Most Stack Exchange site get their share of poll and list (shopping or otherwise) questions. (“What are all the fidgets that warble mildly?” “Where can I find tutorials about stambolgification?“ “Which zonkificatorizifier do you use?” “Where can I buy a green guzzillinner 3001?”) Most Stack Exchange sites reject them because they don't work in the Stack Exchange format: they invite collections of items arranged any old how, as opposed to answers that cover the subject.

In the old days, we could use not a real close reason question. Then there was not constructive, which, as misunderstood as it was (and good riddance to it on that account), had the advantage that it included “will likely solicit (…) polling” in its explanation.

Now there is too broad (“too many possible answers”) and also primarily opinion-based. But the two do not cover the whole gamut of polling questions. Too many possible answers puts the burden on proof on the closer (“What do you mean there are too many tutorials on doing password verification in Java script? Let people answer, and if there are indeed dozens of answers then you can come back and close it!”). There's even the yes/no variant (“I just want to know if one exists, as soon as I have one answer the question is fully answered, it can't possibly be too broad”). Primarily opinion-based doesn't apply to list questions which do not ask to express subjective preference (“I'm not asking what your favorite interpretative dance about time-traveling robots is, I just want a complete list of them/to know if one exists.” “Just make it community wiki.”)

What close reason can we use for requests for links or other items when there is no subjectivity in the inclusion criteria?

A per-site close reason isn't a solution — this is an issue on all sites across all topics.

  • 1
    "Off topic > Other..." seems the only fit at the moment. SO has an off-topic close reason "Questions asking us to recommend a tool, library or favorite off-site resource..." which may fit some of the situations you've discussed. Jun 28, 2013 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


Stack Overflow has the following close reason listed under off-topic:

Questions asking us to recommend a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Stack Overflow as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.

It was modified from the original, which didn't mention off-site resources. This was added to cover book and tutorial recommendation questions.

  • 5
    So every site other than Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science should get their own custom off-topic reason? That seems a trifle suboptimal. Jun 28, 2013 at 14:18
  • @Gilles The template could be modified to include off-site resources, then moderators on those two sites could disable that close reason if they welcome these types of questions. Jun 28, 2013 at 14:20

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