One close reason is:
Questions seeking product recommendations are off-topic as they become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve.
It is often used to close questions like these:
- What software can do X?
- What are good resources for topic Y?
- Is there a database for Z?
A recent example is Is there (free) software than decrypts a single file on Windows and Android?.
To reviewers flagging this as product recommendation request: please think for a moment about the advice given in the flag description: "Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve." Doesn't this question follow it?
They are right that this sentence seems to suggest that this question is on-topic. But the close reason starts with "Questions seeking product recommendations are off-topic", and it seems pretty clear to me that that is what the OP is asking for.
As the linked blog post is a 6 year old post that focuses on hardware product recommendations on Super User, I thought it would be a good idea to ask how it is handled here and to possibly re-think the close reason.
techrafs reason for not wanting to close these kinds of questions:
The purpose of closing questions with recommendation requests is to limit low-quality, low-value, quickly-becoming-obsolete, limited-to-particular-situation answers. I cannot see how this question could attract such answers. Quite the contrary it explains (2) and is (3) (which are relevant and specified in the guidelines) so that it allows to create knowledge. For given conditions there is such and such solution. This is learning.
I would actually agree with some of this, but I don't think that this is how it is currently handled.
So my questions are:
- Is the linked question a question asking for a product recommendation and should thus be closed?
- As per current policy, should all questions asking for product recommendations be closed, or only bad ones (however that is defined)?
- Is it time to rethink the approach to product recommendations at sec.se? Software does seem to age slower than hardware. A suggestion to use truecrypt for encryption would for example have been valid for almost 10 years. Many answers to other questions aren't even valid that long. And product recommendations can add valuable information to this site. On the other hand, they could also lead to long, mostly outdated link-lists.