These kind of questions just keep pouring in, and the same thing happens every time.

The questioneer never gives out enough details to even guess what kind of spec/bandwith he/she needs, the type of software used is not mentioned, the database structure is never mentioned etc..

The usual way of handling these questions are commenting/answering with "We can not answer that in any way given the information you have given us." and then it gets closed.

Could we perhaps write up a community wiki answer (locked), with the guidelines/directions for questions like this? Perhaps point them to stackoverflow for the code performance, the webmaster site for web server optimization etc?

  • +1 from me for this idea.
    – ITHedgeHog
    Commented Jul 4, 2011 at 12:07
  • +1 Great idea! As a recent asker of such a question, it seems unprofessional for this community to just throw its hands up. I agree it's a question like "how long is a piece of string?", but it's a question people in the profession have to answer every day... and the treatment here just blows my mind.
    – Peter K.
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 12:55

4 Answers 4


Sure, this seems like a good candidate for the canonical Q/A pair:


Help us build a great library of canonical answers. If you keep seeing the same form of questions, whether it’s mod_rewrite rules on Server Fault, freezing computers on Super User, or how to use regular expressions to parse HTML, write a great, canonical answer, once and for all. Make it community wiki so that as many other people as possible can make it great. Work really hard on writing something that is clear, concise, and understandable by as wide an audience as possible.


This is a multi-disciplinary problem, so a ComWiki pointing to similar question/answers on the other two sites would be good. If we can find a few candidates on SO, that'll be critically needed. In the hunt for this, you might try dropping into some of the SO chat-rooms and ask the collective consciousness for recommendations of good answers to link to.


I see them as shopping questions and vote to close them as off topic. If someone ever posts a question with enough information to be answerable I may view it differently but that hasn't happened yet.


I had much the same idea a few days ago, and created this question to try and capture that sort of information. Feel free to contribute useful information to it.

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