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So it was alluded to in Should we allow software questions? (take 2) that software recommendation questions are generally off-topic but as pointed out by @dmckee on neutron transport approximations for nuclear rocket modelling there is no clear policy regarding whether recommendations for physics-based software for a specific problem is considered off-topic.

General topics (ie. fluid dynamics) would become a list answer and should be off-topic. Book, and from the direction of the answers on my other question, journal recommendations about general problems are off-topic.

So is this question off-topic? Can we develop a clear policy on this?

EDIT

A bit more research shows that David closed as off-topic the following recommendation questions:

Software for simulating supersonic aerodynamics

How does this problems are solved (modeling/simulation)?

but this one remains open:

What software can I use to simulate supersonic gas particle flow?

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I think it is off topic - as evidenced by the fact that I've closed it ;-) You're right, recommendation questions are not on topic here.

That last question on your list hadn't been touched since mid-2011, whereas the other two were closed in late 2012. So I think this is a case of our policies being vague in the early days of the site and then getting pinned down over time. I agree that the last question is another recommendation question and so I've closed that one as well.

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  • $\begingroup$ I figured you would agree :) But since it seemed there was some question about whether it's on topic or not, I figured it would be good to try and come up with something! But the first question in my list was from 2011 and closed by you at the end of 2012, I figure the last question you just missed. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 13 '13 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, that's fair. Moderation is a messy business and it can be hard to tell what's on topic and what's not - each of us moderators have our own idea, which ideally should but in practice may not quite agree with the community consensus, plus sometimes policies change over time so that something that used to be okay isn't anymore, and often we just miss thing. This was a good question to ask. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jan 13 '13 at 2:53

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