Are questions with the following structure on-topic?

I have X piece of gear that is now worn out. Unfortunately the manufacturer no longer makes X or has drastically changed X into something I don't want. Can you help me find something that is as close as possible to X? The features I especially liked about the original X are A, B, and C. D is an optional nice to have.

I have a question that related to a daypack that I own. North Face has radically changed the design of the Big Shot backpack, it was a simple three pocket design before, and I'm not interested in the new version. My worry is this is shopping related (generally off-topic), but not price specific which makes it potentially on-topic. Of course history has shown that these answers will go out of date since that is the root of the problem. This matches well with the reason why shopping advice is off-topic.

Furthermore, the classic scenario where this is a problem is with shoes, and the consensus seems to be if you find shoes you really like then buy multiple pairs because you'll never find them again. So I suspect that this format of question should be off-topic, even though I'd find it helpful at the moment. What do you think?

  • Seems like it could devolve into recommendations and opinions Jul 11, 2017 at 16:46
  • @JonathanLandrum I agree it would be hard to find a definitive "correct" answer for this sort of question. Which is why we tend to recommend sets of features over exact products.
    – Erik
    Jul 11, 2017 at 16:48
  • Yes I think it is shopping related and out of scope but I would not VTC. I feel like a lot of stuff here is out of scope but learned not to fight city hall.
    – paparazzo
    Jul 14, 2017 at 17:19
  • @Paparazzi feel free to add a full answer. I haven't accepted the existing answer because there doesn't seem to be any real consensus.
    – Erik
    Jul 14, 2017 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


In my opinion this is a perfectly valid kind of question, as you are not asking a generic broad shopping question like "What is the best/cheapest/... X" but looking for a specific set of features. Sure, recommendations that fulfill the requirements might become outdated, but that is true for many questions and is by itself no reason to reject a question. Especially as a good answer to such a specific question will have merits besides a potential product recommendation by stating why this product is suitable, which is ideally also applicable to future products.

  • I was waiting to see if I'd get any other feedback, but since your answer is the only one for over a week I've accepted it.
    – Erik
    Jul 19, 2017 at 20:21

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