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Jaydles asked about how to improve Off Topic closings yesterday. I suggested a new explanatory paragraph to display on closed shopping questions, but hit a snag when it came to the "what can I do to improve the question" section. What can an OP do on Stack Overflow to make a shopping question viable?

In his canonical blog post on Shopping questions, Jeff describes how you can modify your "what is the best x?" shopping questions so it becomes viable on Stack Exchange (emphasis mine):

However, there is a way to ask these questions that avoids the inherent problems with shopping recommendations. For example, let’s say you wanted — as I did — to buy a point-and-shoot camera that takes good low light photos. So we’re going to ask on photo.stackexchange.com, naturally!


The former question provides the path of least resistance: a laundry list of products I can buy without thinking about it too much. [...] The latter question may take some thinking, but its answer will be valid forever … or at least until camera technology somehow shifts beyond lenses and sensors as we know them today. Thus, when it comes to shopping questions, don’t ask us what you should buy — ask us what you need to learn to tell what you should buy.

That's great advice, but is it really valid on today's Stack Overflow? I'm not sure. I expect questions about how to tell a great framework or plugin would be closed as quickly as simple requests for the "Best framework" or "best plugin".

Is this true? What should OPs do to improve their shopping question on SO?

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Why would that not be valid? Seems pretty valid to me. And all it often takes is a little rephrasing on behalf of the OP. A slight shift of focus. – Bart Mar 3 '13 at 10:39
I started writing an answer, and then I remembered I've already written it, on a very similar question (no idea why it's closed, or why it has a delete vote). Short version: It's possible, if you show us you've done the research, and you aren't just looking for yet another "foo vs bar" flame war. – Yannis Mar 3 '13 at 10:43
@Yannis looks like people just close anything they don't understand; cast my reopen vote. :) – Shadow Wizard Mar 3 '13 at 12:21
Related: Why are “shopping list” questions bad? – gnat Jun 21 '13 at 11:01

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