This question looking for tips on a certain library for a specific function was closed as not constructive, with a comment "SO is not your research assistant".

As a long-time lurker starting to get more active on SO, I'm curious, in order to better learn the community standards, why this question was closed. Unless I'm completely remembering wrong, I've seen many questions asking for help finding or picking an appropriate library.

(Note this was NOT my question and I'm NOT arguing it should not have been closed.)


2 Answers 2


This type of question (i.e. asking for a list of things) is not a good fit for Stack Exchange sites.

Recommendation questions are not answerable: there is (usually) no right or wrong answer, everyone can have a different favorite.
The answers don't age well either: the "best" library do to X right now might be a really bad choice (or have much better alternatives) in a couple of month. So unless the answers are maintained by their authors or the community, the contents goes stale and people find outdated links, ranked by popularity X months ago, on Stack Overflow.

This is not desirable.

Search engines are pretty good at maintaining up to date lists of things. Wiki-type sites are also a good option for this type of information gathering (as long as they are well maintained). Stack Overflow, and the other Stack Exchange sites, not.

There are quite a few live questions of that type that are popular. Those are usually quite old (from a time when the community rules were a bit different), and while some of them are well maintained, others are honey-pots for SPAM and broken links.

  • 4
    @Ghopper21: If the "SO is not your research assistant" comment in the post in question were actually a link to a post that said essentially the above, would you have found that helpful? Would you have found it insulting, prickly or hostile? Would you still have created this meta post (not that creating the meta post was bad at all)? Jun 30, 2012 at 15:21
  • 1
    Three questions: (1) Yes. (2) No. (3) No.
    – Ghopper21
    Jun 30, 2012 at 22:22

We don't do recommendation questions here. Here's a blog post about "shopping recommendations" on SU.

SO is about real programming questions, with definite answers. Such recommendation questions don't have a single answer, and aren't exactly useful for future users (especially since such recommendations decay fast).

We used to allow such questions in Community Wiki form, but now we don't

Check out the text for the NC close reason:

We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

"What is a good..."-type questions easily fall under this.

The comment was in reference to a "What Stack Overflow is Not", post, which has been removed. That particular post just said that "we expect you to show that you have put some effort into solving the problem" (If you want, I can quote it for you, but I'd prefer not to). It probably was in response to the "gimme links" part of the post.

  • 1
    Yeah, I wondered if the "gimme links" part was relevant in this question being downvoted so strongly and closed.
    – Ghopper21
    Jun 30, 2012 at 12:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .