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I see that a lot of product recommendations are dealt with in the following format:

Q: "What is the best product in category abc?"

A/C: "Sorry, we can't do product recommendations here, but anyways the best product in that category is xyz."

It seems quite pointless to have such rules in place when people tend to (in an effort to be a helpful human being) acknowledge them and then [knowingly] violate them anyways in a comment or brief answer. Is there a better way to handle these types of questions? For example, we could have a policy where one person comments that "product recs are not allowed here, but you may edit the question to be more generalized so it can be answered", and then any further commenting or answering is prohibited until the question is "fixed".

The current practice of "answering regardless of the rules" or writing an answer on a generalized interpretation of the question simply encourages more people to ask these kinds of questions because they almost always receive product rec answers regardless.

Apologies if this sounded like a rant, and I hope nobody felt personally guilty of perpetrating this behavior. It's just a suggestion for future change.

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Product rec is always a challenge. If the response can be framed in terms of features, with an example or two, then that's more long-term useful than if you simply said "get brand X because they're good"

Ultimately, good products do tend to last for a while, but eventually they will go away to be replaced by something else. When that happens, the features or strong points named help show why that was a good choice.

Example: "rim brakes don't work well:

  • Product rec answer "fit koolstop brake pads"
  • Long-term useful answer "replace the brake pads. Old pads go hard and don't work good. Newer pads are softer and the more-modern materials grip better. Some designs of shoe take physically longer pads too providing more contact area. A good example is koolstop aftermarket pads."

Basically, its hard to avoid the well-thought-of brands/models like gp5000, marathons, koolstop, etc. But making them a supporting piece of information is useful, while not being the main point in the answer.

In short, the better answers say "why" not just "what".


Re-reading the example, I realise that the first part effectively cuts off any chain of discussion around which is the best item.

Otherwise it can turn into a forum-esque chain of replies like "X is better than Y" "No you're wrong Z is best" etc.

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    I think that that one brand of brake pads is an exception to the rule, because the product hasn't changed in decades and probably won't change. The tire recommendations on the other hand will be obsoleted if Schwalbe does a poor update on Marathon or a competitor comes up with faster tire than the GP5000.
    – ojs
    May 18 at 8:41

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