I recently read this post on the StackOverflow blog regarding shopping questions, and the problems they present in the SE format.

What's the point of a bunch of labor intensive questions that provide only temporary benefit to a limited (some might say Too Localized) audience? There isn't any.

With it in mind I voted to close this question, which asks for the cheapest computer within certain bounds. To me it seems practically unanswerable if taken literally as a demand for the 'cheapest', and a survey/opinion question if taken more loosely, but my vote drew a harsh response from a member far more reputable than myself.

What is this forum's opinion on shopping questions like this? Are they disallowed, welcome or discouraged?

Edit: given that it appears to be thriving with informative (if not exactly correct) answers, some sort of edit to the question might be wise, but I'm even more uncertain about attempting that.

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, Jay's response to your comment about voting to close missed your point entirely. You wrote (correctly, IMO) that any answer to this question

would require a vast amount of research, and would produce a different answer every day.

Jay only responded to the first half of your point. Requiring research is fine, requiring research that will be out of date with each generation of computers is the mark of a shopping question. This question was closed and will remain that way unless it's edited into a more answerable form. (How to do this is explained well in your link, QA Is Hard, Let's Go Shopping!

  • I see, so perhaps just a case of me confusing my meaning with an unnecessary comma. Ok, thanks for the answer.
    – mwo
    Mar 12, 2016 at 14:02

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