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Are questions asking for product recommendations on or off topic? This question for example clearly asks for a specific product recommendation. It's attracted three close votes, which are all to

Questions seeking price-shopping assistance are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve.

That is not actually "product recommendations", is it. Are they allowed? The help center says that topics that are off topic include:

shopping recommendations (too localized, and not timeless),

Is that off topic reason just slightly misworded, so it should be

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

Or are product recommendations on-topic actually? Or is this intentional that the off topic reason doesn't mention it? That seems confusing to me (if this is closed, it'll say "Price-shopping is off topic", but this isn't asking about prices.)

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Product recommendations are not on topic.

I'm honestly not certain where the wording for the current close reasons came from, but I suspect they were added by the CE team when these changes were implemented to the Close system, and were presumably derived from our off-topic reasons.

Moderators can edit the two existing "Off Topic" pre-filled reasons (the price-shopping one, and the medical advice one) (more accurately, we can "deactivate" them, and replace them with new ones.

We can also add a third one, if we need it.

The default "This question does not appear to be about parenting within the scope defined in the help center." can also be edited, if necessary.

The message indicating that it is off-topic because it belongs on another SE site is not something we (the parenting mods) can change.

I think we should change the current close description to your suggested wording of:

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

  • The compound adjective "price-shopping" has always irritated me. Technically it means shopping based on price. The intention, I believe is "price/shopping" or "price or shopping". Though even then the inclusion of "price" seems rather odd. – Sylas Seabrook Jun 7 '14 at 2:26
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This site decided (in the closed beta phase) that questions should be off-topic if they sound like "what product is best for X" or "where can I buy product Y at the lowest price".

The reason is that a product that was on the market two years ago probably doesn't exist any more, so such an answer would not hold value in the long run (and this site intends to collect enduring wisdom about parenting). Of course prices change even faster than that, so price discussions are even less useful.

As you see, the wording about "price shopping" is unfortunate because it doesn't indicate the core reasoning behind the off-topic idea as outlined above.

In summary, specific product recommendations are off-topic and we generally try to convert such questions into their useful counterpart: "what aspects should I consider in a product of type Z?"

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