If I laid out a question and proposed two options, would it be acceptable to ask for advantages and disadvantages for each option? I realize this is semantically similar as asking "Which is better", which is (likely) opinion based, which is why I'm asking this now.

To give an example, I'm currently evaluating the use of relative Viewport Units in CSS (100vw) vs using Media Query breakpoints. I might ask a question like this:


What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Viewport Units in a UI?

Potential Answer (Note: Some of this is made up and completely ridiculous!)

  • Using viewport units requires less code. You don't have to reproduce your classes for each media query breakpoint.
  • Media Query breakpoints cause a significant performance impact on certain versions of the Optomium browser.
  • Viewport Units scale indefinitely, so you spend less time deciding which resolutions to support.
  • Media Queries have the benefit of automatically animating your button clicks.
  • Viewport Units are implemented differently on different browsers, so you have to adjust accordingly.

These are clearly (fictitously) fact based answers. No recommendations or opinions anywhere to be found. They would also be very useful to the asker.

You might say "You should have discovered these yourself", to which I would reply that you could say that for virtually any SO answer...


1 Answer 1


Most likely not, as we do not recommend tools here:

Questions asking us to find or recommend tools, libraries, programming languages, resources (including books, blogs, tutorials, and examples), or projects to undertake are off-topic here as they attract opinionated answers that won't have lasting value to others. You may be able to get help in The Whiteboard, our chat room.

We also don't allow questions that are too broad. There are two types of questions that are too broad. The first is one that, in order to answer adequately, would take a book. The second kind of too broad is that it has many valid answers. Although it's possible that one answer presents several of the valid answers, if you can generate a lot of answers (either as distinct answers or as sections to one answer), it's too broad.

  • Thanks for the answer, I added a scenario that I believe does not fall under a "tool" recommendation, but may still be covered by your answer. Mar 27, 2018 at 13:20
  • @ScottBeeson I don't see how your example isn't asking for a recommendation on which to use. We're not going to do the decision analysis for you. By the time you fully describe your environment, your requirements, your needs, and evaluate the options, you should have sufficient information to reach a decision on your own.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Mar 27, 2018 at 13:23
  • I will expand my example so there is less inference necessary on your part. Mar 27, 2018 at 13:24
  • @ScottBeeson Ping me after it's updated and I'll review. Thanks!
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Mar 27, 2018 at 13:29
  • Done. Thanks for your time. Mar 27, 2018 at 13:31
  • @ScottBeeson Updated my answer here. What you describe fits clearly into "too broad". You can't expect one person to enumerate all of the advantages or disadvantages, so it would attract a lot of answers that compete. You can't judge which answer is "the right answer" for you.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Mar 27, 2018 at 13:39
  • Ahhh. I swear there was an audible ding in my head when I read "answers that compete". Multiple answers could be technically correct because each could list some factual advantages. This is a problem. Thanks! Mar 27, 2018 at 13:41
  • 1
    @ScottBeeson Yes. A good question is one where a person can fully write about a solution and then answers can be voted on based on how good the solution is. They shouldn't be a popularity contest among factual statements and snippets.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Mar 27, 2018 at 13:43

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .