I'm new here, but have spent a lot of time over on AVP. It seems like there are a lot of shopping questions here, though they were considered off topic at AVP.

Are shopping and product recommendation questions considered on-topic here?

2 Answers 2


Sound Design started off as a SE 1.0 site - while they used a version of Stack Exchange, they were completely independent from the rest of the network. In fact, Sound Design didn't have a meta site until they joined us a few months back.

This is a decision that everyone needs to have some say in - keep in mind, this site is quite old as far as sites go, and the occasional open ended / very subjective question has been working quite well for them.

That said, have a look at a site soon going into private beta, and some ground rules that I laid down for them to help them succeed. The gist of it - questions that ask for recommendations can be good provided that they're written in a way that prevents what we don't like about them, and that they don't overtake the site.

We have plenty of history here on Sound Design to say, pretty conclusively, that these types of questions probably won't overtake the site - folks will still want to get down to the business of talking about real problems and concepts in sound. What remains is this:

  • Questions should be narrowly scoped, to make way for great answers
  • Answers should be detailed accounts of something you've extensively used or researched, and should address as many points in the question as possible.
  • Moderation of these questions (and the answers that they get) needs to be a little more strict.

What we want to avoid is someone coming to a Stack Exchange site and needing to go through four pages of answers in order to find the thing that actually helped them. So long as questions are well scoped, this isn't going to be an issue.

Now, do you need to do something about the existing shopping questions? Some of them probably need attention in the form of consolidating answers, elaborating where possible, removing duplicates and the other stuff that goes into the love we like to put into the content that we curate. I'd strongly advise against broad closing / deletion of questions that are actually helping people just because they look like shopping. Definitely, favor editing over closing - but that's just my advice.

It's up to this community to define the scope. I can only say that what Sound Design was doing was, in fact, working - so I'd favor sharpening that edge to make it work even better over disallowing it based on principles alone.

  • @ObscureRobot Edited, that's not how I intended it to come across :) The good news is, you're here now, and this place is booming :D
    – Tim Post
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 14:45
  • Great edit, deleting my prior comment... Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 22:24

I happen to love the shopping questions. I have found many an obscure item that I never would have found on my own simply because I wasn't "in the know" about what to ask. That being said, on SSD (or whatever this is called now) I prefer to read the shopping questions that are related to sound creation as opposed to end-user listening setups/systems.

  • That's a good point about end-user environments, they were off topic on AVP and sounds like they were off topic for SSD too. I have created a meta post here to discuss it just to make sure we have consensus before we start voting to close such questions.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 20:56
  • I'd also mention that a lot of what you describe as an advantage of shopping questions can be accomplished in a more general sense without being a shopping question. Questions about what is needed for particular tasks and asking about what kinds of tools can make it easier to do are generally useful and don't depend on particular product models and prices and market conditions to make a valid answer. It does take some getting used to how to write and answer such questions well though.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 21:00
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    @Steve Manforotto Nano mic stands! Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 21:13
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    I feel like GearSlutz and similar forums do about as good a job on shopping questions as you can expect. Shouldn't we be trying to add something unique to the audio community rather then duplicating what exists elsewhere? Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 0:37
  • We already are unique from them (see the history of the site and what it has to offer), or, at least were until this merge occurred. A big part of the SSD community is the in-tangible qualities and energy of the user base and community. That's what a lot of people coming over from the merge are not realizing. The participants and the community attitude is what makes it unique. Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 2:21

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