I have a problem that I need solved, and it may require the recommendation of a product. How do I ask these type of questions so that they aren't closed?

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1 Answer 1


There are two ways to generally ask questions of this nature. The Good and the Bad.

How NOT TO ASK questions that may require a product recommendation:

  • "What the best product?"
  • "List of products that does "
  • or this question's sister: "Is there something that does "
  • "What is an alternative to ?"

These questions are discouraged because they lead to spam, "link rot". They also do not provide good solutions (the main focus of any site) as it is hard to filter the good from the bad when there are 10+ answers all at the same rough vote count.

How TO ASK questions that may require a product recommendation:

First of all: Do your research. Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before? Do you even have a real problem you need to solve? And if so, have you attempted to solve the problem yourself? Instead of assuming a solution, ask about your problem instead.

If you did your research and you can describe what the problem is, then here's how to ask:

  • "I have that I don't know how to solve. I've already tried X, Y, Z. How do I do this?"
  • "I have that doesn't work anymore. How do I troubleshoot or fix this"
  • "I am deciding between and and don't understand the difference between them. Is always more A and less B?"

With these types of questions, make sure that you're as detailed as you can be about the issues. If you just say "My product doesn't work!" and that's it, it will be closed. Also, be open to other products that may solve you solution (hence why it's here)

These questions are problem based, and lead to useful answers.

  • Aye to this. There are times when one is faced with a problem that may require a product of a sort. To that end, when one asks how to solve that problem, that product will naturally be provided as an answer if it is indeed a working solution. So one shouldn't dwell on the fact that a product might be needed - just focus on the problem. Recommendations will come in as they are needed.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jan 9, 2013 at 15:18
  • Given that meta.SO is for all SE sites I've already tried X, Y, Z doesn't really work in many cases. Consider the re-worked question in Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping! How do I tell which point-and-shoot cameras take good low light photos? You would expect people to have tried multiple cameras? Also I think the best answer for the SO specific case is covered nicely by Shog9's answer What exactly is a recommendation question? in the section Ask How not What Jan 9, 2013 at 15:29
  • You really shouldn't be using the tag markup to emphasize statements that aren't actually tags, bold, italics, or nothing, would be better.
    – Servy
    Jan 9, 2013 at 18:09
  • @Servy as this is CW feel free to edit as you see fit. Jan 9, 2013 at 20:12

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