My question: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/10917863/multidimensional-function-maximisation-library-for-f-net-in-general#comment14245953_10917863

was just closed as off-topic because it asks for a recommendation. I can't see however how it is different from these questions:

Also I think that the rules prohibiting asking for recommendations are a bit extreme. What is wrong in asking about free/open source software, that in itself is "making Internet a better place", and certainly is not used for profit generation by any party. I understand that things will change in time, but this is true for most questions about actively developed technology.

So my questions are

  1. Why does SO employ multiple standards
  2. Why are recommendations not welcome here?

3 Answers 3


Word of advice: Do not use word recommendation in your posts as people will flag your post just based on that. Ask for specific things that (in your case) library should contain without soliciting recommendation. In my view the main reason for disallowing recommendations is to avoid getting spammed by marketing guys who try to promote their products. I hope this helps you.

And do not be discouraged most of people here have gotten their posts flagged for exactly the same reasons. I have personally gotten carried away a few times and asked for a "recommendation" for problem I was dealing with.

  • So people use scripts to autoflag questions containing the text "recommendation"?
    – Calmarius
    Aug 15, 2013 at 15:14
  • 5
    I find it disappointing that Stack Overflow has opted for such a rigid policy over this.
    – Adamski
    Oct 16, 2013 at 8:45

The first thing to remember is that Stack Overflow is not a Recommendation Engine (now deleted, 10K only).

Questions like that may have been tolerated in the past (the samples you gave are all old), but it is fair to say that it is policed a lot tighter these days. Basically, asking for recommendations seldom leads to good concise answers (as people debate the merits of the answer), or it can lead to many answers (because there could be many equally good or correct options).

  • 3
    I understand, but you haven't really explained WHY.
    – Grzenio
    Jun 7, 2012 at 11:33
  • 2
    @Grzenio It's because questions like that don't lend themselves to good definitive answers, and the questions/answers don't necessarily age well (the info can go out of date). Some recommendation questions can be good, but the majority of them are not.
    – slugster
    Jun 7, 2012 at 12:19
  • 2
    Why is the link to this question broken? Is this rule no longer operational?
    – user140098
    Jul 10, 2012 at 19:35
  • @user140098 I don't think any link that leads to a picture of a keyboard waffle iron can ever be called 'broken'. Maybe 'irrelevant', but again, keyboard waffle iron is always relevant. How about we settle for 'unexpected'?
    – root
    Aug 15, 2013 at 13:25
  • @root You are right :) For users >10K the question is still there, below that you get the 404 / waffle iron.
    – slugster
    Aug 15, 2013 at 14:24
  • In the past I've found that I do get a good range of informative answers and haven't seen much spam from people marketing their own product.
    – Adamski
    Oct 16, 2013 at 8:41

For the casual, the type of question described by OP may be asked here at Software Recommandations.

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