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Prompted by this question this question and several like it in the past, I propose following change to the shopping question close reason.

Questions seeking recommendations for specific products or places to purchase them are off-topic as they are rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve.

to

Questions seeking recommendations for specific products, places to purchase them, or pricing are off-topic as they are rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve.

Pricing is incredibly volatile, and I think we should specifically include it as part of the close reason.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I have no objection to including pricing explicitly as part of the reasons to close a question (so +1), but implicitly, it's already considered a reason for closing anyway. You can't ask a question on pricing without asking where you can get the part for the price, can you? And I'm pretty sure any question on pricing would be closed within the hour anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – Ricardo Jan 4 '15 at 16:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user29792 That's the status quo, but the close reason as is doesn't really help the OP understand why the question was closed. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Young Jan 4 '15 at 16:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user29792: Of course you can. I can just ask something like "What is the highest price for xxx you would consider not being a rip off" or similar. I can imagine this thought being quite common when sent away for "don't ask where to buy". People will look around, find some, and think "uh, this seems expensive, lets ask if I am not ripped of". \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Jan 5 '15 at 11:52
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I'm having trouble wording what makes a bad "shopping" question rather than a good one.

"I need a part that does X" is clearly bad.

"I need a part that does X -- what things should I consider when deciding between available products?" is clearly on topic.

"I need a part, and I'm trying to balance design for X considerations with design for Y considerations" is also interesting, but a bit open ended.

Perhaps "recommendations for specific products are off topic, but questions concerning the decision process may be on topic as a central issue of engineering practice."

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree. I'll have to give that some thought and see what I come up with later tonight. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Young Jan 5 '15 at 19:18
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I agree with the shopping and pricing part as it is indeed volatile. But I think that we should re-evaluate the whole ban on product recommendations. Stack Exchange and particularly EE.SE seems like an ideal forum for product recommendations, because of the voting system.

Component selection is a huge amount of work in any electronic product design. It takes so much time, thought and energy, and the outcome is not certain. This would be a great community to answer those sorts of questions. The combined expertise of this community is overwhelming.

The reason stated to dismiss these question is that "they are rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete". Is this really the case? It's quite often that if someone wants to design a product to do XYZ, there are also others that want to design a similar product. And if at sometime someone wants to design a bit more esoteric product, what's the harm in asking?

Obsolescence wouldn't seem to be much of a problem. Usually components are available for decades. And when they do become obsolete: no problem. Someone will write a new answer that describes another part that can replace the obsoleted part.

The same goes for "opinion-based" dismissal. Yesterday there was a question that sought to compare the different ARM toolchains. Very interesting question and what better place than this to ask this question? I for one would have welcomed a lot more opinions on the matter before the question was closed.

Anybody agree?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't belong here. It should be a separate meta question so that people can write different opinions about it that can be voted on. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Jan 4 '15 at 14:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ If anyone feels it has any chance of passing, I'll second the motion. \$\endgroup\$ – PkP Jan 4 '15 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ On SO this was partially "solved" by creating programmers.SE, where opinions such as tool-chain comparisons are definitely welcome. Do we need electrical-engineers.SE for stuff like "what's the best audio opamp"?! \$\endgroup\$ – Fizz Jan 4 '15 at 23:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RespawnedFluff I'm not sure that you are correct about Programmers.SE. From my ongoing observation of Programmers.SE, I think they would close a tool chain comparison question. To be sure, I can ask Programmers.SE mods in their chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Jan 4 '15 at 23:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ No need: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/44662/… or programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/221258/… \$\endgroup\$ – Fizz Jan 4 '15 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, the most active one: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/225400/… \$\endgroup\$ – Fizz Jan 4 '15 at 23:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ And speaking of mostly-opinion-based questions, here's something from our back yard, asking about good (beginner) electronics book(s): electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/616/… \$\endgroup\$ – Fizz Jan 5 '15 at 0:24
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Lets see...

  • It seems that most people agree that pricing is part of that reason
  • Some think pricing is too implicit in the current wording, thus making it explicit is making it clearer
  • Some think it is already in there, but agree that it won't harm (e.g. it won't unnecessarily complicate the existing wording)

I haven't sensed any compelling reason on why it might be bad to add it. So lets do it (on some metas you would need to re-tag it as feature-request to get the powers that be to act upon it, don't know about this one).

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