From SuperUser's off-topic list - "asking for a product, service or learning material recommendation"

Is there any similar policy on here? Should there be, or is it fair game for Sound Design?

Specifically, this made me think about it - *newbie alert* looking for a good course to start learning sound design

I was about to flag it, but thought I should actually check SD's help ref first & it's not mentioned, so I thought here was best place to ask.


Product or service recommendation-type questions are, so far, okay to post on sound.SE.

That said, they still need to be of the variety that could be considered relevant to future visitors. They should ask for a product or service in the pursuit of solving a specific problem. Questions like, "what is the best condenser microphone" will likely not survive, while, "what should I look for in a condenser microphone for recording a cello on stage" would probably do quite well.

As far as the learning materials-type questions like the one you linked, so far, they have not become burdensome on the site. I could foresee, if their numbers got out of hand, having to come up with a specific policy on how to handle them, but so far, I think they're okay.

It would seem likely though, that there would only be so many answers to questions about where to start learning. I think it will probably become more likely to consider them duplicates of earlier, more in-depth Q&As. That may lend itself to a community wiki in the end.

  • I'm generally of the opinion that a few medium-scope Community Wiki questions can be pretty useful. The root of those "learning recommendation" questions is simply not knowing where to start for a given topic, and there are only so many major categories for those topics. I think CWs are a useful tool for this. Dec 1 '14 at 17:07

I think they're okay provided that they follow a framework similar to the one found on Software recommendations. Basically, ensure you limit the number of possibly applicable answers by being extremely specific about what you want to accomplish within your question.

The reason that many SE sites lowered the hammer on these types of questions is that they're typically asked in a very 'lazy' manner, inviting 20 or 30 answers that are conceivably equally correct, and that horribly breaks us as Q&A.

If you're extremely specific about what you want and why, then:

  • It's easier for future visitors to not only find your question, but also quickly see if it applies to them too
  • You get at best 8 - 10 answers, so we don't have pages and pages of crap for people to sort through when they find your question (the antithesis of what we've tried to build)
  • Answers need to speak to your key points specifically, and are thus likely to be much better answers than the typical "try this [link]" that these normally see

I'd allow them, as they are useful, engaging and interesting, just make sure they actually add some kind of value to the site. Don't hesitate to close something as too broad if it would just invite dozens of answers due to being very poorly scoped.

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