This site has received several questions that are in the format of "Is Software X a good option for my task?", or "What are the differences between tool X and tool Y?". These questions are normally closed as off-topic, but I don't think they are intrinsically bad questions. They are not too broad, nor opinion-based, and should attract no more than a couple answers. Reviews could be objective, especially when there is a specific task at hand. That also makes them different from the reviews one would find in online blogs, since the focus is on a specific set of requirements specified by the user.

I know that these types of questions don't fit the current requirements to be on-topic in the help center. My question is whether it is possible to relax these requirements a little and broaden the scope of on-topic questions.

In the long run, this would help the traffic of this site as well as the percentage answered questions. For example: this question on SuperUser has gotten on the front page merely a few hours after putting a similar question on hold on this site. Granted, neither of these questions is of a particularly high quality, but they could be improved with some editing. Moreover, the accepted answer on the first question looks to me like it could belong on a software recommendations website

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    I'd consider a good answer to be a review on its own merits. Rather than keeping a question between X and Y, a broad question lets people talk about x, y, z, 1, 2, 3 and even i,2i and 3i. – Journeyman Geek Nov 20 '14 at 12:11
  • @JourneymanGeek That is true in theory, but in practice not many questions have more than one or two software that fit all their requirements. Some don't even have any. So the answers are reduced to mostly x, x and y, or nothing. – Tymric Nov 20 '14 at 12:21
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    @Timmy We already had several of those as well. My vote for this is "No". But cleverly put, one asks for a specific software to its task, and just places a "I've already heard of X and Y, but what would you suggest". Perfectly on-topic, and should provoke a "other than X, Y also does (not) abc". Again, answer perfectly on-topic. But a "Please compare X and Y" doesn't show the purpose (or at least not enough), and thus is no good fit here. – Izzy Nov 20 '14 at 13:01
  • @Izzy So, would "Please compare X and Y" be off-topic, while "Please compare X and Y in regards of this task I am trying to accomplish" or "Please compare X and Y or offer further suggestions in regards of this task I am trying to accomplish" be on-topic? Where do we draw the line? – Tymric Nov 20 '14 at 13:17
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    No. "Please compare..." is always off-topic. But if both products get introduced by answers, chances are good the second answerer includes a (partly) comparison. – Izzy Nov 20 '14 at 17:20

A question like “Is Software X a good option for my task?” can already be made to fit on the site. Instead of asking the question this way, ask “What software can I use for my task”, with a suitable description of your task, laying the ground with some precise requirements. If X is a good fit, write an answer explaining how it fits. If X is not a good fit, mention it in your question: “I tried X but it failed this requirement”.

Tool X vs tool Y is not an acceptable question. We do insist that questions focus on a particular purpose. Asking about the suitability of tools X and Y given a purpose is possible; the discussion tools X and Y would belong in answers, not in questions. You can mention X and Y in your question if you like, say what you know about them and what information you're missing to decide between them.

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