • @Mehrdad I would not know another way to put it. you had a very specific question, you got a list of software, a debate, and it concluded with a messy Q&A session. – Psycogeek Feb 15 '12 at 2:21
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    @TomWijsman: I must say your continued edits are quite frustrating. I understand you want to remove the site, but can't you at least chill down and leave my meta post alone? If people don't like it, they can downvote it, and if I look like a jerk, then that's my problem, not yours. But I'm sure you already know (as this is obviously intentional), so far, your edits have only served to put (or in this case, remove) words from my mouth, to make my posts work to your personal advantage... so I'd appreciate it if you followed your own policies and didn't change the meanings of (meta) posts. – Mehrdad Feb 15 '12 at 17:45
  • @TomWijsman: If you really don't enjoy getting pinged, then stop changing my post. But if you enjoy the attention you're getting (and you like deleting and re-posting comments like you already have done) then by all means, feel free to continue. – Mehrdad Feb 15 '12 at 20:46
  • Please stop rolling back all the time – I don't think anybody else would really think this one sentence is something worth making a big fuss over. Is it okay to move on from here, guys? This question is more or less answered. /cc @tom – slhck Feb 15 '12 at 22:44
  • @slhck: Yup, I'm fine with the current version. – Mehrdad Feb 15 '12 at 22:54
  • when a question doesn't fit the rules then they just make some obtuse comment when closing it, like "this is not a real question". It is annoying when they call recommendations "shopping", but just more of the obtuse comments made when things don't fit their rules. The real reason is that in their system I suppose they don't like a question to be constantly active. – barlop Jun 9 '12 at 14:56
  • @sidran32 There is very little on the Stack Exchange network that you cannot ("eventually") find elsewhere. The point is that it has high signal to noise (which puts it ahead of 90% of other places) and is likelier to solve your particular problem rather than giving general solutions (which disqualifies another 9%). Linux questions aren't forbidden because Linuxforums and man pages exist. – Superbest Sep 25 '12 at 5:10
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You are specifically looking for a (software) product recommendation.

This is not accepted on this site by the diamond moderators team due to the following part of the FAQ:

Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. If you have a question about …

  • […]
  • computer software
  • […]

and it is not about …

  • […]
  • a shopping or buying recommendation

I petitioned to fix this insufficient wording before to match current moderation practices, but nobody with the power to change it cared.


If it's any consolation, you're not the only one who's unaware of this. Both slhck and me were surprised to learn this.

The huge number of somewhat tolerated questions makes this approach even more questionable. In practice, it's usually fine as long as no diamond moderator happens to see your topic.

