Most of them are very straightforward candidates for lmgtfy-like answer, but sometimes it's not quite simple: even the search term to start with is difficult to guess (that's especially true with the freshest techs).

The problem, as I see it, is that the good answer on those is essentially a link-only answer, and link-only answers are bad (by many reasons).

So should these questions be closed? If so, what reason to choose? The questions are NOT about opinions/recommendations: it's not about the best tutorials - any will do, usually.


3 Answers 3


Such questions should still be closed as

Questions asking us to recommend or find 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.

Just because its not looking for the best tutorial it is still looking for a tutorial which is an "off-site resource" recommendation

  • 1
    I agree that seems to be the closest one, but I find hard to believe 'as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam' is the true (and only) reason here.
    – raina77ow
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 1:05
  • 8
    @rain77bow Oh, they do. If you leave it open long enough someone will find it and post a useless spam answer there. It's inevitable.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 1:09
  • 1
    Isn't it the same with most of the highway questions? ) I mean, does asking for external resource matter that much?
    – raina77ow
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 1:10
  • @rain It has been found that such questions decend into a horrible mess; therefore that has been avoided by making them off topic. They don't have a definitive answer anyway so are a bad fit for the site Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 1:13

I mean, does asking for external resource matter that much? – raina77ow

These questions often go something like this...

Q: Where can I find a tutorial on X?
A: I've written a dozen blog entries about X check out my site here - link.

Basically the whole answer is a link, with a little shameless self promotion sprinkled on top.

Even if the question somehow doesn't attract a lot of self promotion, it will still at best end up as just a list of tangentially related tutorials, blogs, book recommendations, and so on...

Also note that no matter how you word these kinds of recommendation questions people will inevitably boil over into some non-constructive discussion about the pros and cons of the tutorials mentioned.
(To test this theory: mention w3schools w3fools and watch the sparks fly)

Rather than asking for a tutorial for X, just ask a specific question about X.

How do I W the X for Y and Z?


I would answer the questions and then vote to close it. If the answer is just one link, then I think it is better as a common.

If I think the answer will be useful to other people, (e.g a simple google does not find a good enough tutorial) I would up vote the question, so it does not get auto deleted once it is closed.

If there is a tag that covers X I would also update the tab wiki if needed to point to some good tutorials unless it is very easy for someone to find the tutorials with google. If the text in the tag wiki is written carefully, google will soon know where the tutorial lives.

  • Isn't the whole point of closing a question to prevent off topic answers? Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 20:36
  • As I understand the problem with these questions is that there are 101 possible “best” answers. So we need to stop the question before it gets lots of answers AND help the person that asked the question. Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 22:02

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