I'm about to start building a new app, and am wondering which stack site is most suited to asking questions about best options for my requirements. For example, if I were to need HTML parsing but didn't yet know of the great combo of Python and BeautifulSoup, where would I go to ask that question? Stack Overflow? Programmers?


Thanks for the responses. To follow up just a bit, since this is meta, I'm wondering whether there needs to be some place for this kind of questioning. I can search all I want, taking stabs in the dark with a partially-formed idea, not knowing which path is a good one to follow. But if I could ask a question---in a community that welcomes it---that asks about some possible routes to follow for a particular problem, it would be helpful.

With my particular question right now I'm not yet sure which language to choose, whether I need a web app framework or should use built-in capabilities, etc. Being able to benefit from others' experience, as a guide on what to research, would be helpful.

At the same time, I do understand the ideology here that desires answerable questions, not open-ended ones, so it would still require care to ask questions that could be comprehensibly answered.

  • Ask about the specific problem you are trying to solve, and not about tools/libraries recommendations. Recommendations will appear in answers naturally. – yannis Dec 1 '12 at 20:54
  • my issue right now is that the specific problem is still pretty general in terms of my ideas of an appropriate technology path (language, framework, ?). but i will think about how to frame it as a question in this vain. – mix Dec 2 '12 at 6:26

which stack site is most suited to asking questions about best options for my requirements

Non of them.

Asking for options is globally considered as shopping questions on the Stack Exchange network.

In the FAQs this falls under the Chatty, open-ended part.


I would say that unless your question can be narrowed down to:

I am trying to accomplish X in a certain language, but this is not possible with the native libraries. Is there a way for me to accomplish this?

it is probably not a good idea to ask it on SO. Certainly a question that polls for the "best" library for a job is likely to be blammed as NARQ.

The best way to find out about this sort of thing, however, is to simply use a search engine. You can also look into open source software that is similar to yours, and see what libraries they used to accomplish a certain task.

Note: As Bill has pointed out, by specifying that you are looking for libraries, you are limiting the problem space unnecessarily. A snippet that solves your problem using native tools is no less valuable to you than a library. With this in mind, it is probably best to not mention libraries at all when you ask your question, and simply state what you are trying to achieve.

  • 3
    Better still to just ask how to do the task in the language instead of explicitly asking for a library. By asking how to do the task your question is open to code and library solutions. If a library exists, then it will surely be among the top answers. Asking for a library limits the range of responses. – Bill the Lizard Dec 1 '12 at 21:41
  • @BilltheLizard I think that is the best approach. – user200500 Dec 1 '12 at 21:44
  • understood on the libraries. – mix Dec 2 '12 at 6:27

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