What's the general SO stance on questions that ask for script recommendations? Be it jquery plugin recommendations, like this one, or those that involve other programming languages or criteria. I think the question that I linked to is too localized, but what if it was more generalized?

Do these kinds of questions fit into the criteria described in the FAQ?

  • a specific programming problem - No
  • a software algorithm - No
  • software tools commonly used by programmers - Does packaged code count as a tool?
  • matters that are unique to the programming profession - iffy

I found this question on meta : How do you feel about "Help me with this jQuery plugin" type questions?

It's close but not exactly what I'm looking for.


I don't see any difference in asking about a js plug-in/script recommendation compared to asking about a c++ library. Those are tools you use every day to do even the most basic programs.

As I answered in the question you linked,(sic) "the problem is with the quality of the questions, not with the technology involved." If the question does not meet some other requirement (i.e., is too localised, or too subjective, etc.), then I would vote to close. But, if it shows the need for a specific task, shows previous research and a clear requirement for acceptance, then I would say it's on topic.

  • 1
    You're correct, that's why I don't usually close them as 'off topic' but rather as 'too localized' as they skirt the on topic criteria. The problem is that most of these types of questions don't show any of the other traits you mentioned. I've found great questions that ask recommendations/alternatives and the answers that appear are top notch, this question for example. I guess one solution would be to improve any salvageable questions and just close vote the rest. – JohnP Jun 8 '11 at 4:32
  • Yes, usually those plugins are useful for many people, but the question may not show that. Editing it to increase the target spectrum would be optimal. I do realise that it becomes a hard task, though. – Aleadam Jun 8 '11 at 5:20

I would like to see questions about what library or plug-in to use called out as off-topic, and closed.

The way I read the FAQ, these kinds of questions aren't specifically off topic, but they don't seem on topic either.

Consider the following:

  • These questions are temporally localized. The best plug-in today may be unsupported or supplanted in a year.
  • These questions are unlikely to be useful to anyone else. The utility of a script or library is highly dependent on the OP's site configuration and the exact problem they're trying to solve.
  • The answers are likely to be "I found xxx, but I've never used it." These are not the expert quality answers that make StackOverflow awesome.

Gaming SE specifically calls out "What do I play" questions as off topic.

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    Yes, most of the time I vote to close these as too localized. Unless the question is worded for general utility, most of the time the questions are of little use to other people. There are exceptions to these cases, but more often than not it's too localized. – JohnP Jun 8 '11 at 4:21
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    1) asking for a plugin for a particular task is not the same as asking for the best plugin. The latter type will usually fall under the "argumentative" category and thus should be closed. 2) As suggested by JohnP on a comment to my answer, the best alternative here is to edit the question to make it of broad interest. 3) That's a problem with the answer, not with the question. It can be commented, edited, downvoted or even flagged independently of the original question. – Aleadam Jun 8 '11 at 5:24
  • I am searching for an API and I am interested in my options. I kind of agree with your statement, @KatieK, but how would I go about finding more information regarding this type of API? In my case, I've tried to Google search the API, and I can't find much, so I'd like to ask for a bit of expertise on a site where I know someone has to know the answer. What should we SO user's do when we have a legit need for an API that probably exists, but we can't find? Is there a place for such questions on this site? – RLH Jun 5 '12 at 16:11

Vote to have it migrated or closed.

Until this SE site launches, it would be great to migrate questions to the Technology Recommendations SE: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/20084/technology-recommendations

Programmers SE is not a good place for this type of migration.

Only alternative is to close if the community decides that course of action.

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    Where do you suggest questions like that should be migrated? – Adam Lear Jun 7 '11 at 18:02
  • @Anna: Programmers.Stackexchange.com – Brian Jun 7 '11 at 18:05
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    No, thanks. The same considerations as the ones JohnP listed in the post apply there. For that matter, "software tools commonly used by programmers" is on-topic on SO but not on Programmers. – Adam Lear Jun 7 '11 at 18:18
  • @Anna: You are right. Bad suggestion. – Brian Jun 7 '11 at 18:23
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    I suppose the questions themselves need to be improved so that they serve the community as a whole rather than for one person during a point of time. – JohnP Jun 8 '11 at 4:33

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