I understand there is already a fair amount of discussion on shopping questions on meta and I've read through most of it, but the motivation for closing shopping questions is still opaque to me. This question I asked recently inspired my curiosity: Alternate university course allocation mechanisms.
Insofar as the ideal answer to this question is a list (a list of universities, no less), I agree that it could be called a shopping question, and I'm not arguing with those that flagged it as such. On the other hand, it's not what I usually think of when I think of shopping questions. I usually think of questions that ask for a list of programs that a particular person might want to consider or a list of journals that a researcher might want to consider for a submission. And the problem with those questions, to me, is that the answer is not generalizable or likely to be useful to other readers, not simply that the ideal answer would be formatted as a list. In fact, if you click on the discussion that is linked from the shopping question closure, it seems that most of the concerns on shopping questions are regarding the specificity of the request, not the list format of an answer.
My question, while it does ask for a list, is not just generalizable, it's already general. Obviously the answer is of interest to me, but it is in no way specific to me. It could absolutely be of interest to other users.
I understand that I could probably have it reopened by reframing the question to something like: How should universities assign courses to students? But that question is no more or less valid as a question than the current: How do universities assign courses to students? And it's the latter that interests me, not the former. Isn't this community an ideal place to answer it, and wouldn't members of this community find such an answer interesting? If it's really just a matter of it making the choice of an accepted answer arbitrary, then I think this can be resolved by having a community wiki answer, which is what i started. Or is it just an absolute aversion to lists?