Question at hand: https://dsp.stackexchange.com/questions/3/any-good-open-source-implementation-for-hand-tracking

The question immediately got a down-vote, my assumption is that it received it because it is just asking for code.

So what is our official policy on this?

It should also be asked as to what our official policy is on asking for references on where to start. Questions like "What is a good book to get started with DSP?" and "I have done lots of programming, but have never done signal processing, where should I start?"

  • $\begingroup$ I grouped both "Where can I get code" and "What book should I get" together since they are both asking for an external link. $\endgroup$ – Kellenjb Aug 16 '11 at 20:35

I have a theory, and this is only a theory:

Every site will start off with someone wanting to ask "What is a good book/blog/tutorial/resource to get started with ____current topic____" but those are just about the worst questions to actually ask on the site, because those are pretty much "shopping" questions, and those are not beneficial to the site.

They're great as FAQs, and if we need them as a blog entry, we can formulate one here that once the site decides it needs a blogoverflow blog, that it can be posted there, as a canonical resource.

But while they're great as FAQs, they suck as Q&A site questions. They will, by their very nature, become obsolete over time. There's always a better mousetrap, altho specific problems have very acute ways of being solved in general. So, I don't think those questions are on topic. Just my $0.02


My 2 cents is, if a question is written such that it solicits answers that are a single sentence that says something along the lines of "Get this book" or "Get it from this website", then it is not a good question.

We are here to be the source of content, not a place to find links.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ We are here to be the source of content, not a place to find links. well said $\endgroup$ – jcolebrand Aug 17 '11 at 1:23

I believe this question was downvoted because you can easly find the answer on Google.

However, as long as code is under any open-source licence I don't see any harm in questions like this and answering them. In fact, as programmer, I can tell you that only way to learn how to do X is to see code which does X. However, I'm strongly against plagiarism.

Also, I don't see any harm in question asking for directions or literature about topic X as long as it is on topic. One of the the best books and articals about IT security I found on security.stackexchange.

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    $\begingroup$ I am not trying to address if it is OK to copy code over or not, I am trying to address people asking a question that can be answered with "Go to this website" $\endgroup$ – Kellenjb Aug 16 '11 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ Well I have yet to see piece of information which isn't on the internet. But, I'm against questions which you can copy into google and find 10 great answers. $\endgroup$ – StupidOne Aug 16 '11 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ My point is that "How do I do" and "Where can I find" are very different view points to be asking questions from. $\endgroup$ – Kellenjb Aug 16 '11 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe it's because I'm not native English speaker, but, more or less it's same to me. Anyway, if you would ask me do I agree with you or not, I would say - yes. $\endgroup$ – StupidOne Aug 16 '11 at 20:45

We should be careful here. When someone says where can I find code fox X?, I'd downvote it. However, if someone asks are there good books or paper that provide an in-depth discussion of the Pan-Tompkins algorithm?, I say this is a valid question. Asking for publicly available code implementations is not alright. Asking for sources of rare information is.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Such questions will be polls, so they should be Community Wikis. Also, that single sentence would be much improved by adding some objective qualities that could be used to sort the answers: Code examples, derivations, example exercises, age, cost etc. should all be considered, there's no one way to define 'good'. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Vermeer Aug 17 '11 at 21:51

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