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There are absolutely loads of payment gateways out there, and I'd like a comprehensive list of them. There's already a question asking for the "best" ones, What is the best credit card processing service? and another asking for ones suitable for a charity Can anyone recommend a payment gateway for a charity website?.

Would such a question be on topic? And would it need to be CW? The obvious way to do it is to have one CW answer and edit all other answers into it. I don't know whether the question itself should be CW, or just the main answer.

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List questions are generally off-topic everywhere in the SE network. –  Robert Harvey Jul 12 '11 at 17:15
I wouldn't think of this as a "shopping list", because I wasn't asking about benefits/advantages/the "best". Just a comprehensive list. –  TRiG is Timothy Richard Green Jul 12 '11 at 17:17
Fixed my comment. :) –  Robert Harvey Jul 12 '11 at 17:18
These type questions are also localized in time. They're only useful for a short lifespan, then are only worth misleading or misinforming. –  Won't Jul 12 '11 at 17:34
@Won't But isn't that true for all questions in Stack Overflow? Libraries, frameworks and APIs getting deprecated/obsolete, new versions and languages come out, syntax of the languages changes, etc. Eventually all answers become outdated. –  Calmarius Aug 15 '13 at 15:24
@Calmarius: And eventually this too shall pass. The question is where to draw the line. This is where we draw it now. –  Won't Aug 15 '13 at 15:55
A new SE is now available for just this sort of thing: softwarerecs.stackexchange.com –  JYelton Feb 26 at 4:21
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1 Answer

up vote 15 down vote accepted

There's nothing inherently wrong with your "I need a comprehensive list" question; It's just that we specifically forgo asking these types of questions because they are not a good fit for this type of Q&A site.

Stack Exchange is well-suited to asking very specific questions that represent real problems you encounter in your day-to-day work. A big part of that process is asking very long-tailed questions; the kind where folks with specific expertise in the subject can propose the best possible answer, which is then voted on so the best possible answers rise to the top.

Asking everyone to contribute to a large bucket of answers means that it stops being a question of specific expertise and becomes a "poll" of the community. For right or for wrong, answer start accumulating and people start voting on what they recognize as familiar, rather than vetting the relative merits of each answer. Often there are too many entries to even know what anyone is contributing anymore. It doesn't even matter; There's usually no expectation that any one answer will be better than any other.

What I am saying is that the Big List breaks down the whole premise of why we created these sites in the first place — to vet and deem the information contained in the post as useful. Marking a question as "community wiki" does not take away from the inherent randomness of the discussion that becomes the thread.

This isn't a personal attack on the value of asking these questions. There just might be — and that's a big "might" — a value in just having the list, but creating these "polls" is simply not what we do here.

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Which is why I was thinking having just one editable answer and adding all other responses to that answer would be the way to go. –  TRiG is Timothy Richard Green Jul 13 '11 at 9:43
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