We sometimes receive questions for service+software sets.
The latest example was someone asking for a bank with a particular API.

Other examples:

  • Asking for a taxi company that has an smartwatch app
  • Asking for a wine that comes with an aging calculator
  • Asking for a browser that pays you money to view advertisements

Are such question on-topic?
If there are grey areas, what are they and where to draw the line in these areas?

2 Answers 2


Such questions are off-topic.

The software must be available to anyone, without:

  • Requiring any purchase of non-software goods.
  • Requiring any purchase of services.
  • Requiring agreeing to any contract that goes beyond the use of the software itself.

Three exceptions:

  • Media or license fee for the software. Example: One-time fee to use WinRAR.
  • Support subscription for the software. Example: Mandatory yearly support service needed to use Liferay Enterprise.
  • Conditions that are explicitly stated in the question. Example: If the question asks for an app to monitor my ZeBank account, you can safely assume in your answer that the asker has a ZeBank account, so you are allowed to suggest software that is exclusively available to ZeBank customers.

In addition to what Nicolas wrote in his answer: SR is about recommending software, not services. So in short:

  • Asking for a software (application, library) to access a given service: On-Topic.
  • Asking for a service that offers some API to be accessed: Off-Topic.


  • Java library to communicate with "SpecificTaxiService": On-Topic
  • Android/iOS app to use with "SpecificTaxiService": On-Topic
  • Some taxi service offering a Java library to communicate with it: Off-Topic
  • Some taxi service where there's an Android/iOS app (or Windows/Linux/... application) to communicate with it: Off-Topic

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