A question I asked yesterday was put on hold because I asked if a library or framework exists that can solve my problem. Here is the question:

Looking to create a custom, graphical editor for a data model using HTML5 and SVG

Note that I am not asking for your favorite or the best library. I am asking if one exists at all. The former would be opinionated and the latter is not.

How could I rephrase my question so that it would not be closed and would be answered appropriately? I would accept the first answer that pointed me to a library that does what I need it to.

EDIT: I also think an appropriate answer would be something like: "This kind of thing doesn't exist AFAIK, but you could try X approach, which gets you 50% of the way."

Also, I don't see a fundamental difference between this kind of question and a question like: "Does an algorithm exist to do Y?"

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    Join The Whiteboard for all these types of questions, they're always good for discussions in there, they just never fit on SE sites Jul 23, 2013 at 19:13
  • @JimmyHoffa Thank you. Would you say that this is the recommended place for asking these kinds of questions? If so, rephrase this as an answer and I will accept it. Jul 23, 2013 at 19:18
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    question like: "Does an algorithm exist to do Y?" makes Programmers a surrogate of Google. Also, think of what will happen next, right after you happily leave with that freakin' Yes this is Library1. Month later, next guy will come and answer Yes this is Library2. Month later, next... and so on and so forth. That works fine for Google, where they load to you page after page, without a limit. Stack Exchange just isn't designed to work the way you want. Yes/No question turns into shopping with ease
    – gnat
    Jul 23, 2013 at 21:12
  • @gnat point taken. You are saying that because the answer is likely to change over time, this is not appropriate. Jul 23, 2013 at 21:59
  • @gnat But would questions like these be appropriate for a community wiki that can evolve over time, with the answer(s) getting more precise and complete as people add to it? Jul 23, 2013 at 22:07
  • @AndrewEisenberg right, and it's especially disappointing to see tool-shoppin trait mixed into your a question like your. Look, you've got a reasonably good question in rev 2, an actual practical problem to solve, what's the need to add findmelibrary there? If someone knows the answer, and if that answer involves library, they will let you know. As for CW, their purpose is most definitely not to make a smokeskreen for shopping lists
    – gnat
    Jul 23, 2013 at 22:09
  • ...recommend-me-tool bits are like vampires, spammy answers they attract can suck all the blood from your question even if the rest is good. On the other hand, just like vampires, these don't come in unless you invite them yourself
    – gnat
    Jul 23, 2013 at 22:59
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    Since the question was re-opened by the community, I've put an "insufficient explanation" post notice on it, to (hopefully) scare away one-line answerers. Andrew, you'll be the first to be notified of crap answers, it's your own question and you'll get inbox notifications for every answer. If spammy one-line "this is my favourite and it's awesome" answers appear, please use your flags.
    – yannis
    Jul 24, 2013 at 9:25
  • @YannisRizos - my focus was on the "do I need to implement foo" for the re-open vote. I thought that was sufficiently constructive and could override the resource request. I don't feel too strongly on that stance, so if you feel it's still not constructive then go for the close.
    – user53019
    Jul 24, 2013 at 13:23
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    @GlenH7 It's a borderline question, imho. Which is code for "doesn't need immediate moderator intervention, let the community handle it" ;P
    – yannis
    Jul 24, 2013 at 13:32
  • @YannisRizos - I was just moving my puny little self out of the way of any collateral damage from the diamond hammer coming down. ;-)
    – user53019
    Jul 24, 2013 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


Neither format is acceptable on any Stack Exchange site. Asking for a favorite or best library invites opinions. Asking for libraries in general is what's called a "shopping list" question and invites a large number of short answers without much explanation. It's simply this the Q&A format doesn't match up well with this kind of question.

However the discussion format of such questions does make it fit perfectly well in chat, The Whiteboard is programmers general purpose chat room, feel free to ask in there in the future.

  • He asks for neither favorite or best. He just wants to know if such a exists. How about this: If his question receives more than one suggestion, it's a shopping question and it can be closed? That way, we don't allow shopping and the poor guy at least gets a starting point to solve his problem. Jul 23, 2013 at 18:21
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    @CorbinMarch The answers received don't dictate the nature of the question.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Jul 23, 2013 at 18:22
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    Didn't you just say that shopping list questions invite short answers without much explanation? It sounds like the answers define the problem. Regardless, I see a distinction between does-X-exist versus share-your-favorite-X. I don't view it as a "shopping list". Jul 23, 2013 at 18:29
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    That's unfortunate that there is no place for this kind of question on stackexchange. I spent a reasonable amount of time researching the question before asking it and couldn't find anything. So, I thought that I would ask a more knowledgeable community about this. I doubt there are more than a handful of answers (if there are any at all). I think this kind of question is similar to "Is there an algorithm that exists to accomplish X?" Just to reiterate, I am not looking to re-open this specific question, but for a way to ask these kinds of questions in an appropriate way. Jul 23, 2013 at 18:34

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