33

A software recommendation question has two essential components: a goal to accomplish, and a set of requirements. The goal establishes the setting and explains in broad terms what you want to do with that software. The requirements put specific constraints that the software must satisfy. Think of your task as a picture puzzle. The goal is an overall ...


25

A good recommendation question has precise requirements and a goal. “Alternative to X” is not a precise requirement. You need to say which features of X matter. Otherwise the question is not clear enough, and you may get answers which propose an alternative that does not have the features you rely on most. Furthermore, as usual on Stack Exchange, questions ...


23

It's a pretty simple checklist to ask a good, narrowly-scoped recommendation question. I'll make a rough outline here, I'm currently revising this (which is based on the original ground rules that I posted pre-launch). 1. Straight to the point, succinct title Don't use words like 'best' or 'good' - just tell us what you want. We're not going to recommend the ...


22

No, this is not a valid question. Why you should switch or not can only you decide. And if you seek a recommendation you need to be very specific what you need from that really big software solution and why you consider switching in the first place. Do you have requirements your current software does not fulfill? Name them. Be specific.


18

The problem with this type of question is commensurate on the number of possible differences. If program 1 is only marginally different than program 2, then the question isn't by definition too broad. If one could spend all day enumerating the differences between the two, then you do venture into the 'too broad' territory quickly when it comes to our format. ...


12

The problem with terms like "best" is that they're meaningless on their own, kind of like meta tags. What is best? Is what's best for you the same as what's best for me? The best Linux distro for someone who's always used Windows and is trying Linux for the first time probably isn't the same as the best Linux distro for someone who's worked with numerous ...


12

This isn't tricky at all. This is part of a learning process that comes way before *this* site. You're asking folks to recommend a tool for you before you can even describe why any random Google search doesn't fulfill the needs you haven't even defined yet. We cannot do that for you. I understand the enthusiasm that comes with "don't waste my time, just ...


11

After seeing this trial question: no. The principle of this site is to have recommendation questions. There are two important parts to a recommendation: a user story (what task you want to accomplish), and a requirement list (what needs to be there, what should preferably be there). X vs Y leads to answers that each tack on their user story (if they're ...


9

So far it has been totally allowed and even I would have to say promoted. At least the question with the second highest votes (17) so far has a top answer with 9 votes. That top answer is findable as the second result on a google search for "windows unlock file software". (Also for that matter quite a few other potentially very workable solutions) However ...


9

I'd keep it honest, but keep in mind a few things - It seems to me that library recommendations are on topic here, but you're going to need to be careful with how you ask that question - keep the question detailed, organised and specific.You're probably going to need to talk about language, possibly platform (if its specific) and what sort of results you are ...


9

If one obscure, difficult-to-find feature is enough to qualify their entire requirements list, sometimes one feature is enough to say "I can't find this software myself." We shouldn't ask folks to pad their question out unnecessarily simply to meet the {2} drink requirement minimum. In judging the fitness of these questions, you have to consider why were ...


8

This is a case where the question itself might simply have crossed that line of "too broad." I don't know if it should be closed, but this is the type of thing that needs to be carefully self-moderated and tempered, and should at the very least be a very small component of this site. On other sites, we use the phrase "not a real question" because the ...


8

Guidelines for ALL questions: What is required for a question to contain “enough information”? Desktop software Is a graphical interface (GUI) mandatory, or are command-line (CLI) solutions also acceptable? Is it acceptable if (minor) programming skills are required to "fully adjust" a product to your other requirements? Optical Character Recognition (OCR)...


7

Requiring to “show homework” is tricky: it doesn't always lead to a better question. A common problem with the insistence to “show what you tried” on some Stack Exchange sites is that it leads to questions where the asker had no idea how to start and so went on a completely wrong path, so answerers waste their time explaining what went wrong; the question ...


7

Well, in that specific question there are couple of issues that you may or may not be aware of, so lets try to fix them: The features/characteristics you are looking for are way too common! I seriously doubt any image editor (and correct me if I'm wrong) doesn't have any of the characteristics you are looking for. Those are kind of basic functions of any ...


