This has been asked before, but all the ones I found are from 2010 / 2011 era.

Basically, my question is this - should well researched, well asked equipment recommendation questions really be marked as off topic? I've seen a couple of questions where they have done their research, and are asking if they'd be better off with camera a or b for their needs. The question is well formed and all that.

I agree that "should i buy a canon or nikon" is pointless, and doesn't add anything to the site, however although a well thought out recommendation question may not in itself add anything to the site in the long term, would it not be wise to help that person out, and make them feel welcome and thus encourage them to continue contributing to the site?

So yeah, should we be more welcoming of questions along the lines of "I want to achieve result xyz, camera a has these advantages, camera b has these advantages and I am confused as to which one i should buy, can you point me in the right direction?"

  • 1
    Could you give some links to some examples of what you think are good recommendation questions?
    – Philip Kendall Mod
    Jan 30 '15 at 13:22
  • @PhilipKendall - It was my question, but it received 24 upvotes, 9 favorites, and 15,000 views - so I'm assuming the community liked it quite a bit: What lenses would best comprise a travel photography kit? What is different between my question and the others?(I'm playing a bit of devils advocate)
    – dpollitt
    Jan 30 '15 at 13:51
  • @dpollitt While the answers to that question are a bit Canon specific, I think it works because the general recommendations of something like (wide angle zoom, normal zoom, telephoto zoom, 1+ fast primes) is a recommendation which doesn't change very much with manufacturer or time.
    – Philip Kendall Mod
    Jan 30 '15 at 14:56
  • If you're interested in a home for these kind of questions, support/follow this proposal for a Camera Shopping Stack Exchange
    – mattdm
    Apr 25 '15 at 12:24

I don't think our opinion has much changed on this, especially given recent discussions about improving the stock close reason available for this purpose.

What it comes down to, in my view, is that if you really have done the research and you can't decide then there are one of two things standing in your way:

  1. There is a question or distinction that you still don't understand and need clarity on it.

  2. It's all things equal and you want someone else to make the decision for you.

If it's the former, ask the real question. If it's the latter, toss your own coin. :)

Finally, specific models have a short shelf life and don't really add to the value of this site for future visitors.

  • Camera bodies have short shelf life, but there are a lot of lens questions getting flagged for closing - a specific Canon lens vs Tamron equivalent for example. And lenses can be around for decades. I have a hard time deciding whether those should be closed as too subjective or not.
    – MikeW Mod
    Jan 28 '15 at 18:49
  • 1
    if you start accepting lenses, you create a slippery slope, because now "this" is okay and "that" isn't, and frankly, I wouldn't want to be the person answering "why?" questions or policing that. And I agree we don't want this place to become another gear bag chatter place.
    – chuqui
    Jan 30 '15 at 2:27
  • 1
    Very well said Joanne, glad you are a mod here.
    – dpollitt
    Jan 30 '15 at 2:58
  • @dpollitt - thanks.
    – Joanne C
    Jan 30 '15 at 9:14
  • 1
    @MikeW - I use my judgement on those, but basically if it's "should I buy x or y" then I vote to close. A more specific question on the distinction between two lenses in a purchase question then you're really back to my first point and I try to get to that instead.
    – Joanne C
    Jan 30 '15 at 9:16

If the premise is that answering these types of questions will bring additional users to the site, I'll pass. The vast majority of these questions are not well researched and show any type of effort on the part of the poster. I am doubtful they are going to contribute so much that we should bend our rules to let in these questions that really aren't what SE is about.

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