Today I stumbled upon this question that asks for a list of software. That is, it doesn't seek a (1) tool to accomplish a task, but it seeks everything there is in that area. My first impression was that this is conceptually too broad (and thus should be closed).

Yet, this question has gotten 3 answers and several up-votes, so I want to bring it up here.

Do we want to allow questions that are seeking lists of software in contrast to specific software to accomplish a goal?


2 Answers 2


Definitely not:

  1. Questions provoking list-type answers are frowned upon at all SE sites
  2. Our help center lists several list-type questions as explicitely off-topic – a.o. "there is no actual problem to be solved", which matches your "doesn't seek a tool to accomplish a task, but it seeks everything there is in that area"
  3. We are not a Google-Extension. Such list-type answers are usually "Nothing but a URL (but not necessarily spam)" type answers at the same time, which on all SE sites count as "low quality"
  4. Even without a link, list type answers are to 98% "low quality" and do not comply to …
  5. our discussion on what makes an answer high quality, which cannot be met here.

We strive for high quality answers – and put quality always above quantity. So no, such a question would not match our requirements.

  • Whilst agreeing with your points, how do we handle the somewhat frequent question regarding video editor, which calls for very similar answers? It would be kind of nice to have some sort of list referring to these as your basic video editors, and then add specific detailing referring to the question in place. Or should they be closed as duplicates?
    – holroy
    Aug 28, 2015 at 14:46
  • 1
    @holroy lists could be placed in the corresponding tag-wiki – preferably lists to corresponding answers on the site itself. That's where they are easiest to find, and where one can link to from a comment – at the same time pointing to the question with the best fitting answer and, if it fits well enough, vote to close as duplicate to that.
    – Izzy Mod
    Aug 28, 2015 at 16:11

One guideline I like is:

Write your question, as if you expect that these is only one solution.

While you might know of 3 or 4 programs that almost do what you want. or that you think might do what you want. You should refer to these in the question as things you have looked at, commenting on why they don't meet your requirements. You might also like to add when you discard them that someone is free to suggest them as answers, if they believe it can solve your problem, as done here.

Similarly, while you might really want a list of software to go and try out, you don't say that you want this. You will get all the answers you get. If they are not enough (because noone has experience), you can multiply them, using sites like Alternitiveto.

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