Mostly on Super User, but not exclusively - there's a lot of these "Must have foos for bar" style questions that are getting huge amounts of answers while the actual useful technical questions that would help people out in a jam are languishing.

I suspect that a lot of it is reputation and/or badge farming, but it's making the Stack Overflow family of sites less and less useful.

Anyone got any ideas on a way to clean them up?

  • I did look for dupes - must not have been using the right keywords to trigger that one
    – Rob Cowell
    Sep 11, 2009 at 8:48
  • 1
    Maybe you have used the wrong search engine ;) google.de/… Sep 11, 2009 at 9:02
  • 1
    Should I have to use a search engine? When entering a question, shouldn't the StackExchange engine pick it up in the "Similar Questions" feature ?
    – Rob Cowell
    Sep 11, 2009 at 9:08
  • 3
    You are so naive! ;-) No, you do not have to use Google. But don't be surprised you missed a dupe, if you don't do it :) Sep 11, 2009 at 9:21

3 Answers 3


Although these questions can be annoying and really noise, they can be helpful and useful.

I have found a few gems in the "Must Have" Mac OS X Software question, and I am sure others have as well. At least in this case, these questions can be helpful for new users to a particular platform

  • +1 I adapted my answer to include keeping the valuable one's as CW. They are rare however but definite gems. Sep 11, 2009 at 8:41

They are being cleaned up. The one's that are there are legacy and kept for historical reasons and avoid a complete set of repeats. I have monitored this for the last month when I am online and there is maybe one of these once a week, if as much.

If there is one that will add value we will keep it on the site as a CW.

In Short - I don't see the problem with regards to new questions?

If they really bother you flag it for moderator attention or vote to close. If the concern is legit the community will close them quickly enough.

  • As a compromise without resorting to flagging (which I consider better suited to offensive posts or spam), I've added the "subjective" tag to my ignored list, which is helping sort the wheat from the chaff.
    – Rob Cowell
    Sep 11, 2009 at 9:10
  • 2
    Without it being flagged for moderator attention we will never know about it. Use them. That's what they are there for. Spam and Offensive posts are handled automatically and not by the moderators. Sep 11, 2009 at 9:11

One of the most voted "must have" questions from SuperUser: https://superuser.com/questions/1241/what-are-some-must-have-windows-programs is now illustrating why such thing doesn't match to the SOFU sites.

Sure, it works good for the first two pages, and you have a list of useful software. But with now soon 10 pages, you realize that it's not working anymore. It is really hard to know what was already said or not, and either way, new additions will remain lost at the end, because only a few people will both to look at all pages and vote. Most will see the first page, see their usual programs, eventually add to their scores, but it doesn't matter. People claimed such questions provide a dynamic and evolving list, but this is not true. All you have is a page of most useful software, which won't move anymore.

This question has become a perfect illustration of the reason why such questions are not working on SOFU sites. Even a successful one like that is bound to be only a page of preferred programs, then regular bumps with programs which will never get votes, due to the fact that these sites are not really appropriate for answers on several pages.

  • I've seen others being closed by Jeff et al as "no longer relevant".
    – Arjan
    Jan 13, 2010 at 13:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .