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How important is my personal experience when I recommend a product?

In the answers I've posted so far, my experience ranges from “I've never used this application before but I'm familiar enough with the domain to know that it's good for this scenario” to “I've been using this application in depth for the best of two decades for this exact scenario among others”.

Does it, in the end, affect the quality of the answer? Should I systematically mention the depth of my experience in my answer? Or should I only mention it when I think it matters (e.g. to assert some more subjective requirements such as ease of use)?

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    As far as I saw on this beta SR, a large part of the very low quality answers talks about no-tested software. – Fractaliste Feb 9 '14 at 18:20
  • I think if I knew about some (what could be) appropriate software but had no experience with it, I might add it as a comment, rather than a full answer. – MrWhite Feb 10 '14 at 1:18
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    @w3d Don't post an answer as a comment, though. Post a comment only if you don't know whether the software meets the requirements and are suggesting that someone investigates. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Feb 10 '14 at 1:25
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Does it, in the end, affect the quality of the answer? If you think so (for a product you've never used yourself), you better should not place the answer. Of course, a product you use daily and know in depth, you can much better decide how it fits the questioner's criteria – and recommend it by heart. But if you're familiar enough with the domain to know that it's good for this scenario I don't see why that should make your answer "bad" just because of that.

Should I systematically mention the depth of my experience in my answer? Sure, it cannot hurt. And might be necessary here and there – especially when "your heart is in the product", or there's any reason for doubt in one direction ("this might sound difficult/dangerous/xxx, but having it used for years now...") or the other ("I have not used this personally, so there might be danger/difficulties/xxx concerning ..."; something I have to say about e.g. Android apps with extensive permission requests).

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    Beat me to an answer, so have an upvote :P – Seth Feb 9 '14 at 18:26
  • I don't think it can be emphised enough, We should never see any answers posted, that the answer has not used. That is the value SW-Rec adds. that is why we are better than google. – Lyndon White Feb 10 '14 at 5:35
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I sort of think that SR.SE is kind of unique here, in that things that would be 'wrong' elsewhere might be necessary to post good answers.

If a answer is well documented, and well, it works, personal experience may not matter. However, essentially, a lot of questions here have multiple good answers or at the very least answers that meet the criteria set by the question. You are not just focusing on "this is how I do it" but "You should try this bit of software over the other options because..." and "You might want to be weary of rampant grue adware but despite that"

In some cases the documentation may come from personal experience. In my view, the right amount of personal experience can lift an answer, but as long as your answer is detailed, and talks about the problem in question (IE, you arn't lazy, google it, and just post a link) it is optional.

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