For example I have a question like the following:

Which of these external hard drives will you choose to buy if you want a 1 TB memory regarding the fact that the price and the appearance (beauty) is not important?

Why and why not the others?
Please just compare these four products and choose between them.

And if you want to buy a 2 TB external hard drive, which one will you choose. Again regarding that the price and appearance isn't important?

Why and why not the other?
Please just compare these two products and choose between them.

Also I mean to compare the products from a technical view and the most important factor is their lifetime.
I'm living in Iran and I can't use guarantee, supports or anything else.
I just want to buy something and take the most of it?

  • can i ask it on the main site? is it on-topic? will it be regarded as opinionated - base? Aug 16, 2016 at 5:04
  • 2
    You'd do well to be a little more patient. As you've discovered, your question did indeed get closed, which I would have told you in an answer here if you'd waited more than 6 hours.
    – ArtOfCode
    Aug 16, 2016 at 9:57
  • @ArtOfCode I'll be more patient the next time. I was in a hurry this time. thanks for your help. I understood that asking about recommendations to buy which device from a certain list is on-topic as far as you exactly give what is your expectations and why wasn't you able to choose yourself. is that true? Aug 16, 2016 at 10:06

1 Answer 1


Either one of the questions you asked would be definitively on-topic. Those questions are really the only kinds of questions that actually do seem to routinely meet our criteria. However, the reason your specific question was closed is probably because it is really two questions, asking for two different recommendations. Another possible reason it might have been closed (although in my opinion it should have simply been commented on and then edited into a superior question) is that it doesn't offer enough in the way of what you want out of the product, which makes it difficult for us to recommend one for you.

Consider the following:

Electronics are designed, built, and sold to fill a niche in a very saturated market. Every single product sold - all of those drives above - has some theoretical customer for which it would be the best possible choice. This is kind of a broad truth about electronics in general, not just hard drives - there are very few products out there which are both built and priced such that they are ALWAYS the better choice for every customer, or such that they are ALWAYS the worst choice for every customer. Thus, in order for us to make good recommendations from a list of products that might ALL be great choices for you, we need to know things about your specific situation as a customer. I build computers for people as a side job, so speaking from that experience, I can always make a better, more cost-effective product for my customers when I know:

  1. What you're trying to do with the product (what problem you're trying to solve)

  2. What your budget is (if there is no budget then I want to know whether you favor price over build quality, since those are often conflicting)

  3. What, if any, restrictions you have (size, color, loudness, efficiency, brand restrictions [e.g. I really don't want to support "Intel" or "Apple" or whatever])

  4. When you're going to buy

  5. What other products you already have which might interact with the new product

If you answer those five questions about your question, you'll be a long way toward a very good question, in my book. Mind, my book counts for very little around here, but I'd feel comfortable answering that question.

There's a reason for this kind of specificity. A sufficiently unspecified question would lead people to provide answers quickly (it's easier to answer a vague question with a vague answer) that would be more likely to not be what you're actually looking for. That might lead to you being misled into a bad purchase decision, or it might lead to a very long and fruitless question and answer session. People tend to get annoyed when they put work into making an answer that meets all your listed specifications, but then they are downvoted because you came up with one that you forgot to list, and someone else then comes along later and answers with that spec satisfied as well.

Worse, answers would tend to be based on the specifications provided in the answerer's mind instead of the specifications listed by the asker, so inevitably, opinion wars will coalesce around the issue. Believe it or not, there are considerable amounts of strong opinion floating around the hardware world and certain kinds of questions can be exceptionally likely to set them off, leading to mostly useless debates about the virtues of competing product lines from different companies - but remember, almost every product has an ideal customer out there somewhere, so those fights are mostly useless and should be avoided.

Suppose a person wanted to ask about whether an Apple or Android phone of some description might be a better choice for them, but they forgot to tell people about their budget or their specific purpose, which is just to check email on the go, make calls, and access their company's VPN over 4G. Not knowing this, people might come along and say - ah, here's a phone that I really like and I know it's great, so I'm going to recommend it because this guy needs a good phone and I am a helpful and wonderfully knowledgeable person who will guide them to the same purchase that I made! Now if you know anything about tech people, it's that they usually splurge on the tech they use, so this guy is gonna recommend something on the pricey side - maybe the newest Apple phone. It costs $699. It does everything the asker needs. It does it well. It will last forever. It will look sexy and pick up desirable members of the requisite gender for the asker. BUT, pretty much any phone on the market can do what the asker needed, and they don't particularly care about that other stuff. Perhaps a $200 Android brick with a rubberized exterior would have in fact been the perfect phone for our intrepid asker, but he will never know. He has been led to believe that only by shelling out the big bucks will he ever have a good experience with a cell phone. So the world turns, and Apple makes its money (in my personal opinion).

TL;DR - to be a good site, we need to be pretty specific. Normally people don't like to tell stories about their personal problems, because we've been trained not to do that in polite company; it's boring, few people can relate, and it won't lead to good conversations. Incidentally, this is why I am a terrible conversationalist. But never mind that. Here in this place, we NEED you to tell us your story about your problem, and how we might be able to tell you what device you need to fix that problem.


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