# Are Software Recommendation Questions Off-Topic for this website?

I have the following question:

What software(s) would I need and how would I have to use them to create a box plot for data for which I only know the 95% confidence interval and mean?

that I would love to ask but I am afraid of being downvoted for it so I would like to see if it is off-topic here before asking it on the main site.

In my opinion not only is this fine, I wish others would phrase their questions like it. All too often people instead ask perfectly general and interesting questions in the restricted form of "how can I do this in R/SAS/Stata/Whatever," which is limiting and repetitive.

• +1. Just added another answer, as I was recently involved in the software tag excerpt update, and thought it would be a good repository, putting the same in another way. – Andre Silva Jul 19 '13 at 19:33
• Nothing is to stop you from answering the general interesting question and leaving it to somebody else to answer the nuts and bolts question. For the record, StackOverflow gets it wrong (stackoverflow.com/questions/17368223/…) on occasion (stackoverflow.com/questions/10064080/…). – russellpierce Jul 23 '13 at 1:59

Take a look at the current tag excerpt:

"Make sure your question is related to STATISTICS, MACHINE LEARNING, or DATA ANALYSIS and is not solely about programming, support, or bugs. Include additional tags referring to the statistical issues involved."

So, your question would include statistics issues (statistics and/or data analysis) like to construct a , but with limited statistical information: , and

It could also being related to visualizing data (), which is on topic at CV main site.

• +1, I think this is right. The key here is: "your question is related to STATISTICS... not solely about programming, support, or bugs". The question, as stated, meets those criteria. – gung - Reinstate Monica Jul 20 '13 at 2:31
• The way I see it, this statement serves one main purpose: Avoiding pure programming questions like “How do I reformat a data frame in such and such a way?” that are perfectly acceptable on SE and would overwhelm statistics questions on this site. Software recommendations do not seem appropriate there and there is not going to be many of them anyway so I think we can just consider them on-topic. – Gala Jul 21 '13 at 8:29
• @GaëlLaurans, it makes sense for me. Thank's for the comment. – Andre Silva Jul 22 '13 at 16:18
• Even here software questions are likely to be a matter of opinion and probably should be tagged as community wiki. – russellpierce Jul 23 '13 at 2:00