This question, which seeks "a program where I can type one, two or more components of chemical reaction and find out the result of it," is a blatant software rec question.

I flagged it as off-topic (which, in my opinion, it is) on 29 May, but my flag was marked as "disputed" on 30 May.

While I understand the question has a score of +15/-1, and that it had moderator approval back in 2010, haven't Super User's standards evolved over the intervening three years? If so, why has my flag been disputed and the question not been closed?

2 Answers 2


While I agree in general with Daniel Beck's answer in that any question that can be reworded as a legitimate question can/should be kept open and even edited to be made on-topic, I don't agree that this specific question is on-topic. Here's why:

This is a question that after initial review, I couldn't think of a way of editing this question to make it less about the and more about an actual computer related problem. The only way to keep this question somewhat related to Super User would be to keep it a software recommendation question, which is clearly off-topic for here.

In my opinion, this question would be better suited for Chemistry.SE as it's more about that topic than Super Users. I checked their Meta, and it appears that they have a slightly similar approach as us for software-rec questions, thus IMO, making this question a valid question for them.

  • 1
    Just note that we couldn't migrate it even if we wanted.
    – slhck
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 10:23

Strictly speaking, yes, it's asking for a software recommendation.

But it can be trivially re-stated as a problem description as described in Kronos' guide about asking for software:

How TO ASK questions that may require a software solution:

So, if you did your research and you can describe the problem to us, then here's how to ask:

  • "I have that I don't know how to solve. I've already tried X, Y, Z. How do I do this?"

Compare this question ("I want my computer to tell me products for chemical reactions") to the feature list in the other question. Oh, and it should be free, open source, and cross platform.

I see no problem with questions like this. They shouldn't be closed, but edited.

  • I'd like to add that flagging in these cases is often a borderline thing. While explicitly asking for "What's the best chemistry program out there?" or "What do you use?" is of course not constructive, there are many questions that simply require some software as a solution, and those are not blatantly off topic – or at least moderators will not enforce that and rather leave the closing/reopening up to the community (3k users).
    – slhck
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 14:48
  • When you come across these types of situations, where the question is blatantly software-rec but can be re-worded as a legitimate question, then please either edit the question, or prompt the OP to re-write the question to be more on topic. Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 14:59

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