So one of the proposed custom close reasons is for external resources questions. It seems to be pretty widely agreed-upon that asking for external resources is a bad thing, and the close reason has plenty of support.

Here's how it reads:

Questions that ask for off-site resources, or for a recommendation of an open source service or product are off-topic because they don't directly concern an issue related to open source development. For more information: please see What's wrong with "External Resources" questions?


  • What are external resource questions?
  • What's wrong with "external resources" questions?
  • Where can I ask for external resources?

1 Answer 1


What are "external resources" questions?

You've likely seen questions being closed for asking for external resources. Basically, they ask for anything that is located off-site. So what do we consider to be an external resource?

An external resource is...

  • An open source library, media object, or service
  • A recommendation for an open source library, media object, or service

What's wrong with "external resources" questions?

Questions asking for external resources are like shopping list questions, or recommendation questions. Both of these question types are discouraged on Stack Exchange, because:

  • There is no one correct answer - multiple different answers can be equally valid.
  • They go out of date really quickly - something that's good today might be obsolete in a couple months' time.
  • They can often attract spam or link-only answers (which have their own problems)


There are a very few exceptions to this on the network: namely, the sites that are wholly dedicated to recommendation questions.

Shopping list questions just don't fit within the scope of a Stack Exchange site, so we're explicitly excluding them from the scope.

See also: Jeff's blog post on the matter

Where can I ask for external resources?

There are several places, both on this site and around the network, where you can ask for products or recommendations.

  • You can drop into our chatroom, The Bikeshed, and talk to whoever's in chat about your question
  • If your question's about some software, you can ask on the Software Recommendations site (though you should start by reading their question quality guidelines)
  • If your question's about some hardware, you can ask on the Hardware Recommendations site (again, start with their question quality guidelines)

In most cases, search engines will provide a framework for you to locate suitably licensed material. Google has a search setting to find media that is free to reuse with conditions (these media items are often licensed with a Creative Commons license).

If you're looking for a software library, most sites for programming languages may include a project index for libraries (an example for Python libraries is here). There are also repositories on hosting platforms like GitHub, and more ways to find libraries - google searches for simple articles are great too.

We'd love to help you with your questions, but not on the main site, because they don't fit there. Drop into one of the other locations mentioned, and we'll help however we can there. We're always around, and we love to help :D

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