Right now, we're operating on some community discussions from several years ago:
- Are book recommendations on-topic? (July 2011)
- What's up with all the book recommendation flags? (December 2011)
The idea was that there are some book or resource recommendations that are suitable for this site. If there are specialized requirements or a small number of right answers, then the book question can stay. A key idea was the "canonical resource" - the single, widely accepted, best resource on the subject.
However, just this morning, we had two book questions (11 and 22) that were closed with 4 community votes, followed by my vote. These questions also received down votes. At first glance, they seemed like they would fall under the criteria that we have been operating under - a very specialized requirement that I assumed would be covered by a small number of books or web resources.
So, I ask the community to consider the following questions:
- How are we doing right now in handling these types of questions? Are the current policies sufficient or are there more concrete policies that would be best implemented?
- Without expertise in the subject matter, how do people (especially moderators who might have to act on a flag) know if there is a singular "canonical" book on the question?
- What happens to topic areas covered by a small number of resources now (such as the latest language or library) down the road, when it is more popular and prevalent? Might resource requests, perhaps, be too localized since the available (and perhaps even what is considered canonical) change over the course of time?