We've got some questions on the site asking for a list of things, and the mods have been talking about ways to make these better without closing them. Questions asking for a list of resources, or a list of applicable techniques, or relevant books - these are hard to answer definitively.

Attempts at addressing this before:

Looking around, I found this here on meta.writers:

Are requests for resource lists OFF Topic?
Would it be considered OFF Topic to ask, not about the subject itself but for a resource list [...] of suggested books/sites/whatever for somebody to start his own research in a faster and better way?

The answer isn't clear, although it's leaning towards calling these off-topic.

But Stack Exchange has already addressed an analogous issue, in a way. Have a look at this blog post from 2010:

Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping!

To continue to use an analogy, the gist of that blog post is that, if a user asks for the best camera for taking pictures of underwater coral (say), the best way to answer that is to explain how to identify the features needed (underwater, low-light cameras) and how to identify those features when doing research. Otherwise, recommendations for specific cameras will be out of date in short order and the asker of the question has learned little.

What we can do:

The gist is that we can address questions like this by answering them by explaining how to find what the user needs, not handing them a list of possible resources/digital cameras/car models/etc.

Let's use this meta post to list problematic list questions and discuss how we can answer them in a way that will satisfy the Stack Exchange way of doing things - answering questions canonically while making the internet a better, more informative place.

I'm making the answers Community Wiki so anyone can edit and suggest better ways to improve these questions. Please, everyone, feel free to keep posting questions and ideas, whether you're an active community member or not.

5 Answers 5


What sites can I use to crowdsource my writing project?

I have a writing project I'd like to crowdsource. I imagine opening the project definition to an open call, and awarding the work to the most creative writer / thinker based on a sample of their work or on the complete deliverable.

What sites exist that provide a good platform for such a project?

What's wrong with it?

The question itself is a bit vague, and more clarification about the project itself might help. The answers are links to resources only, pretty much.

What it could use:

A little answer cleanup, maybe; but a canonical answer explaining the process of crowdsourcing a writing project and it's pitfalls - as well as explaining how to use resources and manage writers - would be much better.

  • The questions Is crowdsourcing a writing project possible, How can I manage the crowdsourcing of a writing project, and similar sound ok-ish to me. They're also open-ended list questions, but at least they're lists of advice, not of links.
    – Standback
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 19:59
  • Even these questions are unappealing to me. This question lacks an immediate problem - one that can't be solved by googling "crowdsource writing project". The obvious alternatives just ask for free-for-all advice of any type or hue.
    – Standback
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 20:00

Where to find editors to hire for tech blog?

Recently, I secured a job with big MNC. Now, I want to concentrate on it and appoint 2-3 editors to look after mildly popular tech blog.

Can you guys suggest where should I search or post to hire part-time/full-time editors?

What's wrong with it?

Nothing specifically, this is an important question. But the easy way to answer it is to say, "look on web forums" and "go to Craigslist". These things are useful tools, but those are pretty much the only answers we have. The important thing here is to explain what to look for.

What it could use:

An answer explaining how to put an editorial board together for a small website, possibly getting into details about what functions are needed. (Proofreading, assigning editor, CSS guru, etc.)


Is there anything like 99designs for text writing?

I'm not a writer, but a technical oriented entrepreneur.. One of the barriers I always run into is that I'm also the lead guy for providing the content for marketing gigs, speaker bio's and website texts as I'm working in a specific niche market..

I know that what I write is correct, even well formulated English, but I'm certainly not very adept at writing good prose and attractive texts for readers..

I'm looking for a place where I can let others rewrite my texts into a higher quality result.

What's wrong with it?

Again, it's generating a list of weblinks.

What it could use:

More about the process of collaboratively refining and generating text would help the user a lot more.


Resources on plotting mystery stories

I'm looking for books, essays and articles on plotting mystery/detective/investigation stories (and novels).

What's wrong with it?

It's requesting a list of resources of varying quality and relevance. A good answer won't provide immediate information; just point onward to where information might be obtained.

What it could use:


  • This is my own question and I think it's kind of OK... but I have difficulty describing why, precisely. It's definitely a list question, and I don't see a way to phrase it otherwise ("What advice can you give on plotting mystery stories" is also a list question :P). I'd love to hear suggestions for improvement, though.
    – Standback
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 15:46

Spanish writing website?

I am looking for a website that is community based for reviews in spanish.

Does someone know anything?

For example I know that in english the is www.thenextbigwriter.com but that's it. Not much in spanish to be honest!! (That I can find)

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