I was told lately that in somebody opinion "list of something and why" does not belong to SO. Well in my opinion they do but that is up to community to decide so I'm asking:

  1. Do questions of type "please list existing technologies to solve this problem and the reasons why to use/not use some of them" belong to Stack Overflow?
  2. If they do not belong there where to which other SO site they do belong ?
  3. Or they should not asked ?

I was also told that they might belong to programers, but I don't really see the difference between SO and programers (consider this a subquestion). Why was it created ? In my case it just confuses me - I don't know where to put my questions.

Here is the link to the relevant question at SO.

EDIT: Yes, I do think that the question asking for the most fitting technology should be asked with particular problem in mind and that problem should be described there. Or at least some criteria or needs for the technology should be provided (maybe you do not wish to state the problem or you might have needs depending on your skills...).


5 Answers 5


You usually shouldn't ask questions deliberately trying to build a list. Many of these repositories lack high quality, requiring maintenance that never gets done.

Instead, try asking a question on how to solve the problem you have. If there are existing technologies or applications that will do the job, they will naturally come in the form of answers. But in this fashion, each individual answer provides a conclusion to your problem.

Or, if your interest is in more about how certain technologies compare, ask how those technologies compare. Give us something that we can provide an analysis of, rather than just a shopping list.

  • +1 exactly. That was exactly my case and that is also what I did.
    – Rasto
    Feb 18, 2011 at 18:28
  • "ask how those technologies compare" Don't these usually get closed on SO? Jul 31, 2014 at 13:32

This depends, in part, on the question. Some "list of X" questions do better than others. Building a list for the sake of building a list usually isn't very useful. It's better to let lists emerge naturally in answers to a particular problem.

The gist of the difference between Programmers and SO can be seen in their respective FAQs (Programmers.FAQ & SO.FAQ). Programmers is for discussions of subjective issues in software development. SO is for concrete, objective coding problems.

When in doubt, you can ask on the meta sites (Meta.SO and Meta.Programmers.SE) if your question would be on topic before asking it.

  • +1 I agree. The list should be build naturaly - question should be a demand of suggested technology for particular problem. I will add link to my original question.
    – Rasto
    Feb 18, 2011 at 18:30

I asked a Meta Super User question recently that I think is relevant. This question is broader, but the key theme is applicable:

Instead of asking for a list of Xes, ask how to build your own list of Xes.

If the community generates a list for you, well, that's great immediately, but not much learning occurs. The best situation is for the community to explain what goes into making a list, and throwing in some recommendations with justification.

So, to answer you: yes, "please list existing technologies to solve this problem and the reasons why to use/not use some of them" [sic] questions are appropriate.


The problem with your question

Aspect Oriented Programing (AOP) solutions for C# (.Net) and their features

Is that it runs afoul of the "is this an actual problem you face?" rule. As stated, it is just a meandering, wide-open discussion.


You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page. To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here. If your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK.

  • That is not the case of that question! I have exact problem to solve: I want to start personal project just for fun and I wanted to write it in C# but I thought that for this particular project AOP would be usefull. Well so I spend 2 hours browsing internet but was only confused and not neerer to the answer of question what I am going to use - so I asked and clearly stated my preferences. In which part that does not complain with faq ? It is practical, based on actual problem. Well maybe it is not completely answerable as new solutions may come - but I don't care: I will accept the first
    – Rasto
    Feb 20, 2011 at 8:47
  • answer that suggest solution that fullfills all requirements in my question. That will be the answer to my real problem...
    – Rasto
    Feb 20, 2011 at 8:49

In my opinion, such questions belong to SO (or at least somewhere :) ). Reasons:

  • the answer to the question of what technology to use is sometimes the most important thing in your development process. When you choose right, sometimes it allows you to easily create great pieces of software, while choosing anything else would mean failure of the project. And the goal of SO is "better software."
  • such questions and answers are likely to become comprehensive lists of technology related to some problem; therefore, the answers will be reused by many other people (and they are easy to find using Google).
  • often no such list exists. And when something like that is created at SO it is done by people who understand it, it can be edited and anybody can add new options.
  • 1
    Can you explain the down vote please ?
    – Rasto
    Feb 20, 2011 at 8:35
  • Because lists do not answer real questions. Even if we grant "what technology to use" is "the most important thing" (which is highly dubious), providing a list of technologies does not say which one to use. Lists do not "become comprehensive"; they get out of date very quickly and are not maintained. Just because a list does not exist is not a good reason to make such a list; I remember someone asking for a list of all internet domains; do you think that would be a good question? Dec 6, 2012 at 18:12

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