On reflection about this, I realize that my concern is really something more narrow than the general topic of equipment recommendations. Of course we have a ton of questions in the equipment-recommendation category, and many of them are great, with great answers. It would be crazy to throw that away, and I can relate to anyone who thought I was crazy for suggesting that.
What I'm really concerned with, and what I think tends to towards the problems I'm worried about below, are what specific camera should I buy? questions. These questions don't suit the site well. They're almost always going to be subjective and argumentative (and in the bad-subjective category), and much more time-transient than other recommendation questions.
So that's what I'd like to take a hard line against. Can we encourage good equipment recommendation questions and, gently but firmly close "what camera should I buy?" questions?
I've appreciated this site being relatively free of the brand partisanship that seems to me to almost define some photography web forums. I'm afraid that having more equipment recommendations would bring that out more, and possibly spill to outside of the equipment recommendations.
And even discounting brand wars, it's nice to have a site that focuses more on photography and less on gear. I think shopping recommendations bring that out of balance.
And beyond all that, any QA which is specific enough to be really helpful to an individual is unlikely to be ever useful to someone else. Even if someone with exactly the same needs comes along a year later, everything will be out of date. That just means we'll have a site littered with noise.
Finally, I'm concerned that the majority of people asking the basic what-to-buy questions won't become positive contributors to the site in other ways. There's exceptions, but mostly, once they've got their answer (contributing to the above problems in the process), they're not engaged and won't be in a good position to stay around helping others.
So, my preference is to take a hard line against specific recommendations.
However, I'm all for general recommendations: what do I need to do this kind of shot? And I'm also in favor of the "how do I figure out how to decide" questions, including the more practical "what do I need to know so I can make this choice?".
Basically, I agree with @ex-ms and @labnut's answers here, but wanted to add the above as well.