I know on other *.stackexchange sites, buying advice is strongly discouraged.

Installing Xenon headlights in 2004 Chrysler Sebring

I looked through the faq for mechanics and did not see that same stipulation.

Should buying advice questions be closed?

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I think some of the SE conventions like this one are general carry-overs from the trilogy sites, which may or may not be applicable to all projects. It should (IMHO) be up to the individual communities to decide if such guidelines should apply. –  Iszi Mar 17 '11 at 3:58
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Let's not jump to conclusions right away. The question you're referring to has a lot of value as it focuses on the topic of "Is X what I need?". It gives plenty of background information to help answerers answer the question, which could be helpful to others wanting to do the same thing.

The only unreputable quality about the question might be the inquiry for pricing advice. Since the question can be improved, I would suggest the OP edit his question to remove the question about price.

If you wanted to help, you could post a comment suggesting that the OP remove this. Without that one question, this can be salvaged and provide the community with lots of value.

With that said, if the question were solely about price, I would suggest closing it as too localized.

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Ok, I'm good with that. I've had experience with other questions similar to this question's style on the other SE sites that were closed along these same lines. –  Patrick Mar 16 '11 at 2:18
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Worth noting here that the SU FAQ specifically excludes buying recommendations: that's to forestall "What's the best X / what X should I buy?" questions. There's a blog entry that explains this:

Let’s say the question asker provided all that information. Fat chance, I know, but let’s pretend for a moment they did — and we were able to provide the perfect, ideal shopping recommendation to them. Even if that was the case, technology moves so rapidly that the best shopping recommendations will be utterly obsolete within a year! What’s the point of a bunch of labor intensive questions that provide only temporary benefit to a limited (some might say Too Localized) audience?

But there's a world of difference between asking, "Which headlights should I buy?" and "How can I evaluate the cost and quality of a headlight installation?" That kit on Amazon may not be available to future readers, but advice on how to judge its quality can outlast it:

Thus, when it comes to shopping questions, don’t ask us what you should buy — ask us what you need to learn to tell what you should buy

So when folks talk derisively about "shopping questions", they're referring to the lazy, localized "help me pick something from a list" variety. There's nothing wrong at all with trying to learn how to evaluate a product or service, provided that knowledge can be retained and re-used in an ever-changing marketplace.

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