15

My question was closed because it was "a shopping question, and as such, not allowed on any SE site."

I commented

Not sure I understand what a shopping question means. Is it because I put the prices of the SIM Card? Or because I listed two providers? Should I just simply ask "What cell provider should I use in Dubai" without listing providers?

Is there a better way to ask that question so it doesn't get closed?

10

The what and why behind the "No shopping questions" policy was covered in the blog post: Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping! I strongly recommend that everyone read it.

The way I think about is:

  • If a local might have the same question, then it's not a travel-related question.

    There isn't much difference between "I'm currently in London; where should I eat dinner tonight?" and "I live in London; where should I eat dinner tonight?"

  • Questions of the type "I need x—should I get it from y or z?" and "I need x—is there a better price than y?" are, at heart, shopping questions.

    If your question is more about acquiring x than it is about what you're going to do with x as part of your travels, then it's generally not going to be a good fit for the site.

  • 4
    "If a local might have the same question, then it's not a travel-related question." - A local might ask a question with the same words, but the answer would be different. In this example, locals would be more interested longer term plans and less worried about once off fees. – Casebash Mar 6 '12 at 22:26
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The main problem with your question is that it is not related to the travel - only to the prices. Not sure it will be ok if you will ask What cell provider should I use in Dubai. Please review this question:

In the US, what's a good prepaid GSM SIM card without a phone?

May be it will be an example to you.

  • 3
    Perhaps it should be closed as a shopping question, but I disagree that it is not related to travel. Travellers have different requirements than locals - for example no long term plans, a greater importance on minimising one time fees and the option of potentially paying roaming costs instead. – Casebash Mar 6 '12 at 22:30
1

Contrarian opinion: I think we interpret "shopping questions" way too broadly, and close a lot of things that shouldn't be closed as a result. Consider this question, where the OP is asking how much it costs to get from Narita Airport to a point in greater Tokyo:

How much does it cost from Narita Airport to tsukuba?

This is actually an entirely sensible question, particularly given that both Google Maps and Rome2Rio give you terrible answers, so you need some local knowledge to answer it well. Yet it was closed as a shopping question, with these rationales:

Questions about the prices of specific goods and services are off-topic here, because they instantly go out of date.

No, not really. If a bus costs $10 today, odds are pretty high it'll cost $10 plus a bit of inflation (or, in Japan, deflation) 5 or 10 years from now.

Even if that was the case, technology moves so rapidly that the best shopping recommendations will be utterly obsolete within a year!

See above.

Consider the voluminous amount of information you need to even begin properly answering a shopping question: What is your budget? Where do you live? What are your preferences? Which alternatives will you consider? When do you want to buy?

Of those #2 and #5 are completely irrelevant, and #1, #3 and #5 are largely irrelevant. Yes, maybe the answer would be different if the OP would like to hitchhike or charter a helicopter, but there's an answer (take the bus) that will satisfy 99% of the answer's readers.

  • "No, not really. If a bus costs $10 today, odds are pretty high it'll cost $10 plus a bit of inflation (or, in Japan, deflation) 5 or 10 years from now." Unless it is discontinued, which happens more often than you seem to think. – fkraiem Nov 28 '18 at 4:19
  • @fkraiem Not sure what you're arguing for here: any answer on Travel.SE, shopping or not, can go out of date over time because the world changes. – jpatokal Nov 28 '18 at 4:35

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