I find the close reason a bit strange as well. He says:
"[I]t can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information".
That would be what? Wikipedia? The Bitcoin FAQ?
I punched "how did bitcoin start" into Google, FWIW, and most of the links didn't ...
I agree that it's a case-by-case basis. What drew the line for me on the question linked above is the overall complexity of the case. Bitcoin's legalities are fuzzy to begin with, there are simply no precedents set for most legal questions one could ask. As you've said, though, we've allowed a few legal questions in the past, which had more clear-cut answers....
There's nothing inherently wrong with this question. It's going to be a common problem.
So why not write one definitive, killer answer explaining exactly what folks can (or can't) do in this situation? It may be true that this community (or anyone, for that matter) can do nothing about it, but that may be an answer in and of itself. Or perhaps there are ...
According to our community guidelines those questions are off-topic. I feel that it clearly falls into the "subjective" category. I routinely close such questions as off-topic under the "service recommendation" reason.
On a related note, perhaps we should update that explanation to include "service reviews".
The Meta.SO FAQ has seems to indicate to me that it is not acceptable to deride users for asking easily Googleable questions (see here and here). As such, it seems to me that no question is too basic to ask on an established SE site.
That said, while building the community, it is important to build content that will attract experts. Novices might come to ...
According to the Help Center:
...and [the question] is not about …
politics or philosophy
a site or software recommendation
I'm not sure but I think these questions may be better suited for Money Stackexchange
I have suggested improving
Questions seeking product or service recommentadations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve.
Questions seeking product recommendations or service reviews are off-topic because they tend to become outdated quickly. ...