I'd like to ask on SO for pointers to online resources about a very specific topic (in order to replace a now obsolete resource I commonly use), but I fear this doesn't comply with SO guidelines on subjective/links questions since the answers would probably be almost link-only answers. The question would be something like

"do you know about any free online resource that can replace this (link will follow) and is reliable and up to date?"

Any suggestions? Thanks!


To clarify why I have doubts that the answers will be too much opinionated.

I'd like to ask this:

Do you know about a free online resource that lists in an exhaustive way which identifiers are reserved in C and C++ and can possibly replace this? The resource should be reliable and up to date, and possibly still maintained.

Asking a similar question without asking for the external resource will probably trigger answers with the citations of the standards (which I already know). I wouldn't want a way to know what the standards say, but the same information in list form (that's why I found that now obsolete resource very useful). I don't know either if it would be appropriate to reformulate the question to ask for a list of such identifiers to be "homegrown" in a SO thread.

  • It would almost certainly be off-topic. Likely because they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam.
    – devnull
    Sep 25, 2013 at 10:42
  • @juergend thanks for the pointer, it confirms some of my fears, but I still have some doubts, since I'm not going to ask for a simple recommendation, but for a very specific resource, but probably the pattern is the same. Sep 25, 2013 at 10:42
  • Was that resource really more complete, reliable and up-to-date than all of the version-specific official documentation? I don't know C++ by the way, but I found that resource in about a quarter of a second with very obvious search terms, no tricks, and without asking an entire community for their opinions.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Sep 25, 2013 at 11:18
  • Why would you ask a site that is full of technical knowledgeable people for where you can go elsewhere to get answers to stuff? That's like going into Nandos and asking where you can go to get some some spicy chicken.
    – JonW
    Sep 25, 2013 at 11:19
  • @AaronBertrand I wouldn't want to discuss the details of why I found that specific resource useful because probably isn't appropriate on Meta, but just to clarify that I didn't intend to bother people with "doing my homework", that resource has reference to the standards and other advantages (among which it is not MS-backed, which nowadays for C is a plus). Sep 25, 2013 at 11:28
  • @JonW That's why I asked here on Meta instead of putting that question directly on SO. I'm fairly new to SO, so I felt something was wrong with my question, but at the same time I felt it was something worth asking (maybe not on SO, or not in that way, though). Since in another post on Meta I was adviced by a moderator to ask for help here on meta if I had doubts, that's what I did. Sep 25, 2013 at 11:33

3 Answers 3


No, how niche the topic is does not change the game. The question will still generate the same kind of responses we don't want here (how would you select the "right " answer, anyway?) and will serve as yet another example of a question that breaks the rules -this helps people defend asking their own off-topic or opinion-based or shopping list questions. "That guy ran a red light, officer, so I thought I could too!"

Why don't you just ask detailed question(s) about the very specific topic? If it's that hard to find yourself (I assume you've searched on your own, and I'm not sure why you expect other community members to be better at searching, or know magic sites that search engines ignore) and the info is valuable, why can't your question(s) become that valuable online resource you seek?

  • I know the guidelines on questions that will attract favourites/opinions, the fact is that I think my questions won't attract too much opinions. I'd have specified the exact question in this thread to be clearer, but I wasn't sure it was appropriate. May I? Sep 25, 2013 at 10:52
  • @Lorenzo as long as you don't imply that you want us to answer it here (which you clearly don't) giving the actual example is fully appropriate (and helpful) Sep 25, 2013 at 11:00
  • @RichardTingle Thanks! Edited the question to be clearer. Sep 25, 2013 at 11:11
  • 2
    @Lorenzo again, how many opinions it attracts is irrelevant, and you also seem to be missing one of the tenets of SO - your answer(s) would be up-to-date today, but would they be useful to future visitors? Certainly not, if the new resource disappears like the old one did. When that happens, the question and its answer become a useless pile of, well, you know...
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Sep 25, 2013 at 11:13
  • @AaronBertrand Ok, thanks! And I suppose that reformulating the question so as to create such a list on SO (community-wiki?) would also trigger the "too-broad" flag. Sep 25, 2013 at 11:17
  • @Lorenzo correct. There are a few historical exceptions but these are not the type of questions that are a good fit here. And as I demonstrated, you can get your own answer faster by searching than waiting for a bunch of opinions anyway.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Sep 25, 2013 at 11:19

No, that would be the very definition of "asking to recommend a tool, library or favourite of site resource"

These are off topic primarily because they quickly become outdated and elicit opinion and discussion rather than "correct" answers.

Additionally; your particular question relies on a link to make sense, which is another bad sign for a question. A question can have links to give additional information but must be able to stand without them


It doesn't matter if the topic is very specific or not. The idea behind StackOverflow is to be the resource for real-life programming problems, and not the collection of links to resources (many of that links become no longer available after some time).

StackOverflow is so good because you are finding the answers directly here. If the answers are somewhere else, why to visit the StackOverflow, only to click the link? It's also frustrating to find in google the site with questions exactly matching your own, only to find out, that there are only some links to external sites, which either doesn't exist or provide you with some hardly useful information (official APIs etc.).

Don't give link-only answers as well. If you want to contribute, contribute with code samples explaining the way something need to be done, or with technical expertise/explanation. It takes more time but it makes StackOverflow a better place in internet.

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