Sometimes users will ask How can I solve problem Y and then the other answers will recommend product Y, are these off or on-topic?

For example,

  1. What's the best or easiest way to attach a loop tag onto canvas?
  2. How to keep paper from being damaged by water in the outdoors?
  3. How can I take keys with me while swimming?
  4. How to safely carry a fixed-blade knife?

The questions are on topic, the answers not so much. We should leave these open and write answers that suggest categories and not specific products

i.e. recommending down sleeping bags instead of a Marmot down sleeping bag from REI.

Sometimes there will be one standard product for a category (Nalgene bottles, Camelbak bladders, Speedy Stitchers) but we should try and write answers that suggest the broader category instead of the narrow, specific product.

  • Note that requiring answers to be more generic could, in some cases, lead to more "Where can I get X?" questions of the form "At [link], Sam recommends the use of devices that perform function Y. I am having difficulty figuring out what kinds of places sell Y's, and I cannot find it online either. I Googled 'companies that sell Y' and all I get are pictures of using Y." A: "There are only 2 companies in the world that sell Y, and they have a weird name for their product so it's hard to search for without knowing what it's called. You want either the Zorb by Arg or the Bayr by Puct." – Aaron Jun 14 '18 at 15:00
  • ... I have run into situations exactly like what I describe above, where you know there is a device that does X because you see where people have talked about devices that do X, but there is no official term for devices that do X and I don't know any specific companies or product names for any X's. I suppose I'm just saying to be careful that we don't make it impossible for someone to get the information they need. – Aaron Jun 14 '18 at 15:01

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