I came across the question Will my PSU 450w be able to handle?, but I have seen this in many other cases as well. The basic form is that someone comes along, lists their system specs, and asks about whether a specific piece of hardware will work in their system; in this particular case, whether a power supply of a given rating will be sufficient to power their system with a different graphics card installed.

These questions commonly attract at least a few close votes as seeking "hardware shopping recommendations".

Frankly, I fail to see how those are considered hardware shopping recommendation questions. Yes, they mention hardware components. But no, they don't appear to seek recommendations; the question is fairly authoritatively answerable in that either the given combination of hardware will work, or it will not. Additionally, assuming that the pieces of hardware are named by make and model, sufficient information is usually available online in order to deduce an authoritative answer; the OP might simply not know what specific pieces of information to put together to form an answer.

Am I missing something obvious in how the "hardware shopping recommendation" close reason is meant to be applied?

  • They are not "hardware shopping recommendations" per say but I also fail to see how they are helpful to the community beyond a very limited scope ( basically the user who is asking ). If anything people should be indicating that the question itself is only helpful for an extremely limited amount of time, basically the same reasons, hardware recommendations are not allowed.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 12:38
  • 1
    @Ramhound We used to have the "too localized" close reason, which was removed a year and a half ago if I recall correctly. Unrelated close reasons should not be substituted; if there is consensus that questions on that form are not wanted, then we should have a close reason that covers those explicitly in some manner.
    – user
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 12:40
  • 3
    I think I'm speaking on behalf of all mods and a majority of community members when I say that we'd like to have too localized back. Maybe under a different name.
    – slhck
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 12:42
  • @slhck You'd probably have to put half of Worldbuilding on hold, but I know what you mean. :-) Note the difference between "are these questions on topic?" and "is this how the close reason is meant to be applied?"; my question here now is primarily about the latter.
    – user
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 12:42
  • @MichaelKjörling - Which is the reason I said to use a custom close reason, indicate that answers to the question would become, "outdated fast and only useful to the author" that way people can vote on a proper reason to close.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 12:44
  • @MichaelKjörling - The number of closed reasons we can have is limited. One of those options is "I'm voting to close this question as off-topic ..." so from my perspective, its working with what we have and the system. Those users who can vote if a question is not on topic can either disagree or agree from my perspective at that point.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 12:48
  • @Ramhound Sites can ask for additional site-specific close reason slots if there is a specific need. Server Fault recently got one more (possibly temporary) for control panel-related questions, and Stack Overflow has several. While obviously we shouldn't overdo it, the option to expand is there.
    – user
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 12:53
  • @MichaelKjörling - There is a physical limit to the number though we are currently at that limit from my understanding. We would have to replace a current reason.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 15:14
  • 1
    @Ramhound Server Fault currently has six site-specific close reasons. Stack Overflow has five (plus "belongs elsewhere" and "other/custom"). Super User has three (plus "belongs elsewhere" and "other/custom"). Yes, three is the default limit, but as I said, extra slots are available if there is a specific need (it just needs a moderator to ask for them and explain why it's needed, preferably pointing toward community consensus on the site's respective meta). So whatever the ultimate limit is, it's not a "physical" limit at three.
    – user
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 7:56

1 Answer 1


Hardware shopping questions are discouraged for multiple reasons:

  • they seek subjective recommendations
  • they become outdated fast
  • they are only useful to one person at the time of asking

With a given hardware specification ("I have X and Y, will Z fit?") the answer is obviously binary, but we have to ask ourselves whether anybody else except for the OP would find this question (or its answers) useful when they stumble upon it in the future.

Granted, one could provide a canonical answer to such a question, but to be honest, few people would go that far. And we'd rather have the question itself be canonical. That is, don't ask whether your specific Z fits with your specific X and Y, but rather ask:

How can I find out if a Z component fits with a given system?

The answer to such a question would then be helpful to almost every visitor with the same kind of issue. A good example is the typical "Will this RAM fit with my system?" question which can be easily made canonical and answered by pointing users to crucial.com or explaining how to read RAM specifications.

I have to add that we do not heavily enforce this rule from a moderator's perspective.

With regard to your specific question: Yes, those fall under the definition of a hardware shopping recommendation, since the description is (emphasis mine):

Questions seeking for hardware shopping recommendations are off-topic because they are often relevant only to the question author at the time the question was asked and tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead of asking what to buy, try asking how to find out what suits your needs.

  • Note that my question here isn't really about whether they are on topic, but rather whether they are hardware shopping recommendation questions as intended for the purposes of that specific close reason.
    – user
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 12:42
  • See my update. The close reason mentions why we close the questions. Of course it's debatable if it should be called a "hardware shopping question" or something different.
    – slhck
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 12:43

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