Are questions asking what features ones should look for in a product or comparing one set of features to another on or off topic?

These 4 are the only questions like this that I know of that are closed,

  1. What to look for in hiking shoes?
  2. What are the properties I should look for in running shoes?
  3. Campervans - larger vs smaller
  4. Assault II vs Hunter Pro

The rest such as the ones below are all open,

  1. Synthetic vs Down sleeping bags?
  2. Trekking Poles - Carbon Fiber vs. Aluminum
  3. Primaloft vs Advanced Skin Warm
  4. Quality of duck vs goose down
  5. Many more that fit this description

2 Answers 2


As phrased, shopping questions like this are asking for opinions. The features that you want to look for are potentially very different than the features that I want to look for. That said, with a little rewording, the question can ask for information about what features differentiate between models of X. Those are good questions for our site since it leaves the opinion as to which features are better out of the analysis.

I personally think that we should actively edit these types of questions to make them conform better to the nuances of how SE works and then leave a comment to the user (possibly linking to a meta discussion about why we edited it). This way we are not turning away new users by making them jump through odd hoops.

  • 1
    Agree totally. The closed questions could be tweaked to greatly reduce the opinion based factor. If the OP doesn't like the edit, he can roll it back. If the OP has fallen off the planet, who cares if he doesn't like the edit? Note that almost all questions about performance of A vs performance of B will have some element of opinion in the answers -- or unique, not replicable odd experience.
    – ab2
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 0:12
  • The thing is though, its not really useful to know that down sleeping bags have down, and synthetic ones have synthetic insulation, without listing the pros and cons of each. Commented Jun 16, 2018 at 22:35

These are completely on topic, knowing which features are valuable and what the advantages of one over the other is useful to know regardless of which specific piece of gear one ends up buying.

Beyond that, listing the benefits of the features helps people decide, and hopefully figure out what they should buy, without having to ask us for a specific product.

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