On some StackExchange sites, recommendations questions are discouraged.

On other sites, such as Software Recommendations, they are not only allowed but are the subject of the entire site.

How do we feel about questions asking for recommendations?

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How do we feel about questions asking for recommendations?

Right now... I must admit there's not much feelings yet. There's two approaches to take here:

  • Outright blanket ban from the start. The reason here would be to avoid having similar struggles as other sites have had with these types of questions, they end up being too opinion-based, they end in 'wars' between different camps of users, or allowing them results in a flood of questions that are of too low a quality to be adequately answered, and puts too much strain on the community to moderate.

  • Try them out for a while. Remember some of the pain points from my previous bullet point, and try to moderate recommendation questions asked in private beta with preventing those in mind. Software Recommendations has standards for their questions, Drones could have that too. Perhaps there's a load of users on this site that can recommend what I should look for if I buy my first, beginner drone that I want to fly to take some pictures/video. Good questions and answers of this type are then mostly going to be of the type described in the Good Subjective, Bad Subjective blog post.

I would advise waiting a bit to hammer this one out, wait and see until a few questions have been asked and whether the community is willing and able to properly ask, answer and moderate these.

And for those interested in further reading: a main meta on 'shopping list' questions and another blog post on that topic too.

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  • -1 for the indecisiveness. It's not an answer if it does not provide a stance, and "Don't answer now" isn't much of a stance. – tuskiomi Apr 18 at 22:26
  • @tuskiomi it's the acceptable advice for private beta's : Unless you've tried, you can't tell if recommendation questions work on this site or take more effort to moderate than they're worth. We're 5 days in now, perhaps there's data that'll make a better question. But answering this 1 or 2 hours into a private beta with the question listing no problematic questions at all, this is the answer you're going to get. – Tinkeringbell Apr 19 at 8:36

I'd say to allow such questions for now, as long as they aren't too opinion based or too broad. I think the main point for that is, is that they have an "objective scoring criterion", which allows everyone to rank the options.

Hence asking "What's the best drone?" would be off-topic, whereas "What's the cheapest drone for newcomers" would be on-topic.

I'm concluding that from this official Stack Exchange blog entry FYI.

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Questions about recommendations should be on topic as long as they are presented in a logic fashion, yet are not what we call”shopping questions”.

Questions the are uniquely shopping must be banned from the site.

I would like to just to point out that recommendations are permitted on the Beer, Wine & Spirits SE site, while shopping questions are banned.

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No, they should not be allowed. The goal of a SE site is to offer something new and different, by grouping together high quality questions answers which stand the test of time. Maybe thinking of it as a real-world, pragmatic wikipedia for technical questions might help.

If the answer to a question is going to evolve at the speed of product cycles, or never have a clear answer because the only right answer to "Is A or B better?" is "Yes", then this shouldn't be on SE.Drones.

rcgroups.com is an awesome resource, and that's where those kind of discussions should occur. We shouldn't try to become them, we'll only lose.

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  • 2
    I disagree here - the hobby’s nature means no answer will stand the test of time. E.g, if, five or so years ago, I was to ask ‘what is the best material to make a heavy-lift quad’s airframe from’, the answer would likely have been ‘plastic - look at the DJI Flamewheel’. Similarly, a few years ago ‘how can I install and configure a FrSKY receiver’, would likely not have involved inversion mods as most people used F3 FCs. I agree that ‘what is the best drone’ may not be an appropriate question as it is subjective, however ‘what should I look for in a drone for X purpose would be appropriate’. – Drones and Whatnot Apr 16 at 19:52
  • There are many uses for drones, though. SE.Drones should be a site which has a broader audience than hobbyists. – Kenn Sebesta Apr 16 at 20:08
  • I completely agree, however that doesn’t mean we should avoid such questions from the hobbyist sector; it’s a great thing to have questions from both hobbyists and professionals – Drones and Whatnot Apr 16 at 20:11
  • Agreed. Just disagreed about the value of "what should I buy". Consider if we would find it normal for a user to ask "what crop-dusting drone should I buy?" Also consider the downside of having corporate shills get involved surreptitiously. – Kenn Sebesta Apr 16 at 20:14
  • I agree - that’s why I specified questions such as ‘what should I look for in a drone for X purpose’ in my original comment - it removes any brand loyalty and instead is more about technical specifications. – Drones and Whatnot Apr 16 at 20:15
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    I see your point, although I disagree. However, it's pretty clear that the community aligns more with your way of thinking so I suspect that's the way we'll go! – Kenn Sebesta Apr 16 at 20:18
  • fair enough - it’s always good to hear other opinions. Hopefully both our ways of thinking will influence the growth of the Stack Exchange. – Drones and Whatnot Apr 16 at 20:22

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