On the Super User SE they have an Off-Topic flag for questions for software and product recommendations:

Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they become outdated quickly and attract opinion-based answers.

I've seen requests for software recommendations here, and I would be concerned that any answers would suffer the same fallibility.

I'm aware that the learning materials we use rarely become obsolete, and the software is quite static, but things can change, and these questions can still start arguments over preferred solutions.

Should we be including a flag for these, and closing them when they come up?

  • 2
    My upvote on this question means "this is an important question to ask", not necessarily "I agree we should do this". (I don't disagree either; I just haven't thought it through yet.) Feb 4, 2014 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


Are you aware that you would rob the possibility for Lauren to praise Scrivener? You cannot really consider that!

Ok, putting the affections of our top scorer aside, what do we have:

  • The special software question is very popular, very old and very locked. Much too broad, 26 answers, too subjective.

  • Software for developing characters is specific, shows the need for asking fellow writers, because the OP is unhappy with existing software (so it's no "I'm too lazy to google" question). Should we keep it unanswered, because the answers will go out of date someday? We can lock or delete it when that happens. Or add up-to-date answers.

  • Text analysis (if you really need it and do not just say: trust yourself) is old and not locked, probably because it's specific and hasn't gathered a deluge of answers therefore. Number of upvotes and comments show the interest of the community (but again: it's old). Would you miss it?

  • Best grammar checking, oh boy! I made fun of that question with my answer (even though it is the best checker for German IMHO), so I'm biased. But well, it's a best question. I won't miss it.

  • I have no idea why anyone would ever consider writing on a phone to be a good idea, but if someone can answer that, than we. And it's popular, not flooded by answers. I see no problem here.

  • I don't like the question about free software for screenwriters, but I like the upvoted answers. "Why free?" was my first thought and the accepted answer clarifies that. Not a good fit for the site.

Overall I wouldn't close them as they come up. If they are specific, they have their place. We can weed them out when they withered. But it's obvious I think, that some should have been closed.

  • 1
    +1. It is a tricky one, the software range is smaller, and far less transient. Plus there can be a lot of value to them if they are specific. I guess I'm just concerned about the fairness of flagging some and not others.
    – CLockeWork
    Feb 10, 2014 at 9:24

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