I was happy to find a question about on-screen rulers with many recommendations for programs. I was surprised it didn't have any close votes. Under what circumstances is it ok to ask for a name of a program and how should the question be phrased?

  • It's a thin line between asking about how to get a problem solved (including what your research has already got you) and just asking for what the best software to do XYZ is. The former probably shouldn't be closed.
    – slhck
    Mar 5 '13 at 19:30
  • 1
    I'd also note the acceptability of software rec questions has changed over time - that's a really old question, which I suspect even predates the "shopping is hard" blogpost - which indirectly is why we don't do software req. I note that while they seem superficially similar, the advantage of asking a question around a problem is that you sometimes get a solution you never considered.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 5 '13 at 20:06
  • @JourneymanGeek: I will say this though - as a community our approach to software rec questions seems to be remarkably inconsistent, which is often frustrating at times. Which questions tend to get closed quickly and which remain open sometimes seems quite arbitrary to me, but perhaps that's the nature of the beast when it comes to public voting.
    – Karan
    Mar 7 '13 at 6:05
  • Well, I do think it is - in this specific case though, its cause its an older question, and quite often the rules tend to get re-interpreted over time. The 'shopping is hard' blogpost was posted in '10 - so there was absolutely no ruling on this before hand. The closest thing I can find, after an admittedly quick search, to an official set of guidelines is here and here .
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 7 '13 at 10:29
  • I'd also note that there's a meta post on how to ask a software req question (focus on the problem), and that ought to ensure such a question isn't closed.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 7 '13 at 10:30
  • @JourneymanGeek if you are referring to how to ask software req question I don't find it always useful. For example I now need to increase the volume on a video, I'm not sure how I can dress it up as not looking for a software recommendation.
    – Celeritas
    Mar 7 '13 at 17:37
  • Ugh, dealing with this sort of things as a comment is hard. Actually that sounds fairly simple to me - "I've got a video of format X (container Y/codec Z), which has a volume that's too low. I'm running (windows/linux/OS X) and would like to increase just the volume without reencoding the video. How would I do this?" Its task oriented, and dosen't actually explicitly ask for a software req. Its pretty sneaky, but so are "What do I look for when..." hardware req questions
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 7 '13 at 22:04

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