Stack Overflow has such a policy (link):

Questions asking us to recommend or find a book, tool, software library, tutorial or other off-site resource are off-topic for Stack Overflow as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.

Should this site have a similar policy?


3 Answers 3


I believe we should disallow these questions, for the same reasons as Stack Overflow disallows them. Questions seeking recommendations are too opinion-based to be useful for our Q&A format, and questions just asking for links to resources can be answered without opinions but the answers cannot reasonably be voted on except based on people's opinions about the linked resources.

Instead, we should encourage questions to ask about the problem which the off-site resource is meant to solve. Then, answerers can feel free to link to off-site resources if they are relevant to solving that problem, or there may also be other ways to address the problem which don't involve off-site resources.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How are you supposed to ask about different parsing libraries then? You can't "ask about the problem which the off-site resource is meant to solve" in this case. $\endgroup$
    – Seggan
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 15:29
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Seggan A question seeking links or recommendations for parsing libraries or parser generators would be off-topic, so if it can't be rephrased to not be asking for links or recommendations then it shouldn't be asked. Questions asking about those things could be on-topic, e.g. how to represent a particular grammar in ANTLR or Chumsky. $\endgroup$
    – kaya3
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 15:32

discourage rather than disallow

I broadly agree with @kaya3's answer particularly:

  1. We should document the site policy
  2. We should encourage questions to ask about the problem

The reasons for disallowing recommendation questions on SO include:

  • recommendations change with time
  • they are like list questions
  • they require or encourage multiple answers

I think discourage rather than disallow because:

  • Well written recommendation questions have their place.
  • Especially as we are a site that specifically allows multiple answers.
  • softwarerecs only covers software, we might recommend relevant literature or specific implementations to study

Questions about prior art also have a similar format. For example paraphrasing:

I am writing a language to explore XYZ. What existing languages use mechanisms like Q for P in this domain?

But with a bit more effort than that specific example.

  • $\begingroup$ Agreed on questions about prior art ─ these are useful for the site, they aren't seeking recommendations, and answers won't become outdated as new things get invented. $\endgroup$
    – kaya3
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 9:25

I think we need to allow resources questions.

But why?

  • I think the resources questions is also for books, and books can improve users (people) on this site.

  • Also the resources questions can be about some tools, so some new programming languages can improved by this tools.

So, I think we need to allow resources questions.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You're going to need a better reason than that. $\endgroup$
    – The Thonnu
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 14:28
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ We are not Stack Overflow. We are not StackOverflow на русском. Some other site having a policy is not a reason to adopt the same policy. However, other sites reasons for having a policy may apply to use as well, or they might not. $\endgroup$
    – mousetail
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ @mousetail I edit. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 14:34

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