As well as being against stackoverflow rules these 'best tool' question are a real pain.

They are rarely current and often have answers (such as my own) that can't possibly be objective.

Because I'm a tool developer, in the past I've felt compelled either to answer such questions or correct/update existing answers that reference my products. This was a mistake - I should have been flagging these questions for closure (but that itself would have had a COI element to it).

Such stackoverflow questions now often rank higher on search engines than the products their answers reference, this is just wrong.

I've noticed some of these questions are now being closed, but closing is not enough because they will be showing dated and misleading information in search engine results.

I'm all for products being mentioned in answers, so long as it's within the context of a good question.


There's 'Conflict of interest' all over this question of course. It's kind of damned if you do... If such questions were removed then my main product would most likely be reached directly from a search result listing, whereas right now its reached via a stackoverflow question (because it's actually referenced in the first line of the question).

[Update - one year on]

Noticed today that more traffic on my website is coming direct from Google rather than via a Stackoverflow 'best tool' question - the question has been deleted, good job...hoping that further deletions of 'best tool' questions will follow - perhaps before next year.

  • 1
    I like closed / locked, and the "this question isn't a good example..." disclaimer at the top, but the questions are useful, even if they are off-topic, and often dated. In my opinion, deleting them does more harm than good to the site, once the above steps are taken.
    – agf
    Sep 22, 2011 at 19:21
  • How do I find those? Do I search for "best tool"?
    – user102937
    Sep 22, 2011 at 20:01
  • 1
    @agf - if they're useful for historic purposes, perhaps they can be archived so they can just be searched from stackexchange, but should they really be turning up at the top of search engine results?
    – pgfearo
    Sep 22, 2011 at 20:12
  • @Robert Harvey - the title sets the tone of the question, so use 'title:' as a prefix before putting in words like 'best' or 'prefer' and then use further keywords to narrow it down
    – pgfearo
    Sep 22, 2011 at 20:27
  • These questions are useful in that they validate why that "historical reasons" lock option is even there in the first place. Other than that, none.
    – random
    Sep 22, 2011 at 20:38


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