I am pretty sure we all know the 3 types of 'never good' questions. The opinion based, the open ended and and the list of questions in one question. Of these, the third is usually curable. And we had the topic of purchasing earlier.

But now I want to put attention on a different horse in the room. Purchasing questions. These come actually in quite some different styles!

  1. "I want to buy X. Where to get it?"
  2. "I need a model to do X but for [insert reason here] can't make it myself. Is there a model of it?"
  3. "I wonder about X. Has anyone encountered X and can review it, so I can make an informed purchase?"

All these question cores can be called purchasing, but they are also different to some degree. Let's start from the least to the most concerning one:

Question 2 is more a "LMGTFY". There is a clear best answer, as there might be a model around or someone might make the model for the person asking. Or convert an unprinted model into a printable one. It is somewhat OffTopic for being 3D-design in some instances, but it is OnTopic as we want a 3D printable rendition. So, no problems with these? A little: they often show little to no research effort.

Question 3 is a different kind of horse. Actually it looks more like a Mule than a horse. Well, that is, because it is actually an assdonkey. It is not a purchasing question in so much as it is a review request. We had some review guidelines proposed when we last talked about purchasing questions, and they were a solid step, but we might - if this is still OnTopic after this discussion, make a separate meta for those. I deem the possibility of Reviews with a strict guideline OnTopic, as long as:

  1. All affiliations are made clear [e.g. is it a bought machine, review/send back machine or review/keep machine? Who's the sponsor? Just a watcher of this and that channel that reviewed the machine?]
  2. They pass a Quality Control (however that may look like - guidelines are still to be made)
  3. They are not link-only answers. One might put the full review in a video or link to several reviewers, but one should at least compile the pro/con of the video.

Question 1 is the big horse I have trouble seeing OnTopic here: they want a specific answer where to buy/get an object. Suggesting that one specific source might be better than any other would be inappropriate. But we might need to split the hair a little: There are some fringe cases where such a question is answerable, has a best answer and is not open ended when it comes to locating shops or makerspaces, that use the very same question setup ("Is there a makerspace near X/Y/Z?") And there are questions that are what the RPG-Stack-Exchange calls "Shopping & Recommendation". They forbid to ask for a recommendation of a specific shop or item over another. We should adhere to that, unless it is one of these "locate a real world place that does X" cases. IMHO we shouldn't answer to a question like "What is a good first printer?" or "Is there a reputable CR-10 reseller?" or others of these kind. Maybe the fringe case of "Can I buy Printer X at the manufacturer?" is ok too (as it is very specific!), but that is more a sourcing problem, not a purchasing question.

So, in fleshing out our community:

Where do we draw our lines what is In/Out regarding purchasing/acquisition questions? And, do we need to discuss review/sourcing questions?


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