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Our custom close reason for shopping questions is confusing.

It currently reads:

Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve.

This has two problems:

  1. That they tend to become obsolete quickly is not the primary reason we close shopping questions. The primary reason is that they attract low quality, opinionated, and spam answers.

  2. Asking users to describe their specific problem in this way isn't very helpful, since the user is almost always already trying to solve a problem, and usually has described it to some extent in their question.

How should this be reworded to address these issues? Remember that the goal here is to encourage higher-quality questions.

I've made my own suggestion below and I'm interested in hearing any other ideas.

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My suggested rewrite of this is:

Requests for product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they attract low quality, opinionated and spam answers, and the answers become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe the business problem you are working on, the research you have done, and the steps taken so far to solve it.

  • I like the text better, but now it doesn't match the linked article at all... though I think the problem is more with needing a better article to link. – Chris S Jul 24 '14 at 14:48
  • Good point. When I find one, I'll link to it. If nothing better comes along I'll just link to the meta Q&A I linked to in the question. Ideally, I'd like to have a meta Q&A that explains how to ask this sort of question correctly, such as the one on SU. – Michael Hampton Jul 24 '14 at 14:50
  • The answer you linked to @TheCleaner is a much better explanation. I think it should be linked in the close reason (slightly edited and posted elsewhere, perhaps). – HopelessN00b Jul 24 '14 at 14:52
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    @HopelessN00b It's the same post. I just linked to the answer there, and the question here. Easy enough to change. – Michael Hampton Jul 24 '14 at 14:54
  • Better, probably have to be good enough. Maybe reword slightly to "are off-topic because the answers they attract are low quality, opinionated, spam, or become obsolete quickly", just to shorten it up a bit. – Chris S Jul 24 '14 at 14:57
  • The problem with this text is that it doesn't clarify what sort of question is still permissible to ask. Falcon Momot's suggestion fixes that. – reinierpost Aug 5 '14 at 15:05
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I think maybe it should read:

Requests for product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they attract self-promotion and opinion-based answers, and the answers become obsolete quickly. Instead, try asking how to solve the specific problem you are having, and describe your thinking on it so far.

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