Today I came across this post that was, basically, asking for a library.

It was closed and OP wanted to know why, so I posted in the comments explaining that questions asking for Libraries aren't really the best type for StackOverflow, hence being close-voted.

However, follow-up comments from OP seem to suggest that he couldn't find anything in the FAQ regarding questions about libraries. Searching the FAQ for "library" or "libraries" yields 0 results.

Basically, can we have clearer information in the StackOverflow FAQ regarding questions for libraries? I feel a little sorry for people like OP who feel (legitimately) that their question could be useful for future visitors but have had it closed because of the voting system options.

I'd like to be able to point to somewhere specifically (and officially) in the FAQ that says the following:

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.

  • 1
    Well technically, it's not written that asking for a library is on-topic, hence I'd say it's not necessary to have a catalog what's off-topic. Also it always comes down to the individual question, it can be okay to ask for a library (if you're really specific) - stackoverflow.com/help/on-topic (I know that question, OP was basically asking XML/CSV framework X which library? - a bit broad, e.g. why does SPLFileObject not work? Nobody knows) – hakre Jul 4 '13 at 15:53
  • @ha According to the above link, we have a generic 'whitelist' of questions allowed, and a much more specific 'blacklist' of questions that aren't allowed on this page. I'd count libraries as a specifically disallowed question type that should be put on the blacklist. Otherwise, I don't see how a programmer wouldn't see library questions as on-topic (see OP's comments for "a library being just like an include or function" etc). – James Jul 4 '13 at 15:59
  • well if you ask for a library, you're most certainly asking the wrong question, isn't it? It's just like asking for code. Or for getting something programmed. Just camouflaged. See the OPs question, he writes it himself: "I could have written that my own" or similar he writes. – hakre Jul 4 '13 at 16:03
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    Maybe, to some. I feel that it should be clearer in our FAQ that questions for libraries aren't within scope :) – James Jul 4 '13 at 16:07

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