I have no idea why people are flagging, close voting, and trying to migrate on-topic software recommendation questions (examples: 1, 2). Per the two meta discussions on the exact topic:

Is this no longer the case?


3 Answers 3


Software recommendations do have their rightful place here. Finding the right tool for the trade is equally important an issue as the tricks of the trade itself. If the question fits our subject, it should stay. I am against declaring any and all questions off-topic just because there is now a 'better place' we can send the askers.

I do agree that we have been handling the close-hammer a bit too liberally the last few months—not just with questions.

I think we should try and be inclusive in our closing strategy: if something is related to our topic and isn't strictly declared off-topic by consent on meta, we should keep it. Even if there is another Stack where it might be a (much) better fit*, we should guard our content at least a bit jealously. We want questions and answers, and we want a lot of them.

If a question is of low quality, don't immediately vote to close it. Downvote it, comment on it asking for clarification. Encourage the creation of good content, don't cut off a first attempt.

*I see a question that would be a much better fit on another site as an opportunity to lure that site's users to ours. Maybe they will dole out some wisdom. Maybe they'll even come back and do it again.

  • 2
    Is "what free software should I use as a beginner" (sometimes, "begginer") "to make original and professional quality artwork with" fit for software-recommendation? Every now and then there is a flurry of such requests.
    – Jongware
    Jul 13, 2016 at 17:58
  • I'd say no, that is a question I'd close as too broad myself. I don't want to make a habit of migrating bad questions only to be rid of them. I don't like siccing my junk on mods of another site :-)
    – Vincent
    Jul 13, 2016 at 18:34

As far as I'm concerned nothing has changed and these are still on-topic as long as they're for graphic design related software. The creation of a Software Recommendation Exchange in no way diminishes questions from being on-topic here.

These, and other questions, are what this site has been built on and I'm not in favor of changing it.

(I speak only for myself, and have not talked with other mods about their opinion prior to posting this)

  • 2
    Agreed, my experiences with the software and hardware recommendations sites have not been great, they seem to know a lot about toys and tools for programmers but not much else. You need an understanding of a profession like design to be able to recommend professional tools. Jul 12, 2016 at 8:36
  • @user568458 hey there, good to see you're still coming around from time to time
    – Ryan
    Jul 12, 2016 at 10:36
  • 2
    haha don't mind me, I've just been having one of those 'tired of the day job' malaises people periodically go though, I'll be back regularly when I get over it! Woah, joojaa overtook me, I definitely need to come here more often... Jul 12, 2016 at 10:48

I do not think many of them are a very good fit actually. Reason is that whenever it's a basic question, the answer is mostly going to be the same from question to question. When the asked recommendation is more specific and has a richer need, then the likelihood of an answer drops pretty quickly to 0.

Speaking against recommendation questions are:

  • Most of the time such questions are primarily opinion-based and they should be closed for that reason
  • Many are also too broad and should be closed for that reason

Now, if there is a question that has the answer other than Photoshop, Gimp, Illustrator, Setch, Inksacape, InDesign, or Scribus, I'm fine with that. But it seems to me that these attract just lists of options. There's nothing bad with that but they might not be useful in the long run.

So I'm somewhat pessimistic but don't rule them out as long as they are well done and in scope. But overall it would be easier if we dropped them, but then life would be easier if you could pick and choose just the fun stuff, now wouldn't it?

  • I, personally, have zero problems with basic questions even is their answers end up the same. If it helps people find the correct answer, we've done our job, right?
    – Vincent
    Jul 13, 2016 at 13:20
  • @Vincent well possibly. But the worst answer is the wrong answer, not the ballantly wong one but the plausibly wrong one that is close to correct. therefore this is only true if it always gets the right answer. But that does not allways happen.
    – joojaa
    Jul 13, 2016 at 13:28
  • I'm sorry, but that comment doesn't make sense to me... I think? :)
    – Vincent
    Jul 13, 2016 at 13:32

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