I noticed that a lot of questions related to books and book recommendations are getting downvoted and closed. This question suggests that some people have negative attitude towards such type of questions.

Most of the book related questions have common sense in them and I love them. Usually there are tonnes of books and it is hard to understand which one is the most helpful, unless you have been here for ages and know all the stuff. Books questions are mostly general, open-minded and have relationship to software development. People who tend to downvote and close questions don't seem to be interested in books and do not allow other members to answer the question.

Q: Why not to let books-related question be here and stay open-minded?

2 Answers 2


The problem with book questions is that it's very hard to write one that isn't basically:

What's your favourite book on [Topic]?

These are specifically mentioned in the What kind of questions should I not ask here? section of the FAQ.

There are two areas they fail. One is that they promote discussion and secondly with this wording every answer is equally valid.

For a book question to be any good it needs to be asking for a book that covers a specific topic. Something like:

What book will explain networking between distributed offices?

is better, but still not really a good question.

(However, this might not be a good example as all networking books might cover this. But you get the point).

Really a question like this is only as good as the answers it receives so unless the answers explain why the book meets the criteria set out in the question they are no better than just listing your favourite (or the one you read last). The relevant bit from the FAQ is:

However, if your motivation is β€œI would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK.

Answers that explain will be longer and more detailed - which is good.

  • 2
    I agree, but it's a damn shame. Tell me that programmers, the world over, can't learn a tonne from just the top 5 or 10 answers here: stackoverflow.com/questions/1711/…. Focus that question on a specific domain and you've a recipe for developing strong knowledge of a specific area, vetted by a trusted community of your peers. As someone who's always hungry to learn, from the best resources, that's priceless. Sep 13, 2011 at 13:50

The problem I see with questions about book, or other resources, is that there isn't a definitive answer, as once a new book is published, or a new resource is available, who answered to those questions could change their mind. A new answer should be then added every time a new book (or resource) that matches the requirements is available.
It is also probable the question would not help any future users, if it is not updated. If then the question is about the best book, or the preferite book, then the question becomes rather subjective.

I think those questions suit more a forum site, than a Q&A site.

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