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A question I asked was closed with the reason:

Questions seeking recommendations for specific equipment are off-topic, because they are primarily opinion based. Instead, describe the required function and setting in which the equipment will be used, and ask what you should look for to achieve that.

What does that mean and what can I do to get an answer to my question?

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  • Thanks for posting this. Where would be a good place for discussing suggested edits - below the answer itself? – topo Reinstate Monica May 14 at 15:41
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    Let's just use our chat room for this. – Dom May 14 at 15:56
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Questions looking for specific equipment/apps/software/etc. don't fit our Q&A Model

Specifically, questions like this tend to turn into specific equipment/product recommendations, yield link/product only answers that may not be valid long after the post, attract spam and people advertising their own product, and tend to focus more on products. Some examples that are off-topic are the following:

  • What's the best guitar amp for a beginner?
  • What app can I use to do X?
  • What tool do I need for this process?

You may be able to modify your question to make sense on our site

The key thing you should do is try to identify the actual problem you want to solve. Solving specific problems is a strong suit of a Q&A site and it will help eliminate the issues mentioned above. When writing your question, please:

  • Describe your situation and the goal you want to achieve
  • Ask for a general solution (How), rather than a product (What/Which)

Specific question examples are listed below.

What's the best guitar amp for a beginner?

This question is one on which different people can have different perfectly valid opinions. Instead of directly asking for a model or brand, explain what your goal is and how. A better question to ask on this site is : What should a beginner look for in a guitar amp?

What app can I use to do X?

This question limits an answer to a specific app instead of a general process of how to do the thing you want. There's typically more than one way to accomplish a goal - sometimes even inside the same app. This question can usefully be turned into the following question: How can I accomplish X?

I can't rework the question - what's next?

Unfortunately at this point the question will most likely stay closed. You still may be able to get some help at this point in our chat which we can use to discuss and point you in the right direction.

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    "Emphasize the goal and ask how it should be achieved": I would change this to "Emphasize the goal." It's a stronger, clear statement. I think the "ask" part softens the goal of "emphasize the goal". Excluding it doesn't cost anything, since the "asking" is implicit — the person is trying to post a question, after all. – Aaron May 16 at 21:09
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In addition to @Dom's OP-oriented post, I'd like to add a rest-of-the-community-oriented post:

Vote early; Vote often!

SE is built to democratically decide which questions are on/off topic by its voting mechanisms and requirement of multiple votes (with exceptions) for an action to be taken.

The community can vote to "close" or "leave open". The community can also vote to "reopen" or "leave closed". Mods can override the community, and the community can override mods.

Don't be shy about voting. Remember, you aren't making the decision; you're just expressing a point of view. The rest of the community is free to agree or disagree.

"Closed" does not mean "Dead"

"Closed" means a question it doesn't fit site guidelines in its current state. But not only can the OP edit their question and request reopening, anyone (with enough rep) can edit the question and request reopening.

Even "Deleted" questions can be undeleted and reopened, though the bar is higher.

Edit, edit, edit!

Sometimes titles are misleading. Sometimes questions are poorly articulated. Don't be shy about editing. Your edits can be rolled back if you miss the mark, but more likely you're helping someone get their question answered quickly and accurately, rather than closed.

Retract your votes

Sometimes you might vote to close (for example) a question that gets improved before actually being closed. You can take back your vote.

The whole point of a vote is to say "this question currently meets (or doesn't meet) a certain criteria." If that situation changes, you can reflect that by unvoting.

Raise flags

The moderators are very experienced. If you feel uncertain about a question but don't feel it clearly demands a vote one way or the other, point it out to the mods by raising a flag and explaining your uncertainty. They're response will give you an indication of how to handle similar questions in the future.

Use Meta

The whole point of Meta is to discuss the site itself, including how to handle particular content. Similar to raising a flag, this allows the whole community to weigh in on the issue.

Use Chat

See "Use Meta".

And did I mention VOTING! VOTING! VOTING!

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