On Stack Overflow find the software, find a tutorial, etc. is off topic.

Questions asking us to recommend or find a book, tool, software library, tutorial or other off-site resource are off-topic for Stack Overflow as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.

But I don't see that close reason here.

Here's a question that could be closed under reason, if it existed:

Is there a PPA or Repository for Ethereum?

While this is a common beginner question, an answer tends to be a link only answer, as that's all the question asks, i.e.:

Here's the PPA: https://launchpad.net/~ethereum/+archive/ubuntu/ethereum

I suppose when this becomes incorrect, someone can edit it. But it also invites problems with people flagging it as a link only answer, and edit wars about whether some link is better or newer than some other link, etc.

Should we have a close reason here as the other sites do?

2 Answers 2


Making these off-topic, at least to start with, is probably a good idea. There are a few sites on the Stack Exchange network that allow recommendation questions, but there are only a couple that (in my humble opinion) do them really well, and those are the two sites that are wholly dedicated to recommendations.

This allows those sites to spend time defining what's acceptable in terms of links and detail.

On this site, it's more important to focus on defining a broad scope before you start looking at details of single types of answers; that takes time you could otherwise use to improve more of the site.

In terms of a close reason, that's a question to ask when you get mods in the early weeks of public beta - it can happen that you get a close reason before that, if a Community Manager considers the need big enough, but it's rare. For now, use the off-topic close item, and use a custom reason (the last option after off-topic).


Perhaps the common ones of these can be community wikis? Then flag-close any repeat questions?

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