Do we need a new custom close reason for shopping requests?

Stack Overflow has one:

Questions asking us to recommend or find a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Stack Overflow as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.

As does Super User:

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. Here are a few suggestions on how to properly ask this type of question.

and Programmers:

Questions asking us to recommend a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Programmers as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.

The question that prompted this one was:

Best mockup software for presenting the UX of a mobile app

Which is clearly a shopping request, but I had to use the "primarily opinion based" option when voting to close. While this is also correct, a "shopping recommendation" close reason would be clearer as to exactly why the question was closed.

If we do decide to have one, what form should it take?


2 Answers 2


/EDIT - Now that we'll be looking to move the better Icon Request questions over to Graphic Design instead of closing them off that opens up a close reason here. So perhaps this Shopping Request close reason could take its place?


The trouble with setting this as a custom close reason is that it would have to replace one of the existing three reasons currently in place, which are:

  • Questions about Implementation are off-topic because this site is for User Experience design questions, not questions around how to implement these designs. Therefore, questions around the use of programs like Photoshop or languages such as CSS or JavaScript are off topic.
  • Questions about Site Reviews are off-topic because questions here are expected to be relevant for a variety of people in the same situation. Reviewing a site, flow or interface only helps one person at a specific time. Instead try to ask a focused question about a particular aspect of the design that solicits solutions, not opinions.
  • Questions requesting Icon Suggestions are off topic. While the subject of icons is on topic, there's very little value in soliciting suggestions for a specific icon in a specific context. See this meta post for more information about this topic.

So in theory, yes, I agree that it is a common enough issue that a custom close reason would be useful, but the existing close reasons are also pretty common as well.

Taking the Implementation close reason first - questions being asked that would fall into this category are those that are perfectly formed, have a theoretical correct answer but have just been posted in the wrong site for whatever reason. None of the other OT default reasons (too broad, duplicate, opinion-based) would fit this question, so it really does need its own specific custom close reason in my opinion.

The Site Reviews one pops up with alarming frequency, hence its inclusion in the list of close reasons. Now admittedly it could be classed as 'Too Broad' or 'Opinion Based' but due to the frequency of these items coming in I'm not sure if it's a good idea to get rid of it altogether.

Finally the Icon Suggestion post is a long-standing one here, and was included in the original FAQ as a 'don't ask questions like this' status. These questions still get asked here and wouldn't exactly be covered by the 'Opinion Based' or 'Too Broad' closure reasons.

So, therein lies the dilemma. It seems the only custom reason that could be chopped out is the Site Reviews one, but that is one that gets used pretty frequently. Perhaps we could combine them together such as 'Recommendations and Reviews for existing sites and products are off-topic for this site because...' but that seems a little clunky to me as it is shoehorning two different problems into the one reason (and also might make it a bit harder to audit what type of questions are being closed for what reason).

So that's my suggestion.... Although I'm not really sure what I've suggested here.

  • 3
    We can get the number of custom close reasons increased if there's a real need. Stack Overflow has five.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 9:27
  • 3
    @ChrisF: Well as you point out in your question, several sites already have a 'no shopping request' close reason so perhaps the best way forward is for that to be a standard close reason across the board for all sites?
    – JonW Mod
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 9:52
  • That's also a possibility.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 9:52

Since the other option hasn't been posted as an answer yet:

We could ask to have our number of custom close reasons expanded and add:

Sorry, but questions requesting recommendations for books / software / apps / papers etc. would fall into the shopping request category and aren't really suitable to a Q&A website. The reason for this is that there is no one correct answer, and such recommended items would soon be updated and replaced with newer / better versions making the best answers redundant. Therefore you're better off visiting our Chat site for such discussions, they're not really suitable for this main site I'm afraid.

Blatantly stolen from JonW

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