So this question I posted about data cleansing was deemed off topic, in spite of having attracted two upvotes, a favourite and a positive comment:

Is there a standard way of cleaning data files?

Looking at the help center, it would appear that the question is in a slightly gray area in terms of relevance. I would argue that if falls under several of the criteria for relevance:

  • software requirements
  • development methodologies and processes
  • quality assurance and testing

But equally it would seem to fall foul of one of the criteria deemed off-topic:

  • where to find a software library, tool or other resource

It's left me wondering where on the SE family my question would be seen as more relevant than here? The search for useful programming tools and libraries would seem extremely tenuous on Stack Overflow or Software Recommendations, after all.

And if there isn't anywhere more relevant for these types of questions, should that particular relevance criteria perhaps be relaxed? Or should there be more guidance on how to ask a question like this in a "more relevant manner" (quoted, because I'm not sure how it could be edited for relevance).


2 Answers 2


Stack Exchange tends to close questions quickly that ask for a tool or library to accomplish a task.

They believe (rightly so in some cases) that the resulting list of tools/libraries, voted and sorted by user opinion, is not that useful. So anything that looks like "Is there a tool/library for X" gets closed quickly as off-topic.

Typically if you can change the question to ask "How can I do X" instead of "Is there a tool for X", the question is deemed OK, so I've made an edit to your question to try and get it reopened.

Please feel free to edit it further if you want, and good luck with it. I'd be interested in an answer myself.


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