  • Oh wow, that's indeed surprising. But what's weird is that diamond moderators did see the question before (e.g. Ivo Flipse even commented) -- they just didn't happen to be random! So I really felt it was the edit that caused this, not the question itself... – Mehrdad Feb 14 '12 at 18:51
  • @Mehrdad There's some leeway if your question is interesting IIRC, and therefore a judgment call. It's not a clear party line all moderators follow equally. It's a pretty crappy situation, which is why I want this cleared up. It's one of the issues that made me post this topic. – Daniel Beck Feb 14 '12 at 18:53
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    shh... don't tell ♦random. ;) – iglvzx Feb 14 '12 at 19:15
  • Hmmm I see, ok, thanks for the answer. (What was weird was, I noticed today that they even linked to the question on Google+, so the SO team must've obviously liked it... but then it got closed after all the comments. :( ) – Mehrdad Feb 14 '12 at 19:21
  • @DanielBeck IF the use of specific software to solution a problem is not an acceptable method of solving a problem. Then using NOTEPAD ,or one of the 50 CMD programs to solve a problem, and then you might as well shut down the Site. I cant think of anything that is accomplished on computers without Software, and recommending the use of software :-) So at the least there is a line somewhere. Everyone not using software , please explain how :-) – Psycogeek Feb 15 '12 at 0:47
  • @Psycogeek Why are you asking me and not one of those supporting this policy? Note that "I have a problem and want to solve it" usually works better than "I want a drawing program". It's the asking for recommendations that's bad, not the recommending software in answers. – Daniel Beck Feb 15 '12 at 6:16
  • @DanielBeck I think, I was mostly agreeing with you? I do not know how to feel about the policy, I would not want to be in the position of attempting to make the judgement call. As per the actual title, and some use of words in the title or the question, it is rediculous to pick over some wording and create intention out of it. For the, who knows what is going on or what will happen? that is humans. Everybody had a point, everybody had good points, the questioner had a question that could be asked on 1000 other sites, without it being a problem till it got into the "this is just spam now" – Psycogeek Feb 15 '12 at 6:36
  • @psyco yes you're basically agreeing with me, so I wondered why you'd direct the comment at me instead of someone with a different opinion. In my defence I was awake for 5 minutes or so when I posted the previous comment – Daniel Beck Feb 15 '12 at 6:43
  • . . . The question would also work on 1000 other sites , until it got into the endless debate area, where a moderator tired of reading it or seeing it pop up, would swoop in and end it. From my perceptions of these events, it was sometimes a terrible thing to do, and in others a good thing to do. In many cases I feel that the moderator should not have to Look :-) But that is the job. Some way to ignore it until it is a problem that needs Swooping. – Psycogeek Feb 15 '12 at 6:43
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    @Mehrdad I left a comment hoping the user would improve his answer. But then I noticed all the bottom answers were pretty crap. So I left a flag for the other mods, saying I thought the question had produced little value. So it got closed and I think it was for the better – Ivo Flipse Feb 15 '12 at 13:00
  • @IvoFlipse: Ohhh I see, I didn't know that. Yeah I'd have to agree, most of the answers weren't terribly good (the XnView one was great though!). I guess if that was the reason then I can't help but agree... – Mehrdad Feb 15 '12 at 17:39
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    @Mehrdad: Please understand that when edits are made to your questions, that I always try to do this from the standpoint of the author of the post. They are free to disagree with that and rollback; however, there is no point in aggravating my sole edit across comments and this meta question. I've misunderstood your intention, I was wrong, I'm sorry. We've been overreacting to each other, let's stop here. I don't expect any response of you and will no longer follow-up on this, let's not put anything negative towards one another and continue our paths... :) – Tom Wijsman Feb 16 '12 at 1:06
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    @TomWijsman: +1 I'm always open to that as well :) – Mehrdad Feb 16 '12 at 2:04
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    The idea of superuser is to compile a list of posts that help resolve issues in a clear easy to find method; not just for the asking user but for future searches as well. The idea is to act as form of wiki as well in which the posts are edited to be nice and understandable in this spirit. If things like software recommendations and other types of questions that don't relate to resolving problems are fielded, the system becomes cluttered and makes answers more difficult to find. Correct me if I'm wrong? – Jeff F. May 29 '12 at 18:32
12

You're soliciting a list. That's it.

The Stack Exchange Google+ Plussing share upthumbing of it said why the best:

There are a host of free and open sourced alternatives to the default Windows image app.

And most of the time, when it's linked to from the Google+ or Twitter accounts, it's going to be a bad question.

Asking for alternatives should be the aside to the main, in the case of whatever you're trying to do in the app you're currently using doesn't jive. Not the whole reason.

The edits did not make it worse or to a point that it was no longer what it was from the beginning, just that it floated it back to the top.

Alternatives and recommendations are both not constructive and too localised. For one, you end up with answers that are little more than throwing logs onto the fire, seeing what sticks and not what works. The only expertise you need here is to use a search engine with:

wonky-product alternatives

or

wonky-product "better than"

Too localised in that it fits a narrow features request better done through aggregate searches, ticking boxes as you go down the requirements of what you're looking for in a car.

How to constructively ask about alternatives

  • Try something - Show us you've done more than ask people to look for product descriptions to throw back with a screenshot.
  • Be clear in failed efforts - Tell us what program you're currently using and what thing you can't seem to do or get out of it
  • Be receptive and open to alternatives - Your first port of call is to get it done in your current program. Should someone think another application would do better, they can proffer such.

Free is not a "thing" that a program can't seem to do. That's a voluntary user restriction. Yes, we all look for free software, but if that's your first and only goal, you're doing it wrong.

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