The problem is far more general on SE. The people who do things are the ones who have experience with tools. This is not true just in WM, but it is is true in Photography, GIS/GPS, AskDifferent, SuperUser...
The Software Recommendation site is moribund. I've had detailed questions up there for over a year and gotten 1 answer -- not one that would get a check. And you can see why. How many WM guys read SR? Most of the stuff there is NOT WM stuff, so you aren't interested.
The key is to have a decent guide for both that type of question and that type of answer.
E.g. A tool request should have:
- A list of properties that the desired solution has.
- A minimum of N tools that the author has looked at, and rejected with the reasons listed.
- Optionally a list of items he's considering, with notes as to details he's uncertain about, or still checking out. If this list is longer the the list above, he gets a curt, "Come back when you've done more homework"
In general the question and answer should be proportional. Indeed much could be done to improve questions on SE (and Quora...) if there was a minimum character count on the question.
Answers should be in the form
Name of tool. Date of last release.
Top level web site of tool (DATE)
The answer's estimate of the fit of this tool to the question.
Response to the items on the desired property list.
Partial answers in the form of "Have you considered X" should be posted as comments to the original question, and the author is responsible for editing the question to address that recommendation.
In some cases the request can be for a meta answer. E.g. What are good recommendation sites for X
Spam and self promotion. If there were a product that matched my needs out there, do I care if the author of it tells me? No. I have zero objection to Relevant self promotion.
Possibly a user needs to have X points before being able to respond to a question tagged tool (server, whatever) recommendation.
I agree that asking about hosting sites is probably a wheel spinner. It changes too fast. It's also largely a commodity market. Ultimately you don't care if your packets come from a server room in San Jose or Seattle.
Software -- server, or toolchain -- is different. Usually there is a learning curve (cliff...) and getting it set up even to do a test can take days. Often switching systems can require time consuming data mangling.
Searching. Sometimes I've beat my head against the monitor intermittently for days trying to find an answer. Then I come up with the right search word, and blossoms unfold before my eyes. Sometimes the answer to a question is suggesting the right set of search terms.
I got embroiled with this with the following problem:
I want to host some 200,000 images, with a canonical organization by date, but with virtual albums based on ITPC metadata. It needs to run in a LAMP environment. Presentation pages must be customizable, or there need to be extensive collections of themes. There needs to be a distributed moderator system, and a way to attach threaded comments at any level. E.g. discussions at the category, album, event, and image. It needs a good support community.
If someone can show me the google search that will find me answers to that, please post a comment. (The above is a synopsis. See the closed question on the main page.)
Or if someone can tell me how to find a good source of LAMP compatible photo galery servers, I'd appreciate it.