On this question, user3075942 posts 3 answers. All of the feature lists are direct copy and pastes from the product websites. As are the screen-shots.

On SW-REC SE, we add value (over a google search) to our recommendations by talking from personal experience. Whether or not the poster has personal experience with the applications he is recommending he does not talk from it.

While copying screanshots from product website, might be ok, depending on how it is used (and I think in this case it is). Copy and pasting the product description without adding anything from your own experience is not ok. It is little better than a link only answer.

  • What is the procedure in this case? Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 1:53
  • I don't know. Downvote and hope for edit? Delete, and hope for edit? Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 2:09

2 Answers 2


Our answer quality guidelines lead with this text:

What is expected of an answer on this site?

An answer needs to be tailored to the question. Answers that consist solely of a product name or link and generic information copied from the product description or other promotional material may be summarily deleted.

In another meta thread, I proposed a policy which hasn't met any opposition:

Answers must be tailored to the question. Any answer that consists solely of generic elements shall be summarily deleted.

So if you see an answer that consists solely of generic elements, please:

  • Comment on the answer, pointing to these meta threads, and suggesting how the answer could be improved.
    Although comment notifications are removed from the inbox when the answer they're on is deleted, answerers can browse comments if they are alerted to the answer's deletion. Moderators can leave a comment before deleting the answer, and moderators' comments remain in the inbox.
  • Flag the answer, either as a canned “very low quality” flag (for community review) or as a custom moderator flag (for moderator review).

Note that personal experience, while appreciated, is not strictly required. What matters in the end is not if the recommended product was good for the answerer but whether it is good for the asker. What matters is that the answer addresses the specific needs expressed by the question.

  • So why did you delete my questions if personal experience, while appreciated, is not strictly required? And what kind of experience can be shared there at all? That question is very narrow, those tools in answers aren't bloatware and their only function is to do what asker wants. What sense would be in recreating of a screenshot and rewriting of a feature list?
    – user
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 15:44
  • 1
    @user3075942 As I wrote in a comment on your answer: “We want answers that explain how the recommended product matches the requirements in the question. Please read our answer quality guidelines. You've posted three answers in this thread (which while allowed doesn't make much sense), but all of them solely copy the product's feature list and thus do not actually answer the question. I've deleted your answers; feel free to repost an answer that addresses the question.” Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 15:53
  • @user3075942 We aren't asking you to rewrite a feature list. On the contrary, we ask you to address the features mentioned in the question. Explain in what way the requirements are met — sometimes you're lucky and a bullet point in the question matches a bullet point of the feature list, but you're also supposed to explain how it works when they don't. Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 15:55
  • So do you think I must add the sentence "This software matches all of your requirements:" in every answer? I don't see any answer where copypasted description doesn't cover requested features.
    – user
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 16:18
  • 1
    @user3075942 No, you should write something like “Transparent images are supported. Set the option XXX in the configuration to have the ghost image stay on top when the window is focused. [etc.]” (or whatever it takes) Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 16:27
  • I don't think I must write instructions.
    – user
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 16:57
  • 2
    @user3075942 I think you (and everyone else too, obviously) must add value over contents of first ten Google hits.
    – Olli
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 10:48
  • @user3075942 You must write your personal experiences with this tool. Not only "that fits" but also why is it a good fit. As Olli already said, if you paste the question to google and copy from the first 10 results then the op could have done the same and our site becomes useless. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 19:39

I think the crux of your question is in the bold-faced part:

On SW-REC SE, we add value (over a google search) to our recommendations by talking from personal experience.

Copying and pasting a list of features from the products website is NOT a problem, if the user also includes personal experience and essentially uses the list of features as background information to build the answer on.

That is why I suggest to treat an answer with copy/pasted features list like any other answer (see this meta-post for details): if it is a genuine recommendation from personal experience then it is a perfectly valid answer, if it is not, then it deserves a downvote + a comment asking the user to add personal experience or delete the post.

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