I'll start with the example question I'd like to ask:

I would like to know on what basis I might choose between available open source LINQ implementations (assuming there is a choice, not sure whether MS made theirs available recently), other similar libraries such as opaleye (Haskell), and the null option of not using any of those tools. My goal is to be able to compose queries from smaller parts while retaining good performance and the ability to tune performance to match usage. What other criteria come into play when choosing between the available choices?

Back to meta:

In particular I'm interested in criteria that are relevant to the software that is actually available. In particular, often:

  • Many software choices satisfy a criterion. In that case, the criterion is relatively unimportant to the choice.
  • No software choice satisfies a criterion. In that case, the criterion is important, but only by suggesting other questions or awaiting future answers when new software is released.

So questions like this naturally leads to evaluation of:

  • Which criteria distinguish the available software
  • Which software satisfies which criterion

These are lists, but often they are short lists dominated by a few things, or even by just one.

Note that the example question has fairly specific scope / criteria (open source, implements LINQ or similar functionality, specific performance goals).

This search for relevant criteria is one of the most common types of question I have when looking for software. I have found "crowdsourced" help useful in this kind of question, but these days SE tends to get the audience, so those other sources are arguably less helpful than they might otherwise be (also, I'm lazy and like to use SE).

So, is there a way to ask this kind of question that would fit on this site?

Just to hammer home a point, my question is similar to this one but with what seems a crucial difference:

Are "What are criteria for X" on-topic

The difference is that I am almost always interested in the criteria strongly guided by the context of the available software, rather than criteria in the abstract, rather divorced from the actual software that is available.

Am I wrong to be sceptical that my software choice criteria questions along these lines would not be closed on other sites like SO (and on SR also in fact)?

If not, where's a good place to ask this kind of question these days?

2 Answers 2


The search for criteria, as narrow as they may be in your specific case, is unfortunately off-topic here, as you can see by your linked meta.

If your requirements are already narrow and you describe your situation well, it would be a good question for the site if you ask for recommended software right away. If you did search by yourself before that (which I assume you did) and realized that there are not many softwares that fulfill your requirements already it would not be too broad and thus okay.

The search for criteria might be on topic on other SEs (but I'm not as active on others to know for sure), specific to your area of interest. The LINQ libraries alternatives criteria question might be on topic on Stack Overflow or Programmers.SE, you might want to ask in their metas. Keep in mind that the question for alternatives directly will most likely be off-topic anywhere but here.

  • Thanks. I fear in practice it's just too offputting to be playing games with wording and russian roulette with question closing, so I think I'll leave my question unasked for now... Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 22:26
  • @CroadLangshan An unfortunate turn of events. I, if I were you, would ask this meta question on at least Meta.SO and Meta.Programmers, the worst thing that could happen would be: "Sorry, your princess is in another castle". So, not something overly bad :) If you ever ask the question somewhere, leave a link here, please. Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 23:08

What's wrong with asking for software that meets your minimum criteria?

You can of course add to your question "elaboration of additional features is welcome", but I thought the point of SR was to provide answers with such elaboration so that one can tell the answers apart.

  • Often minimum criteria genuinely do not exist, or are too minimal for a "what software meets these criteria" question. This still leads to interesting questions. They may yield more questions, which is good, and is not handled well by closing the original question. What typically happens on SE sites in situations like this is that questions are closed semi-randomly according to things like superficial wording differences. That is a dull game! Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 13:18
  • So I'm one of those folks that pretty much disagrees with SE overly narrow IMHO "criteria" for good questions. (The existence of SR is due entirely to SO rejecting SR-type questions, which I see as pointless, SO should simply have accepted these). But I do agree that there has to be some limitations. SR I think is trying to do it well by insisting that questions not be open ended ("what criteria should I consider for development tools" eventually leads to tool choices but I think is out of scope here). Did you have a specific example question you thought was an idea representative?
    – Ira Baxter
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 15:37
  • Apart from the one in this question? Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 11:13

You must log in to answer this question.

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