Are software recommendation questions in scope? There is one question in main at the moment:

That basically amounts to a software recommendation question. If modeling and animation software are not in scope then why would software recommendations on those be?

Are software recommendations in general in scope at all, or is some subset like debuggers OK?

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My answer is sometimes

I think recommendation questions should reflect our scope.

Questions about using animation and modelling software are not in scope, so asking for a recommendation for such software should be off topic.

Questions about writing software and working with APIs and GPUs are in scope, so asking about the suitability of a specific language, API, GPU model should be on topic.

This should still be a specific question with sufficient detail. The following would not be acceptable:

What is the best GPU?

Which language is best for graphics?

What software should I use for animation?

But asking if a specific piece of software or hardware is compatible with a specific computer graphics task is on topic.

I also think that questions without a specific piece of software or hardware in mind should be on topic provided the question provides sufficient detail to promote objective answers that can back up each recommendation with factual explanation.

This way the answers can be supported by expert knowledge rather than just being a fashion contest.

As for the specific linked question, I see this as a question about working with specific types of computer graphics objects in a well specified way, and asking whether that task has already been automated elsewhere to save duplicating work. That seems a good fit for our site.

This decision will always be subjective (it's areas like this that are the reason we need a community of experts voting, rather than just universal rules). In this case my opinion is swayed by the fact that this is clearly a question from a programmer:

I'm in the process of porting part of this system to Three.js

This means that:

  1. This question is more likely to be relevant to future programmers and researchers.
  2. The question poster is someone who will be inclined to ask (and answer) programming questions, and benefit this community.

For these reasons I think this question belongs here.

Potential conflict of interest:

I have a lot of respect for the poster of the example question, having received a lot of help and good advice on Programming Puzzles and Code Golf, and seen a lot of other people helped similarly. I have endeavoured to judge the answer in isolation but there is the potential for bias.

I do not believe this affects my opinion on the general case.

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I would like to point out that the questions:

Are very similar. The other is closed and the other is not. The only reason we do not immediatly recognize that these questions are mostly the same is that most of us don't use animation software.

I can make a un-comprehensive list of apps, as i did. No problem, problem is that at least with the API question how to use them is in scope. But with animation software not so much.

I contend that this question is not in scope. Because it can not really be objectively answered except in a format of a shopping list. So yes i disagree with the interpretation that this is in scope because its a programmer asking for programming tools. It shouldn't matter who the original poster is. A programmer asking does not make it any better than anybody else asking it.

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In my opinion the question you linked is off-topic because it is about modeling, which afaik is not in the scope here.

[Edit: If you look at it from the point of view Martin described in his comment, I agree that the mentioned question is on-topic.]

As for software recommendation questions in the CG area: Such questions could attract opinionated answers and/or spam. So we should carefully define how should questions should be asked and answered to be acceptable.

I personally don't want to see questions like Which graphics API should I use? with answers screaming OpenGL/Metal/D3D/... is best!!11oneeleven for obvious reasons. But for example questions asking about solving a CG problem leading to objective answers recommending different libraries can be very good and useful. However, it must not lead to flame wars.

Maybe such questions should be related to an actual precise problem. In other words, maybe the core of the question should be a problem or alike and not the software/tool/library/etc.

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    $\begingroup$ Sounds like we both came to the same conclusion on the general case but disagree on the specific example question - it really is a grey area... $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Sep 2 '15 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding your first sentence, I don't think the question is about modelling (in a design sense) but rather about dealing with models from a programmer's view, and I think 3D models in general should be part of our scope. $\endgroup$ – Martin Ender Sep 2 '15 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinBüttner Regarding the question... yes, it's probably a gray area. If you see it from Martins point of view, you're right that it is on topic. Hard to draw the line there. $\endgroup$ – Nero Sep 2 '15 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ Your edit makes it less relevant now, but I've posted a meta discussion about whether modelling should be in scope. $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Sep 2 '15 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ @trichoplax That's actually a good question, because maybe I misinterpreted this myself. That's also why I used afaik in that sentence. $\endgroup$ – Nero Sep 2 '15 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ Until we have the meta discussion we're all guessing :) $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Sep 2 '15 at 20:56

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