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"What's the best program/service to do whatever?"

"What are the most used whatever for this?"

A quite common type of question that's usually closed by mods. Any chance a stack is made specifically for that? Some place one can ask what's the best way to solve a problem but instead of repliers describing the solution, they suggest a program/service/whatever that can do it for him. It could be aimed at any kind of person who's looking for a new service provider to replace his current.

If this grows big a developer can have an idea what are the most request features/services that don't exist yet.

Example: I'm looking for something that can organize my tasks like a to-do list but online. It helps if it has some kind of feature that shows my progress graphically in the most complex tasks.

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marked as duplicate by ben is uǝq backwards, hims056, Rory, Martijn Pieters, Hugo Dozois Jun 15 '13 at 16:32

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

You can always check Area51.Stackexchange.Com to see if one is in progress or has launched. – Brian Jun 10 '11 at 13:28
I guess that's more appropriate to place this proposal. Thank you! – Renan Jun 10 '11 at 13:40
I don't think shopping questions will ever be on topic anywhere on SE. – Won't Jun 10 '11 at 14:06
Should anyone be interested I created the suggestion at Area 51: – Renan Jun 10 '11 at 14:28
I've closed that proposal, and I think the reactions here to your post pretty much summarize why. Some posts would just be shopping questions (i.e., unwanted), and the rest should be asked on a sites dedicated to their topic. – Dori Jun 11 '11 at 7:53

Why not just avoid the problematic nature of such questions in the first place?

If your question is:

What's the best program/service to do X?

Then instead just ask:

How do I do X?

If the best way to do X is to use a particular program/service, you know what will happen? You'll get the best program/service to do X! If the best way is a different approach that's even better than a particular program/service, then you'll get that instead and will be better off.

Essentially, the answers you'll ideally get from the second question will be a superset that contains all of the answers of the first, with the potential to have more. And past that, it's also in the state where its answers are not items, that whole "Real Questions have Answers" no longer biting you. You'll be getting solutions to your problem.

When I first joined Stack Overflow, the one thing I needed was "the ability to mark up PDFs with a dynamic watermark that could not be edited by users who read the PDF, but I could programmatically change without needing to keep a dummy copy of an unwatermarked PDF". I was a bit scared of coding it up myself, I'd never even worked with PDF files at all in the past and I figured a 3rd party utility was up my creek. Nevertheless, I asked a question on how to do it. First answer I got was a piece of software. It worked brilliantly, although we never got to implement it due to everything else in the project taking precedence. I also learned how it all works, too, but the service was the big prize.

Fact is, if the best option is a provider, you'll get that if you just ask for the service you need.

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I edited the idea a bit to enlighten the purpose of a new stack. It could save some time googling for whatever could offer a solution and also give developers a source to plan new programs according to what everyone's looking for. – Renan Jun 10 '11 at 13:39
@Renan If you just ask what you're looking for, people will be able to plan according to that as well. It saved me the time Googling when I did it. Multiple times, in fact, I've gotten lots of 3rd party suggestions that saved me the trouble of needing to implement things by hand. I'm not going to stop you suggesting on Area 51, by the way - but my answer here remains as a general suggestion when you can ask these questions like this. It saves a whole lot of trouble on all sides. – Grace Note Jun 10 '11 at 13:41
That's a good help for us who works with technology but isn't a good help for the average person. I mean anyone could use a stack to get service suggestions, right? – Renan Jun 10 '11 at 13:45
@Renan I was kinda explaining that if you just ask for the service, you'll get a service suggestion. When there are applicable 3rd party utilities, you certainly can get them as suggestions. We're not restricted to telling you "You have to code it like this", we've done a whole lot of "Why not try this software? It does exactly what you need." – Grace Note Jun 10 '11 at 13:46
@Renan I'll use Gaming as an example. We're gamers. We don't code. We don't want to write some kind of complex program to learn something like "record the game I'm playing" which sounds simple to us. So we just ask how to record gameplay. Look at the answers we got. – Grace Note Jun 10 '11 at 13:50
I'm not sure that's enough. Let's try the example given in the first post. In which stack community can I ask about an online program featuring a goal organizer with a graphic displaying progress? – Renan Jun 10 '11 at 13:51
@Renan I'd suggest Project Management, if it's a productivity and project management sort of thing. If that's not the place to go, I'd skim the list of sites in Stack Exchange for a site that would address the scope you're asking within (Personal finance? Startup business task management?). If none exist, then do the same with Area 51 proposals. – Grace Note Jun 10 '11 at 13:52
Yea I guess that covers my problem. I'll take a look at that. Now back to this proposal, don't you think it'd be a lot easier if any question regarding the need of software or online service were all in one place? If a question is about an issue covered by an existing stack it could be moved, like mine probably would be to Project Management. – Renan Jun 10 '11 at 13:58
@Renan Not really, I don't think it'd be easier, because of the whole reasons why we dislike those kinds of questions in the first place. I'm not really keen on the whole "Let's make a site in engine to handle all those questions that we don't want on our sites because of our engine." It'd also be too broad in my eyes, too open in nature. – Grace Note Jun 10 '11 at 14:01

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