There was a recent question that asked:

What [are] the key differences between MSP Server 2007 & MSP Server 2010?

The title of the question made the scope too large, and possibly something that one could Google for or read Microsoft's marketing materials to determine. Further, the body of the question would likely have generated links or lists as answers by asking:

I want to demo Project Server 2010 and I'm seeking a good checklist of new features and tools that have been added to Microsoft Project Server 2010?

However, when one looks at the FAQ, it's not immediately clear why the question is off-topic. In fact, when voting to close, I felt intuitively that it was, but couldn't quite figure out how to categorize it.

  • It might be Not Constructive because it's listy, but wasn't really a polling question per se.
  • The way we apply Not a Real Question fits, perhaps because the question was "overly broad," but I'm not sure it would have been on-topic even if more narrowly scoped.
  • It also seemed Off-Topic because it seemed to be more about feature comparison than about how to use a given tool to solve a problem, but it wasn't asking for tool recommendations. As a result, I fell back on the recurring discussions on meta about how we should apply , despite the fact that the FAQ doesn't really address this issue directly.

In short, it seemed like a reasonable question that was just a bad fit for this site, but there wasn't really anything in the FAQ that I could point to and say, unambiguously, "This is why the question is off-topic."

The author had asked an interesting question, and (in my opinion) one that was deserving of a better close reason than I was able to provide in my comments. However, I'm honestly stumped about how the FAQ could address this sort of question more directly, making its topicality less ambiguous.

With that in mind, is there any way the FAQ could be improved to make it more clear why this sort of question is off-topic?

  • +1 im asked that question but interesting for me to know if i 4 years in PM and spend a lot of time for Project Server and features to increase its usability for our company to manage projects and programs and portfolio better so if i cant discuss about tools better to exit this stack and seeking and transfer to new another job ;) Jan 18, 2013 at 8:19
  • Hi CodeGnome, tool recommendation questions are already listed in the don't ask section. Do you think that covers this?
    – jmort253
    Jan 18, 2013 at 20:43
  • @jmort253 Not in this case. It was more of a feature-comparison question framed as delivering PM training about MS Project, so I think you'd have to stretch the definition to call it a "tool recommendation" question.
    – Todd A. Jacobs Mod
    Jan 18, 2013 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


I kept this question (and this meta one too) opened in my browser for a few days to keep thinking of it.. and I believe the best answer we can have is that this is a Shopping Question.

It may be interesting now, but will be utterly useless 5 years from now, therefore it won't fit the Q&A format as we want.

And I believe we don't need to have it in our FAQ... Since shopping questions are offtopic for the whole SE platform. That's why we couldn't find the offtopic reason in our FAQ. It's not there :)

Edit: FAQ just updated, explicitly including the Shopping questions as off-topic.

  • So many of the recent off-topic questions qualify as shopping questions that I think it might be useful to explicitly add that category under "questions not to ask." The FAQ doesn't have to be exhaustive, but (by definition) it should address the most common problem cases for PMSE.
    – Todd A. Jacobs Mod
    Jan 18, 2013 at 17:16
  • Yeah, it would be great!
    – Tiago Cardoso Mod
    Jan 18, 2013 at 17:25
  • If you agree it's a good idea, can you add that as a moderator? If not, what's the process?
    – Todd A. Jacobs Mod
    Jan 23, 2013 at 16:46
  • Was waiting J to stop by here and see his opinion on it, but it seems this one didn't fall into his radar. I've just updated the FAQ, thanks!
    – Tiago Cardoso Mod
    Jan 24, 2013 at 10:33
  • If you update your answer to reflect that we did add it to the FAQ, rather than that we don't need it, I'll accept it. :)
    – Todd A. Jacobs Mod
    Jan 24, 2013 at 11:42
  • Sorry, it's been a crazy week. ;) Yes! This is a great move.
    – jmort253
    Jan 25, 2013 at 3:51

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