7

While to you it is "pretty obvious" such a tool "needs" a GUI, that's not necessarily the case. I for example much more prefer a CLI for such tasks: Why should I take the hazzle having to start a (maybe even bloated) GUI, navigate to some folder (20 clicks or so), mark it, open some menu, find the right item, and click that to watch a fancy progress-dialog – ...


7

Glad you brought this topic to Meta, sameer – that's the best place to seek clarification of this kind! Downvoters should have commented and give you hints why they downvoted. But unfortunately, they don't always do that. I was not one of them, so I can only guess. But taking a look at your question, a good guess is it's lacking required information (which ...


7

I don’t think that such a question would be necessarily too broad. Deciding if it’s too broad would depend on the given requirements, so there’s really no difference between questions restricting it to one browser and questions accepting answers for multiple or even all browsers. If no operating system requirement is given, and if OP doesn’t explicitly ...


5

It's going to take practice. For all of us. Each member of the community will need to revisit their habits, their kneejerk reactions to questions, their judgments, etc. if they have prior experience on SE. All I can say is practice, pretty much, and see what feedback you get from the community. If you get negative feedback, see if they will tell you why. If ...


5

I think questions of the form "What are the criteria for judging/determining which X to use" are quality questions, and the answers tend to have lasting utility. However, I'm not too sure of their topicality here. This site has been created primarily to address glaring gaps in the topicality of every other site; however, questions of this particular format ...


5

This can ultimately lead to a false recommendation (upvoting) of a piece of software that no longer provides the feature(s) requested It is extremely unusual for features to be removed in new version. This shouldn't be a big concern. To prevent this from occurring, should we always be requesting users to specify the version number, Unless otherwised ...


5

The ground rules were written before the site started. During the private beta, we quickly realized that having precise requirements isn't everything. In “My instincts are all wrong”, Tim Post included another part: “describe your task”. In our question quality guidelines, I stated that as “define your goal”, which can be a “user story”. A good software ...


4

We shouldn't blacklist the word "best", but I would downvote any question that used it without elaborating. "What is the best Linux distro for everyday use on my old G4 PowerBook" I don't know. What would make it better/best for you? Speed? Stability? Some arbitrary weighted average of said factors? I wouldn't mind seeing "best" in a title, but if the ...


4

You don't need to phrase this in terms of a replacement. Just describe the features you like in Splunk, a brief description of what it does, and then add that you want something that isn't proprietary in your constraints. You can add that Splunk won't work for you because it's proprietary, but you want the same set of features. Just describe your need, not ...


4

I closed it the first time, and I'd close it again. It's far too broad. More specifically, what this question lacks is a problem to solve. Contrast with FTP file editor and uploader that's also a code editor? The “JS/PHP” question has only a feature list, with 10 suggestions so far. It's well on its way to becoming http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...


4

At some point, people who are sensible stop caring about reputation. However, I'd doubt that a software would constantly change, to the point where it would go CW within a reasonable amount of time. If you're worried about that in your own question, you might choose to write your answer with terms like "As of $date". If its someone elses question, you can ...


4

On Stack Overflow the show a minimal understand of the problem close reason was removed just because of that. A good question does not mean I have to show everything I tried. See also this meta post. Why would that be important. A user seeks a software for specific requirements and future visitors don't need to be distracted that obviously does not meet the ...


4

I think the question should state why "Just searching it" didn't help (and not just THAT it did not help but WHY it did not help). If they do: great thats a well researched answer. If they don't: Thats a poor question, one should post a comment asking if the Questioner just searched for it already and why the results where bad. Without fix, its VLQ and ...


4

While necessarily we may have more than one answer, a good question dosen't generally poll for them, or ask for something subjective like 'best'. You have a problem - with various requirements and constraints, for which there may be an 'ideal' solution for you. Someone may see it differently. There isn't often a 'best' solution, rather a best compromise, and ...


4

I agree, questions don't have to be clear to anyone. If the question uses vocabulary shared by a reasonably large community, and that vocabulary can be recognized by others, then you don't need to explain the vocabulary. (You did in your question, apparantly believing that to be the cause of "unclarity". I don't know why others thought it unclear before ...


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