I've seen a number of these but here's just one example. The gist is, someone asks "what are some tools that do X?" X is usually a task related to writing.

In the don't ask section it says not to ask questions where "every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”" This sounds an awful lot like that.

On the other hand, I could plausibly see it being possible that someone else could get value out of reading the answers to a question like this.

The "on topic" section also says that questions about specialized writing tools are ok, but this isn't so much ABOUT a specialized writing tool as it is asking for suggestions.

1 Answer 1


I think there's a subtle distinction to be made here. The linked question asks (emphasis mine):

Are there any tools for writing Wiktionary articles?

I don't see this as asking "what's your favourite tool that does this", or "what's the best tool that does this", which would indeed be subjective. I see this as asking "does a tool that can do this actually exist", which can be objectively answered with, "Yes, it's called Acme Editor. [description of the software]", or, "Yes, there's a whole bunch of them: [list of descriptions]".

There's still, admittedly, an element of subjectivity to these questions, but I'd say they fall under "good subjective" rather than "bad subjective". Answers can be backed up with descriptions of the software's features, ease-of-use, cost, etc - all based on facts and/or user expertise, rather than just opinions.

At present, these sorts of "Are they any tools that can do this" questions are explicitly on-topic under the tag (again, emphasis mine):

Computer programs intended for writers. Questions involving the use of particular programs, or requesting recommendation for software that will help in a particular task.

As for whether we should allow them, one criterion that's been used here in the past when deciding scope is "How many questions of this type are we actually getting?" If we were getting snowed under by "Give me a tool that does X" questions, and users were getting noticeably sick of them, then I do think it would be worth re-evaluating whether we wanted them. But having checked the tag, we've only had seven of them since the start of 2021, so I think they're infrequent enough not to be a burden.

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