I know that this has been covered before (for example here), but communities evolve constantly and our current view on this matter can be different.
In my humble opinion, software-rec should be burninated. It's quite a big job (~1100 questions), but we've already cleaned up tags that were that big.
We don't accept software recommendation questions. There's a dedicated close reason just for them. Why do we have a tag for questions that should never exist? We're encouraging users to post them. Some people don't read what's on topic, they will see this tag and happily use it. Then they will be surprised the question was closed. Others will be confused, because help explicitly disallows software-rec questions. We're sending mixed signals.
Historical significance has been brought up previously. Yes, [software-rec] is historically significant, but so are other obsolete tags. We're burninating them, because they have only historical significance and are now obsolete. I remember some thousand-question tags were cleaned up previously. This one isn't any better. It's one of the worst ones.
It categorizes low-quality posts that should otherwise never exist. We don't have tags for development questions, web apps, corporate problems and rants, why would we have one for software recommendations?
Tag wiki says:
[software-rec] deals with all questions referring to recommendations for software or applications for particular purposes that will run on the local computer
While help states that
[SU] is not about...
- asking for a product, service or learning material recommendation
The rest of the tag wiki has it completely wrong:
When writing a question looking for specific software recommendations, make sure to include an aspect that can be objectively measured, for example:
- performance (execution speed)
- feature richness
- compatibility with hardware or other software
- free and open source vs. paid and closed source
- et cetera
Well, you shouldn't write a question looking for software recommendation in the first place. The rest doesn't make much sense too, I'll just copy this bit from my previous post on this topic:
Usability is highly subjective, feature richness is a part of almost every single software-rec question and doesn't make it non-software-rec. The latter two encourage questions like Skype alternative which is open source and lets you call phone numbers? or What is the best Paint-like program for Mac OS X? and as you can see, those are getting closed as software recommendations/not constructive. Likewise with performance, I'm sure question titled "Faster alternative to KDE" (or something like that) would end up closed too.
Both questions I have linked are now gone.
A dedicated site for software recommendations is in beta. I know that SE sites sometimes overlap slightly (for example SU and Ask Ubuntu, SU and Ask Different, Ask Ubuntu and Linux/Unix), but it's not the case here. There's entire site for questions people file on SU under this tag just to have them closed. It doesn't make sense.
Of the top 30 questions filed under [software-rec]: (Judged just by quick glance, but approximately accurate)
- Some should probably be removed as obvious software-rec questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 (no. 5 even has a comment saying that it's a valid question)
- Some should be removed or edited to ask for solution, not for software: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A
- 14 remaining questions are still legitimate after removing [software-rec] tag. They don't need it. Nobody will search for them using that tag and they won't be any worse without it.
What do you guys think? Should we kill it with fire or let it gather some more useless questions?