We have quite a lot questions that basically state

I need a datasheet for XYZ, but haven't been able to locate one.

I'm assuming the search for "datasheet for" is:question isn't quite an exhaustive list, as things that can be found with a few seconds of google probably were downvoted due to being underresearched, and then potentially deleted by the asker.

I wonder whether there's a guideline for how to deal with these

  • They are asking for an external resource (which feels very similar to product questions)
  • They don't contain a technical question (but a request, which is similar, but is it the same within this site's ideals?)
  • The chances of someone going "oh yes, google won't find that, but here's the datasheet on my special server" is small
  • Answers potentially outdate very quickly and can't be self-contained
  • It's generally not in the SE spirit to replace search engines if they can be used for the same purpose as asking. Does this also apply when google fails to deliver?

Should such questions be closed? If yes, how?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ IMHO, there have been a few cases where the user needs a datasheet for a component and only searches verbatim for the markings on the package, where an experienced EE could more easily tell what is the date code, manufacturer logo and what might be the device name, along with the name of the package, gives the answer (datasheet searchable on google). It's closely related to identify this IC though. \$\endgroup\$
    – winny
    Feb 2, 2021 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason that this even needs to be posted on the meta? I thought closing of "I need a datasheet questions" was standard procedure. If someone is asking for a resource, the best place to do that is in the chat \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Feb 2, 2021 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VoltageSpike Oh! If that's a universally followed rule, we should probably codify that somewhere! Especially considering > 1000 question asking for a datasheet. Also, which close reason? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2021 at 17:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If they are asking for only for a datasheet then it's a shopping question remember to be nice (SE's policy) and it might be a good idea to tell them they can check the chat but YMMV \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Feb 3, 2021 at 3:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool! I didn't know that it's considered a shopping question. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 3, 2021 at 8:29

1 Answer 1


To put it in Andy's words:

Questions seeking recommendations for specific products or places to purchase them are off-topic as they are rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete. - unfortunately, this includes "can't find, can you help" questions.

And I agree: such questions ask for a resource that may or may not exist and fulfills the needs of the asker, which is the reason why we don't allow product recommendation questions (we don't generally dislike choosing components!). There's simply no expertise to be contributed here – we're simply shouldn't be aiming for a transformation to a "super-search engine for hard to find documents".

  • \$\begingroup\$ It goes without saying that I agree. While ever we (SE) choose to close (shopping) questions that seek product recommendations, we should regard a data sheet in the same light. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Feb 2, 2021 at 14:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .