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I noticed that even though we added shopping questions to the closure reasons, it actually doesn't say anywhere in the help pages that they're off topic. I was thinking we should add them.

It looks like the pattern on other SE sites is to give examples of what's on topic on the on topic help page and then expressly forbid anything that more or less fits, but is still off topic.

I've answered with a suggestion for wording below (with the new text italicized). If you like it, vote for it. If you don't, answer with your own suggestion. If you don't want it on that page for some reason, feel free to add that as an answer, but please give your reasoning.

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Bicycles Stack Exchange is for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles.

Most questions regarding bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, handcycles, and their use are on topic for this site.

Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve.

If you're not quite sure if your question is on topic, consider looking at meta questions tagged [on-off-topic] where the community has discussed what questions are appropriate for this site. For more help, see "What types of questions should I avoid asking?"

If your question is fairly basic, you might find the answer in one of our growing reference pages. Also, feel free to link to these in your questions and answers, particularly the entries in the terminology index if you'd rather not re-invent the two-wheeler.

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for Bicycles Stack Exchange, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.

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  • That looks good, but in passing I'd say that while the "obsolete" reason may be valid, for me it's more about being "opinion-based". – PeteH Jul 19 '14 at 5:42
  • Overall: good. But what is meant by Questions seeking ... service ... are off-topic? – andy256 Jul 20 '14 at 5:54
  • I'm thinking that we could create a references page, like the terminology page, as a place for people to look. It would start with Richards Bicycle Book, Wikipedia, Sheldon, UCI. Or would it be confusing to say Questions seeking ... learning materials are of topic but see these recomendations? – andy256 Jul 20 '14 at 6:03
  • @andy256 I don't think so, since learning materials 90% of the time would be marked as duplicate exactly because they're covered by those things. It's also problematic because of linkrot, where a good answer today might becoem a 404 tomorrow. Also, Barnetts. – Móż Jul 21 '14 at 1:29
  • @andy256 Questions seeking service recommendations are questions like "What's a good place to buy x?" or "Where in y region can I rent a bike?" I think Moz makes a good point about the reference pages potentially becoming a list of dead links. – jimchristie Jul 21 '14 at 13:41
  • And FWIW, that whole paragraph is simply copied from the "on hold" text. The only thing I've changed is the bolding, which I think fits this context a bit better. – jimchristie Jul 21 '14 at 13:43
  • @Mσᶎ and jimirings: Thanks. – andy256 Jul 21 '14 at 22:53
  • @andy256 the other thing with a short list of references is that it's easy to maintain. One place, a few links. It's not 50 random questions scattered around the site. – Móż Jul 21 '14 at 22:55

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