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Recently we've had a lot of questions about specific products, replacement parts, and/or products only tangentially related to the outdoors. Examples:

  1. self-inflatable mat damaged valve socket where to get replacement

  2. Use external water tank with destination trailer

  3. Zippo lighter barely giving any spark

  4. The North Face jacket quality for backpack hiking

Should we discourage this type of question?

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I don't think we should allow questions like this.

A Q&A on stackexchange is supposed to be of some lasting value to people other than the OP. I don't think any of these questions do that. They're much too specific to one product. Also, #1, 2, and 3 on this list have almost nothing to do with the activities that we describe in our help as being on topic: https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic Sure, you could use a Zippo lighter while you're backpacking, but most people would use them to light cigarettes, etc.

The prevalence of this type of question is probably a symptom of the fact that the site has very few users and is kind of sickly. One philosophy would be to try to get more people by being extremely permissive about what kinds of questions we take. IMO that's not the right approach. People are going to judge the site by the quality of the first 4-5 Q&A's they see on the stack when they come here. Seeing a lot of questions like these, which are low in relevance and general interest, will make them go away.

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