I just found this question: Is there a color LCD display for an arduino? Should it be considered a shopping recommendation?

2 Answers 2


No, this isn't really what was meant by a shopping question. The author of this question is wondering if there is a way to do {x}, where {x} just happens to be something they will likely have to go out and purchase. That is very different than asking a photographer (for example) which camera they should buy.

Sometimes when we offer this type of general guidance, it is in response to a specific behavior we are trying to avoid. But oftentimes when these lessons get passed on, the underlying application gets lost and all we remember is the trigger word which says (in this case) "shopping = bad".

In the context of this community, a shopping question might be something like "What is the best sound add-on pack?" There are a lot of them out there, so unless the author has narrowed down their problem statement so there is only one (or very few) possible answers, the community is only guessing what will help that user specifically. That's what we're trying to avoid here.

It's a tough balancing act; trying to decide if a question is good for the site, versus learning from the past about what doesn't work for a community. Sometimes you simply have to see if this becomes a problem in actual practice, rather than anticipating problems that may never materialize. All I can suggest is, for now, to judge the individual question on its merits. Is it a useful questions for your community? And then circle around down the road if it turns out that this type of content does not work for your site.

Good question.

  • Okay, thanks. I can remember a lot on controversy about a similar question on another site. Feb 12, 2014 at 14:21

I totally agree with Robert, but I wanted to add something:

It is important to note that Arduino.SE is nearly unique among the entire StackExchange network, as it revolves around a fairly extensive product line rather than an area of study/work. (We share this "unique" spot with LEGO.SE and RaspberryPi.SE.)

Since we are focusing on a concrete product, some questions that would be considered "shopping" on other SE sites should not considered as such on this site.

(My two cents...)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .