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This question has been closed for being "too localized", despite having a fair amount of interest, upvotes and favourites from the UK community.

I can understand how it's completely useless to everyone across the ocean, but come on! Is UK really so localized as to be unacceptable on this site?

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Well, it's not just the "applies to UK" that is the problem here -- it's a generic set of shopping recommendations.

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping/

But consider the voluminous amount of information you need to even begin properly answering a shopping question:

  • What is your budget?
  • Where do you live?
  • What are your preferences?
  • Which alternatives will you consider?
  • When do you want to buy?

It's soliciting opinions, too, which makes it worse and could be an "infinite answers" / "let's make a list of X!" question.

The correct way to ask this is to teach someone what to look for in an electronics supplier, under the premise of "don't give them a fish, teach them to fish". If that advice is accompanied by example recommendations, it's OK.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would agree with this idea... except that this isn't like that. Generic electronics suppliers are, well, generic - and it's not like there are hundreds of them. It's sufficient to have a list of them, without learning how to find one. \$\endgroup\$ – Roman Starkov Apr 14 '11 at 11:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Of course if this really is the problem, then surely this question has the exact same problem too. But let me guess, it will stay open because it is somehow a tiny bit different from the one I linked - e.g. by being useful in the States... \$\endgroup\$ – Roman Starkov Apr 14 '11 at 11:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @romkyns, when ED started beta, it was migrated with ChipHacker. We still have some questions that were allowed, but not anymore. We are acting on them, but there are many issues to review. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Grillo Apr 14 '11 at 11:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Daniel ok, thanks for that. While I'd rather both stayed open, I value consistency. I'm sure it's a quick thing to close that other one, to indicate that such questions are not wanted on this new website and not send mixed signals. \$\endgroup\$ – Roman Starkov Apr 14 '11 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ What's wrong with "Let's make a list of X"? \$\endgroup\$ – endolith Apr 14 '11 at 15:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Romkyns, if you see something we should have closed, Flag it! We can only spend so many hours a day on the site. @jeffatwood is spot on here, our site will fall apart into nothing if we just have 8 million shopping questions. This is the frame of thought that the moderators are currently acting on. @romkyns, on the note of consistency, if the police cannot catch every killer they still keep trying. We are consistently trying to keep up and keep things consistent, I am sorry if it sometimes does not feel this way. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Apr 14 '11 at 15:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @endo see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/57226/… but "let's make a list of X!" is a dangerous phenomenon that should be strongly discouraged. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Atwood Apr 14 '11 at 23:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jeff: I don't agree with that. It's another arbitrary prohibition against an entire class of questions, just because some examples in that class are bad. That doesn't mean they're all bad. A question for which the answer is a short list of items that couldn't be found easily without years of experience is a "list of X", but still benefits lots of people. \$\endgroup\$ – endolith Apr 17 '11 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endo so long as the ramifications of this are being thought about, it might be OK. If the answers can grow infinitely, if all the answers are based on PERSONAL OPINION ONLY, then it's bad. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Atwood Apr 17 '11 at 22:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jeff, @endo, we attempt to allow good questions of the high quality but needs many years of experience sort with use of community wiki. But this must be limited, as pointed out, and has been as such. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Apr 30 '11 at 10:16
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I don't think so. The tag says:

This question would only be relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

While the UK is kinda small, it's really the amount of people in that population that benefit from the answers that matters. Antarctica is a lot bigger than New York City, but one has a lot more electronics enthusiasts than the other.

That question benefits a large population of users, is widely applicable (not something specific like "Help me find a part for my computer that meets my transient idiosyncratic needs"), not subjective (like "What's the best video card?"), and isn't an "extraordinarily narrow situation".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ IMHO not the real problem with the post, so a bit of a red herring... \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Atwood Apr 14 '11 at 7:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jeff: What is the problem with the post then? If it's not "too localized" (= it's beneficial to a large number of people), then what other reason is there to close it? \$\endgroup\$ – endolith Apr 14 '11 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ he was pointing out that I was not trying to say the UK is small. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 16 '11 at 16:26
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I'm tending to come to a slightly different conclusion to the one in Jeff's answer.

Before I state my answer, let me state my bias, as I most certainly am biased! I am based in the UK, and I develop some hardware but my primary job is software - I know very few people who have done much hardware development. I have struggled a lot to find good suppliers for both components and PCBs.

I would argue that it's not a generic shopping question, and that there is some value - their are a relatively small set of good generic component suppliers in the UK (or that are well setup for dealing with UK orders), and some of them are hard to find. It took me almost 6 years to find a good UK source for prototype/small run PCBs (fwiw, prototypes at Spirit Circuits for free and small runs through their ebay store). I only discovered mouser and digikey after asking some people who had been in the industry a while. Some of the best suppliers hardly advertise, and some of the best ones have poor or even non-existent websites (eg. another one that took me years to find, a cheap & fast place for custom machined plastic enclosures, BCL Distribution).

I do however agree with Jeff that it wasn't the best question, but I would say it would have been better to edit it to make it a better question rather than leave it turning up in searches as a closed answer that no one can now improve. An example of what I think would be a better question is "Where do engineers in the UK usually go when they're trying to obtain fairly generic components for building prototypes or small runs?"

In a lot of ways, it's a very similar question to "Which is the best C++ compiler?" - these suppliers are our essential tools of our trade, using the correct one can make a huge difference to a project.

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