I came across this question:


The title seemed innocent enough, but the bulk of the question seems like the answer they want is a software recommendation. But they obfuscate their off-topic-ness by simply stating "what I'm actually looking for is a means of finding a software recommendation."

I don't know if we approve of off-topic-ception (an off-topic question within a potentially off-topic question), but how do we handle questions regarding online research when it's general? Do those fall under learning material?

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    My thoughts on that are that they are off-topic (questions regarding how to search the Internet), because the Internet is not a piece of software or hardware one has in their computer (hence off-topic on SU). For the webapps stack that would be acceptable, I would assume. – Doktoro Reichard Oct 14 '13 at 23:45
  • As for the question itself, it seems like a product recommendation, with 2 weak prepositions (looking alike another program and being open-source) – Doktoro Reichard Oct 14 '13 at 23:51
  • @Moses - If a question is written in such a way where the author actually says they are looking for a software recommendation I flag for moderation for that exact reason. – Ramhound Oct 15 '13 at 11:31

Software recommendations are off-topic no matter how you dress them up. The VTC option gives a good reason why:

Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly.

In this particular case, it's a software recommendation and should be closed. Asking about how to do something (besides searching the internet) is on-topic. See these two meta questions/answers for more details:

How do I ask a question that may require recommending software?

How do I recommend software in my answers?

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At the StackExchange network, we now have Software Recommendations site in public beta, which is quite healthy and can be definitely recommended.

So you can flag the question as off-topic and recommend the user to check at softwarerecs.stackexchange.com (and add that AFTER they find nothing, they can post their question there).

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