Intro: Contrary to popular belief, recommendation questions can work well on Stack Exchange. See for instance Software Recommendations, where questions and answers are of high quality.

QUESTION: Should we offer to help people who are looking for a particular license?
As a rule, each question should come with a detailed list of requirements, and otherwise be of great quality for all other aspects.


I am looking for a license that:

  • Has an official translation in Thai.
  • Is compatible with the EU DataGrid Software License.
  • Is being used by at least 1000 active projects.
  • Has an English text shorter than 1000 characters (because our client's arbitrary company rules dictate that licenses should be pasted into all source files).
  • Example for license-recommendation: opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/421/… I voted to close, because I think this is mostly opinion-based, but if you say such recommendations can work ... let's see.
    – Mnementh
    Jun 26, 2015 at 8:32
  • 2
    @Mnementh: That question 421 has a big problem which is that it does not detail enough requirements. Software Recommendations had this problem in the beginning because people did not know what a good recommendation question looks like. Jun 26, 2015 at 8:36
  • @Mnementh, Nicolas: The question has been edited, and I think it's ok now. I agree with your assessment of the original question. Jun 26, 2015 at 11:04
  • @Mnementh I've tagged that question with license-recommendation
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:17
  • @Gilles: Let's put it to a test, I put a reopen-vote.
    – Mnementh
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:29

2 Answers 2


Recommendation is not the problem. If a question is specific and detailed and can be answered with facts rather than pure opinion then the recommendation will be meaningful and relevant to users of this site.

Questions which are broad or primarily opinion based should be closed, but not because they request a recommendation.

For example, "Which licence will be most widely used in 10 years time?" is unlikely to be answerable with facts, but "Which licence best suits the following well specified requirements" can attract both well supported evidence based answers and examples of how to think about licence choices.

The example given in the question is also answerable with facts and on topic here.

  • 1
    As long as we crack down on permissive vs libre flamebait, this seems very reasonable.
    – Martijn
    Jun 26, 2015 at 12:41
  • @Martijn indeed. I imagine most of that will be covered by "primarily opinion based" Jun 26, 2015 at 13:14
  • I agree. These sorts of license recommendations will work perfectly fine. Also, if we have these kinds of questions, we would need a specific close reason to handle the questions that don't try.
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 26, 2015 at 13:45

They can be on topic, as long as we follow a similar system to RPG.SE, who have the 'back it up' principle.

The question must be objectively answerable. Follow the Stack Exchange "Good Subjective, Bad Subjective" principle: if there's no means to correctly answer the question, it has no place on our Q&A site.

The answers must be backed up by verifiable evidence or personal experience. A link to the license suggested may be sufficient, as people can find out the details themselves.

Here's the important bit: if an answer isn't backed up, it's not an answer, and is liable to deletion.

With those conditions, we should be able to take on these questions. Also note that any arguments in comments will be looked severely on, flagged to hell, and deleted.

  • "The question must be objectively answerable". Do you mean that an answer could exist, or that an answer actually exists? See the example question. When asking this question, the asker doesn't know yet whether such a license exists or not: If they knew for sure they would not bother to ask. Jun 29, 2015 at 2:18
  • @NicolasRaoul objectively answerable means that if an answer does exist, it is correct independently of opinion and verifiable.
    – ArtOfCode
    Jun 29, 2015 at 10:31

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