There are many shopping questions on the site; for example:

The relevant discussions are:

The questions we need to answer are:

  1. What kind of shopping questions do we welcome here on DBA.SE?
  2. What kind of shopping questions are specifically not welcome?
  3. What should we do about the existing shopping questions (some of which I've referenced above)?
As Concerned says I don't feel it's been a bring problem and the questions I've seen here are pretty answerable and helpful rather than "should I use VIM or Notepad++?" –  Ben Brocka Jan 13 '12 at 19:52
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1 Answer

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Black box test: Are the shopping questions causing a problem?

Shopping questions on enterprise or development tools can be quite deep and may require some insignt into the OP's problem to sensibly answer. For example, getting reliable independent information about B.I. tools such as Cognos or MicroStrategy is not easy to do off the internet.

In some cases the answer to a question is a reference to some feature of a common item that people are often unaware of. For example, many people do not realise that Visio Pro actually has quite a good database reverse engineering and documentation capability.

I think in the database and development tooling space many of the vendors aren't that well known - for example many people haven't heard of Power Designer, the feature set of Redgate tools or what Embarcadero makes.

  • How many people here know about the meta-CASE features of Sparx Enterprise architect or have any idea what you can do with them?

  • How many people have any idea just how many different meta-models Powerdesigner actually supports?

  • How many people know the limitations of using OLAP cubes as a data source for MicroStrategy or Business Objects?

  • How many people know what databases are supported by RapidSQL?

These are all questions that would be of direct interest to posters with needs that are quite common. However, they would evade most people's google-fu unless you knew the product name or just happened to use exactly the right search terms and picked the product's documentation up by accident.

I think this is a slightly different problem to kiddies wanting to know the best 1337 gaming motherboard or video card. I'd say that shopping questions relating to specific features of individual products are on-topic. If the question is obviously inane or incoherent it can be voted down or closed by mods.

++ Good answer! –  Chris Aldrich Jan 11 '12 at 14:01
What differentiates a shopping question than exposes a poorly understood topic from one that adds nothing useful? For example, we've closed these shopping questions: one and two. –  Nick Chammas Jan 18 '12 at 20:39
@NickChammas - quite subjective. Question one really didn't ask anything useful. The OP did nothing to describe their requirements or why they needed a shared-nothing database. Question two could have been left open IMO because the OP was describing specific requirements. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Jan 18 '12 at 21:37
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