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Related: Are questions asking for recommendations on an educational program off-topic?

Right now, the only reasons that you can flag/vote to close a question as "off topic" are "belongs on Meta" or "blatantly off-topic." I'd like to suggest a few other possible close reasons (largely borrowed from other sites):

  • [From Math.SE]: "Seeking personal advice. Questions about choosing a course, academic program, career path, etc. are off-topic. Such questions should be directed to those employed by the institution in question, or other qualified individuals who know your specific circumstances."
  • [From Finances SE and Stack Overflow]: "Questions seeking product or service recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly, and because they often attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve."
  • [From Academia.SE]: "The answer to this question strongly depends on individual factors such as a certain person’s preferences, a given institution’s regulations, the exact contents of your work or your personal values. Thus only someone familiar can answer this question and it cannot be generalized to apply to others."
  • Too localized (from Stack Overflow): "This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet."
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  • $\begingroup$ We can only have 3 custom close as off topic reasons. $\endgroup$ – thesecretmaster Aug 17 '17 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ I would suggest a similar approach to what Robert suggested for filling in the help center — add off-topic reasons when there are patterns of problems, rather than pre-emptively. It would avoid adding reasons that aren't really useful on this site (e.g. a type of question that rarely comes up) since, as thesecretmaster mentions, the slots are very limited. Also, re recommendations: should they actually be off-topic? That sounds like a discussion in its own right before adding an off-topic reason for it. $\endgroup$ – Aurora0001 Aug 17 '17 at 16:31
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I'll just go though point by point and give my thoughts:

[From Math.SE]: "Seeking personal advice. Questions about choosing a course, academic program, career path, etc. are off-topic. Such questions should be directed to those employed by the institution in question, or other qualified individuals who know your specific circumstances."

These are already closable as off topic because they aren't about teaching. They're about course selection, which isn't even related to self-teaching. Designing course order in on topic.

[From Finances SE and Stack Overflow]: "Questions seeking product or service recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly, and because they often attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve."

These fall under the "Too broad" close reason because there is no "best" answer, and they simply deteriorate into "This is my favorite"-type answers. These can also be referred to as "list questions".

Some recommendations have been considered on topic. We even have for those questions.

[From Academia.SE]: "The answer to this question strongly depends on individual factors such as a certain person’s preferences, a given institution’s regulations, the exact contents of your work or your personal values. Thus only someone familiar can answer this question and it cannot be generalized to apply to others."

This one could actually work as one of our reasons.

Too localized (from Stack Overflow): "This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet."

Until we start having a larger quantity of questions, these questions do help people and should be kept. Once we graduate, maybe this can be reconsidered.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that I agree that all recommendation requests are automatically "too broad" - it's possible to write a very specific recommendation request. IMHO, the broadness of the question isn't the main problem (although that could be a problem too) - it's that "shopping requests" tend to draw spam, they're often too subjective, and they tend to become obsolete very quickly (meaning that even a very specific recommendation question should still be closed IMHO). $\endgroup$ – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Aug 17 '17 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ @EJoshuaS As I've just edited in, some resource recommendation questions are on topic. We even have a tag for that. $\endgroup$ – thesecretmaster Aug 17 '17 at 16:47

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