I just happened to come across this question asking for journal recommendations. I was surprised about the large number of upvotes, considering the specificity and these instructions

However, please do not ask questions about

  • ...
  • Suggestions or recommendations for a university, journal, or research topic (a "shopping question")
  • ...

Possibly a lot of the votes come from supporting an open access sentiment, and/or maybe we have a lot of people on this site in theoretical biology.

Are questions like this considered acceptable, whereas other "shopping" questions are not? If so, can someone explain what the difference is? (Can having many upvotes be a reason for a question being acceptable?)

Note: there was a similar meta question here about why a certain question was not closed. However, the sole answer is not super-conclusive (conclusion: it's borderline) and the question in question was since deleted by the OP anyway, so I don't know that a community consensus was reached.

  • 1
    I dont like the SE attitude of calling everything that has to do with sharing useful information "shopping", even though it has absolutely nothing to do with money or buying something. I d prefer if bystanders who are not interested in the question as such would leave it alone, in particular if the community likes it as expressed by upvotes.
    – Dilaton
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 14:30

2 Answers 2


The question you're referring to is from 2012, the early days of this site before the scope was clearly defined.


This question you are linking to is posted about three years ago and has not been active for the last year.

The point that it has received high up-vote is that the community liked the question at that period of time. In my experience, most of the votes on the questions are awarded during the first days that the question is on the active list of the questions. After that period, the number of up-votes do not change significantly.

I have the feeling that users are more aware of the scope of the site and are more sensitive on the on-topicness of the questions nowadays.

As the site grows, we have more users on the site and we have more questions posted than three years ago. So, more active users are on the website and the chance of posting off-topic questions is decreasing. Users have seen larger number of off-topic questions, so they can easier investigate off-topic questions.

Furthermore, the point that the question is still open is that it has not been active for a year, so users may not have seen it to bring it under review and flag it as off-topic.

  • Thanks. Well, I don't follow the logic about the chance of posting off-topic questions is decreasing, though I can see that the chance they get flagged goes up. But are you saying this should be closed now as off-topic?
    – Kimball
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 16:52
  • @Kimball I voted that question to be closed as off-topic because of being a shopping question; however, questions only get closed by direct vote of diamond moderators or when the number of close votes by users of the site reach a specific number. Closure of that question (like any other actions) depends on decision of users as members of Academia's community.
    – enthu
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 20:13
  • @Kimball I am not sure whether you have enough reputation and access to see the review close votes report. Currently, there are two close votes on that question and three other users voted the question to leave open.
    – enthu
    Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 9:57
  • Thanks for the info. I can see the 3 votes to leave open, and it says the review is completed, but that's all I see (not the 2 close votes). It would be nice if other of those voting users would explain their votes here (that's what this discussion question was for).
    – Kimball
    Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 11:31
  • @Kimball In the chatroom, I asked the voters to explain their reasons in this meta question.
    – enthu
    Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 11:39

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