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We've recently had a few questions that say, "Does anyone know of a degree program that meets requirements X,Y,Z."

For example, Where can I take online MBA courses without being admitted?:

Next year I will enroll in a full time MBA program. Until then, I would like to take transferable online courses to count towards my degree. I talked with admissions, and they will accept up to 6 credits from an AACSB accredited school. Unfortunately, I cannot find a university that offers individual online MBA courses. Does anyone here have suggestions?

Or Cheapest online degrees:

What are the cheapest online degrees in Computer Science?

Or What is the best way to choose an MBA school for someone in lighting industry?:

Is there a university MBA programme featured with lighting industry? Or is it just famous for global marketing/management?

It is my feeling that these questions are off-topic, but I don't see a lot of consistency in the reason given for closure, and they sometimes end up being closed for tangential reasons. (In these three examples: "This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about academia," "Questions about problems facing undergraduate students are off-topic," and not closed, respectively).

Are questions in this category off-topic, and if so, is there a canonical reason for closing questions in this category?

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2/3 don't from our About page:

Don't ask about: [...]

  • Questions that are primarily opinion-based
  • Questions with too many possible answers or that would require an extremely long answer.

Questions asking about best department to study a given field fell into both. In terms of close votes it is too broad or primarily opinion-based.

For more general reading, Real Questions Have Answers from the StackExchange blog. In particular, polling questions are not seen well.

Also, for recommendations (or even queries - i.e. when there is a list of objective answers, given a set of restrictions), in general it is tricky - see What should be done with questions asking for game recommendations? - Gaming.SE aka Arqade:

  • Close all game-recs unconditionally as shopping recommendation: 74
  • Allow game-recs that are specific enough (withdrawn): 70
  • Only allow game-recs with accessibility constraints: 42
  • Unconditionally allow them: 41

(That is, initial policy, Close all game-recs unconditionally as shopping recommendation, has been withdrawn.)

However (IMHO), we should allow questions asking for how to search or ones where there answers are meta (pieces of advice on the search, links to listings/rankings/etc), e.g.:

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Such questions are usually poor fits, but there's not a single canonical reason to reject. For instance, they might be too specific, so that they're not applicable to other users or focused on purely undergraduate institutions. In both of those cases, the specific reasons listed should be cited as grounds for closing. However, otherwise, it's because list-based questions are a poor fit for the site.

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    Isn't the canonical reason to close these questions that they are too specific? Essentially, every question that fits the schema "please recommend a program for me based on ZY" is per definition too localized, right? – xLeitix Mar 24 '14 at 8:54
  • A counterexample: "What are the top graduate programs in Computer Science?" – aeismail Mar 24 '14 at 14:00

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