NOTE: My purpose is not to close more questions, it's to clarify how to handle the questions consistently.


The "price-shopping" close reason has been confusing, practically since its creation.

It currently says:

Questions seeking price-shopping assistance are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. (The link is to a blog post in 2010 called "Let's go shopping," which began the inception of the close-reason.) Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve.

I think the wording needs to be changed, beginning at the very least with removing the hyphen between "price" and "shopping." Many questions seeking "shopping assistance," are not seeking "price assistance," and vice versa.

"Price-shopping" questions elicit long, often contentious, comment discussions about topicality, and comments about the actual questions get lost. Time is wasted closing/editing/re-opening/re-closing. The users who ask, including new and experienced, get confused.

We have many meta posts on this topic, most of which are highly viewed, but through nobody's fault, nothing has changed.

I was hoping to split it into two separate reasons, but moderator Rory Alsop said we can't. However, we can customize it to limit it to the types of questions we know we want to close. The suggestions from each answer when we thought we could do two could be merged into one if we want.

Presenting something for consideration is where we get stuck, and give up.

Other sites have customized reasons in this category. Looking at those might be helpful.

(Maybe this should be a different meta question as it's a bit off this topic, but I found something interesting at Bicycles SE. They have a tag called "Price" which says not to use it and why!) The gist is if you can't amend your question in a specific way, it's off-topic.)

  • Hi @Sue - I don't think we can split it into 2, however we can limit the close reason to those kind of shopping questions we want to close. The ones we don't wish to close can be descoped.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 19:04
  • @RoryAlsop i am pretty sure you can either create, or ask for, a second custom close reason, especially with a meta question to back it up.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 18:24
  • We have a fixed number of close slots, and I think we have all ours full.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 21:24
  • Related outdoors.meta.stackexchange.com/a/839/8794 Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 4:17

3 Answers 3


My suggestion.

Recommendations for what item to purchase are off-topic; questions about what features one should look for are on-topic.

Questions asking about the price of an item are also off topic as the information quickly becomes outdated. Consider asking in Chat instead.

  • If we are only able to do one, then this is my suggestion of both types. Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 19:09
  • 1
    This covers it. Making it more elaborate would only make it less clear.
    – ab2
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 18:48
  • Thanks so much for continuing to try to help this problem! With respect of course, I'm not sure chat would be the best suggestion to put in the Help Center page. The biggest obstacle is that it takes 20 rep to talk in the chat room. I don't know the stats, but it seems that a majority of shopping questions come from new users who wouldn't be able to take advantage of that option. Also, the chat room is frequently empty. Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 2:28
  • @sue I mean I guess we could take that out because it won’t be helpful to 100% of users and Leave however many might be helped in the dark but that seems like valuing fairness instead of actual helpfulness Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 4:20

To me price-shopping is just a subset of shopping. I would rather just call it shopping.

If you click he link in the reason to close the guidelines are pretty clear to me. Shopping is a better summary word in my opinion.

Mods does the site have the option to change that? Does this come down from above?

  • The question clearly states that according to a mod, we can change this, and if you look around the network, you will see custom close messages Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 18:07
  • @CharlieBrumbaugh If you don't mind I will take it from a mod. No kidding a lot of custom close messages. Does not mean the site had that discretion.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 18:15
  • 3
    @paparazzo while not a mod of this site, the beta site and graduate site I am a mod on both have custom close reasons. This meta post talks a little bit about them. you can only have 3 reasons and it takes two mods to make a new reason/edit active.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 18:35
  • @StrongBad Can a site mod change the wording?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 18:40
  • 3
    Yes - we can change the wording on close reasons if there is a good enough case to do so, and it doesn't materially break the system.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 19:02
  • 1
    @RoryAlsop Then please engage. There is a problem here. A single standard is not understood or applied. I don't agree with CB let's make up rules from the start. I don't think we need a split. I may not get what I want but can we agree there is a problem. All I assert is it should be consistent with higher level guidelines.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 19:09
  • I don't personally see a problem, however there obviously is a need to clarify as various folks are not comfortable with the current wording. If wording is agreed by the community, via the meta post, and it is something that it can be amended to (there are rules/guidelines/structure) then I see no reason why we shouldn't.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 20:07
  • @paparazzo, you're definitely right about that link to the original, official, blog post Q & A is Hard, Let's Go Shopping. It doesn't say price and shopping isn't hyphenated with anything. If we keep that in mind going forward that might help us reach a consensus. The example there was from Super User, and the current version, from their tour says "Shopping, buying or product recommendations." Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 2:50

Based on my experience on Academia.SE, I would suggest the following two close reasons

“Shopping” questions, which seek recommendations, prices, or lists of individual pieces of gear, locations, activities, or similar as an answer or seek an assessment or comparison of such, are off-topic here. (See this post on meta for more information.)


The answer to this question strongly depends on individual factors such as personal preferences and values, experience level, or intended use. Thus only someone familiar with you can answer this question and it cannot be generalized to apply to others. (See this post on meta for more information.)

The first covers all type of shopping questions (price or otherwise) and the second covers things that are not always clearly shopping but are still asking for opinions regarding which thing is better.

  • This would declare lots and lots of questions as off topic Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 18:50
  • Remove / ignore a link from one of the founders of SE. Come on man.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 19:13
  • For better or worse,small location recommendations for where to go are on topic by precedent, making those off topic should probably be a different meta post Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 19:15
  • 1
    Clearly the second one doesn't work here. Many of outdoor related activities are based on personal experiences. In the first, feature comparison between broader categories is still a valid use case, price or brand might not be on topic. Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 20:10
  • @Charlie Brumbaugh Questions on where to go are off-topic if they ask for recommendations about resorts or cruise shops or tours or similar commercial destinations. Questions about trails or natural locations are core to TGO.
    – ab2
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 18:52

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