I just wanted to check on the policy of PF&M with regard to questions about obtaining financial information. (My question is currently on hold.)

Financial information is of course a very broad subject. Some questions pertaining to this subject have been closed in the past several years, I have noticed. However, others remain open. The information asked about in this question is also liable to becoming obsolete, and it is certainly asking for a service, if information can be called a service. Thus, my first question here is how the line is drawn on questions asking for reference information help: what is a "product or service recommendation" that "tends to become obsolete quickly" and what isn't? If this rule is construed to mean that the stack prohibits questions asking about paid services, that is one thing. But if the rule relates to any financial information, this brings me to another question.

Obtaining reliable information is one of the most important parts of investing. While it's true that databases can change, it's hard to see why this is reason for these questions to be disallowed entirely. Indeed, many of the most popular questions from this stack, closed or open, relate to questions about obtaining financial information, and they have tens of thousands of views. I'm wondering what the reasoning is here vis a vis finding a middle ground. Is there no way to allow new questions to come up that would update the old ones? As it is, the rules seem applied unevenly.

Thanks for your input.

  • The site is moderated by the community so you aren't always going to have the line drawn in a completely consistent way that you might if there was a single moderator making these decisions.
    – JohnFx Mod
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 3:01
  • True, but this still leaves my second question. Isn't data sourcing something that this stack has an interest in? Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 3:24

2 Answers 2


The prohibition is about any requests for external resources (web sites, service providers, etc). I think there is a degree of flexibility between different StackExchange sites on how strictly it's applied, but personally I think it should be quite strict, and I think that's currently what we actually do.

Even though these questions can well be useful, as you outline, they're a real magnet for spam. This site doesn't have to solve every problem associated with personal finance, and in my view it's best to focus on the things the StackExchange format is well-suited to.

  • Well I do see how it can be a question that lots of new users just ask without looking at previous answers first, if that's the kind of spam you mean. It is unfortunate, on the other hand, since it's really not feasible for SE to provide actual data. I'm always a believer in ingenuity and creative solutions to work around things like this, but as a newish user here, I definitely don't have a full picture. Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 8:31
  • 2
    @Albatrosspro I mean spam in the sense of people coming along months/years later and advertising their own service in answers. Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 9:32

Some questions pertaining to this subject have been closed in the past several years, I have noticed. However, others remain open.

The site is evolving, initially few question that were answered remain open. However quite a few such questions are closed. Although the description "Product or Service ..." may not be quite accurate. The general consensuses evolved is more and more there is a debate of which specific website/bank/product/software is good. A golden rule book doesn't exist that says which website are universally good and which are paid social media promotions.

The wording is also quite important. If a methodology to find something is requested or the problem statement you are trying to solve; it may get a good answer along with few notable sites. However a point blank question; IPO site chances are it would tend to get closed.

Related Discussion The community had discussed this in past, the most notable question on this discussion is What is meant by the off-topic close reason "product or service recommendations"?.

Others are

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