-- Last Updated: Oct-01-12 9:58 PM EST --
I suppose I should preface my remarks by saying newbies often ask inappropriate questions, so the first thing advice-givers need to do is force them to focus on particular goals. I myself pay a lot more attention to the questions of people who have a fair idea what their needs are, and I'm not the only one. What follows mostly applies to that kind of situation.
You say ...
"However, 95% of posters will recommend what they want for themselves, and it will be the same exact ______ they own."
... and I am certainly guilty of this, but if you read one of my posts where I did such a thing and used that as evidence to support your current premise, you'd be worse than wrong.
One reason I can recommend one of my boats to someone is that I know how they handle, and I know what they can do, but I can only do this if I know what the person is looking for. If a person asks a question that is specific enough that I know what their needs are (paddler size, gear load, type of water, desired traits for boat-handling), and if those criteria can be met by a boat I'm familiar with (one that I own or used to own), then yes, I will recommend it, or more accurately, I will present it as a good, viable option (without discounting options I know less about).
It would be silly to recommend a boat I haven't paddled. There are a lot of very good solo canoes out there which I have not recommended even in cases where I suspected they'd have been a good choice. I leave it to others, the ones who've used those boats, to recommend them and provide the reasons why.
And speaking of "the reasons why", anyone giving good advice will provide "the reasons why" a particular boat is a good match to a particular set of handling traits. If they don't do that, what good is the advice? I have a hunch you are missing the most important parts of the advice posts if you can say what you did without feeling like your premise is a quite a bit of a stretch. Granted, I don't read the kayak advice very much so maybe you are correct in that department, but overall, the advice I've paid attention to is usually accompanied by information that will allow the question-asker to figure out the applicability to their situation.
When it comes to gear other than boats, I've noticed that people tend to say less about the particulars, but then, the people asking the questions often leave a lot to be desired when it comes to saying what they need and why, so it goes both ways.
Rescue / Throw Bags
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