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Lately I feel as though there's been something of an upswing in questions which I've personally come to call "Help me find a website for X" questions. Some recent examples I can think of include:

Generally these get closed, but there are also some older questions which (to me) fit the same formula. One example is Where can I find a comparison of Android devices? which is a CW with about 24 upvotes at this point.

I think we should come up with some kind of official stance on questions such as these. My personal opinion is that they should be closed either as "Off-topic" or "Not constructive" because they're simply not good questions, and here's why I think they're bad:

  1. Search engines exist specifically for finding websites. I'd wager 9 times out of 10 the answerers are just going to punch the question into Google and post the first few links.
  2. They're completely vulnerable to linkrot, since most of the time a link is really the only "valid" answer.
  3. They generally have nothing to do with using Android or how Android works, just reading about topics that are related to Android.
  4. If the content from a decent website were copy/pasted here to avoid linkrot it would become very out-of-date very fast in many cases (it could even feasibly cause copyright infringement concerns).

So my personal opinion is that "Where can I find a website/resource/list for X" questions should be nuked from orbit. Do others agree? Disagree? Have no opinion whatsoever? It feels like we're going to continue getting questions like this for the forseeable future, so as I said, I think some kind of community stance on this would be highly beneficial. If we deem them inappropriate questions then it gives us something "official" to point people to as well. If not then I'll start leaving them alone.

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I think they're a direct result of the "anti-shopping" policy. We don't want people asking "what's the best X". For the most part helping people help themselves is a good thing, and pointing someone to a site that reviews hardware and/or apps gives them such a tool.

But I think you're right. All too often it's a situation of "I do not know how (or I am too lazy) to craft a good web search. Please won't someone do it for me?"

In a lot of cases, we should probably be pointing people to Where can I ask questions that aren't Android Enthusiast questions? (Assuming we're still keeping that up to date.)

I suppose a consideration is "will this question and its answers be useful to anyone in three months, six months, a year?" If the answer is "no" then it should be closed as too localized. But then each question needs to be evaluated on its own merits. I'm not sure if we can come up with a blanket policy.

  • In thinking about it a bit more, maybe we could come up with some kind of decent canonical question for this. Something like "What informational online Android resources are available?" with various sections for things that could actually have some merit (maybe hardware, app reviews, things of that nature) instead of a million questions that are incredibly similar. Do you think that could be helpful? – eldarerathis Mar 10 '12 at 19:04
  • Well, that's sort of what the "Where can I ask..." question is supposed to be. A canonical CW question that's more generic might be useful. – ale Mar 10 '12 at 19:07
  • Hm, fair point. I think I kind of interpreted that question - based on the title, anyway - as more of a "Where can I ask/post/discuss X" as opposed to simply "Where can I find information about X". I wouldn't have thought to list something like GSM Arena on that question, for example. – eldarerathis Mar 10 '12 at 19:10
  • Well, I did just copy it from Meta Stack Overflow. That it doesn't fit quite as well here doesn't surprise me. – ale Mar 11 '12 at 18:42

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