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Do we have a policy about including and suggesting freelancing websites in answers?

A number of answers, written by myself and others, have mentioned a freelance website (or a couple) in order to give an example of where someone may find work.

Since questions along the line of "what freelance websites are there" are probably going to be off topic (too broad + list based), does that mean that linking to a freelance websites should very rarely be necessary?

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These questions don't have a lot of value when it comes to building a high quality knowledge base of freelancing questions and answers. Additionally, this information is already out there on the Internet, so it's not helpful to just regurgitate existing information as it decreases the signal to noise ratio. Most importantly, these posts tend to attract a lot of spam or low quality answers, which further compounds the problems.

Our goal is to build a place where experts come for help, as well as enthusiasts. However, questions asked by the merely curious -- with no research effort -- just hurts our site, brings down our quality, and decreases the chances of the experts sticking around. As a site in public beta, we're essentially designing a site by filling it with high quality Q&A, which draws in more expertise and people like you who find our corner of the Internet interesting!

When you see questions like these, vote to close them. Afterwards, look for any sign or hint of a deeper problem. Just because someone asked a very generic list-style question doesn't mean there couldn't be a real question hiding in there somewhere.

I've found that sometimes leaving a nice, polite comment asking why can sometimes expose a deeper, more interesting problem, one that also results in the asker getting better answers from people like you, a real professional freelancer. For instance, if someone were to ask:

Has anyone ever used FreshBooks?

We would vote to close. But we'd also ask "why do you ask if we've used FreshBooks" and "what problem are you facing with it? Can you tell us more in an edit to your post?" In short, we'd try to get the asker to tell us more about the problem they need to solve. In some cases, this can result in improving the post to where we can ultimately vote to reopen it for answers, and this is the ultimate goal of putting a post on hold. Hope this helps!

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