Regarding questions like this one: It seems fairly clearly off-topic from the Tour page:

Don't ask about... implementation issues and coding tools

But the closest thing in the flag as off-topic dialog is this, which doesn't seem to cover questions such as the one I've linked to:

Questions asking us to recommend a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Programmers as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.

Are questions asking how to use a specific dev tool off-topic? If so, what reason should be selected? If it is the option quoted, should this option be rephrased to make it clear that it covers questions asking for help using a specific dev tool?

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    Possible duplicate of Where does my tool question go?
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 13:32
  • @gnat: Thanks for the link (maybe it'll help others who land here), but my question seems to have been asked significantly before the one to which you linked was asked. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 23:41
  • duplicates age doesn't matter as explained eg here
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 16:11
  • @gnat Feels nasty, but makes perfect sense. Carry on. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 17:04
  • 1
    hardly nasty, duplicates are generally considered respectable at Stack Exchange. See eg Dr. Strangedupe: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love Duplication
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 17:07
  • 1
    @gnat Oh, interesting. I've always been very careful to try not to post duplicates; hence, my reaction. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to add some nuance to my perception. =) Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


If a question is otherwise a good question, tool questions are likely to belong on Stack Overflow, and that site is a migration target. Potentially, Super User, Unix and Linux, Ubuntu, Mathematica, and others could be suitable targets. Some of these sites are not available to users, but mods can migrate to any site on the network.

If the question isn't good, then choose the right reason. If the user edits the question to make it suitable for migration, then they (or someone) can flag it for a moderator to migrate. If the question is not improved to be suitable for migration, then it won't be migrated. The first rule of migration, after all, is "don't migrate crap".

However, I don't consider the question you linked to as a tool question. Yes, the answer is how to use a tool, but it seems to be a methodology question where a tool exists to make the process easier. I'd have to think about it some more.

  • +1 for clear instructions regarding how to deal with tool questions. Can you elaborate further on how the linked-to question is a question of methodology? Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 14:33
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    @NathanArthur It's not methodology in the sense of development methodologies, but it's not explicitly a "how do I use this tool" or "what tool does this" question. The asker tried a particular tool, didn't get results, and was looking for a way to get them. It just happens that there exists a good tool for this, and it's usually better to use existing tools than to write your own tools. Ultimately, it's a question about how to gain an understanding of an implementation and reverse engineering.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 14:37
  • I have no idea But would like to provide these 2 questions i have asked as an example of the wierd disjunction that exists. The 2 questions: stackoverflow.com/questions/24234411/… programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/245112/… The point is tools are rejected from SO also so ther is no place to ask about them. One site or the other is in the wrong and creating a hole in coverage. Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 17:04
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    @JohnNicholas There's a difference between "recommend a tool" questions and "how do I use a tool" questions. Recommendation questions are off-topic both here and on SO. However, if you need to know how to use a programming tool, that would be on-topic on SO. If it's not a programming tool, Super User or Unix and Linux may be appropriate places to ask how to use tools as well.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 18:04
  • Would you care to comment on the wording of the off-topic sub options? Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 18:06
  • @NathanArthur I don't know what you're looking for me to comment on, but that's likely to be the subject of a different question.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 19:24

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