I see an uncertainty in the help pages, esp. what's on topic, about software recommendations. While it says that question about "installation, configuration, and operation of hardware or software related to these topics" are welcome it is never explicitly stated whether recommendations of such software is on-topic or not. Strictly interpreted these are not on topic but I think for new users this detail is too easy to overlook (and every now and then we get such questions, which seems to prove that observation).

Additionally, when we close-vote on questions there is the option to choose: "Questions seeking product or service recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve." Software is either a product or a service (esp. web services, cloud web applications).

New users cannot see that this close vote option exists. They only learn afterwards that their question was not on topic. To avoid frustration I want to suggest to edit the help page and insert a clear statement about software recommendations and a hint that we have https://softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/ for such questions. Do you agree?

  • 1
    Why not just allow software recommendation questions? The reason you gave so far is the one about answers getting obsolete, but that's true of non-software-recomendation questions too. Dec 17, 2021 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


That's a good idea Matt - and one we have taken on many other sites.

I'd suggest using wording similar to that we have on Infosec.SE's on topic page in the Should I ask my question on another site? section. Maybe something like this:

As there are many sites in the Stack Exchange network, some questions that are only loosely security-related may be a better fit on a different site. If you're still unsure if you should ask your question on Information Security Stack Exchange, feel free to ask in our chat or on our meta site.

Below is a list of common question topics that may be a better fit for other sites. Before you post on another site, please read the particular site's help center to ensure your question is appropriate for that site.

Programming: If your question is about using a library or programming interface, you may ask it on Stack Overflow. The same applies if you need assistance implementing or debugging a particular piece of code. If you are looking for someone to review your code, ask on Code Review.

Using or configuring software/hardware:

Questions about usage of end-user tools/systems may belong on Super User or Unix & Linux as appropriate.

Recommendations: Software/library recommendations may be asked about at Software Recommendations.

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