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Are book recommendations on-topic?

I asked this question and someone closed it. Why asking for books recommendation is OffTopic and be closed instead? I see a lot of books recommendation still open and receiving answers!

WTF stackexchange???!!! Here is the list of example:





Learning Asynchronous programming

Is there a canonical book on requirements gathering?

  • While I don't have a problem with book questions, I do have a problem with this question. This should be migrated to the meta.
    – Apoorv
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 11:48
  • @MonsterTruck Hm? It is on Meta! ;P
    – yannis
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 11:48
  • 2
    @YannisRizos Oops. And LOL! How the hell did I end up here? I do remember a brick falling on my head --ah! that explains….
    – Apoorv
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 11:49
  • @YannisRizos I retraced my steps. For some reason, this question is visible on the main site. Is that a bug (because I've never seen this on other SEs)?
    – Apoorv
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 11:57
  • @MonsterTruck It was asked on the main site, and it was migrated here 38 minutes before your first comment. You couldn't have commented on the main site version of it, as it was locked when migrated. Perhaps you followed the migration notice here, or you were automatically redirect (although that doesn't happen for me)
    – yannis
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 12:02
  • @YannisRizos I still see it there. Captured a screenshot too but I guess I cannot post in a comment box.
    – Apoorv
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 12:08
  • @MonsterTruck Oh, sorry, yes it is still there, migrated questions still appear on the main site (unless an evil mod deletes them), regardless of where they were migrated to. It's just that it would be impossible for you to comment / vote / edit it on the main site, you have to have followed it here.
    – yannis
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 12:09
  • @YannisRizos Agreed. Unaware of that fact, I didn't even notice that the site theme had changed (a good psychology research problem is taking shape). And now I see why witness statements can be so unreliable.
    – Apoorv
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 12:12
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    Because they hate books also? blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/01/stack-overflow-where-we-hate-fun
    – mlvljr
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 12:57

2 Answers 2


The problem with book recommendations is that they are either:

a) Too broad and hence not constructive as you'll simply get a list of everyone's favourite book. This doesn't help you as you still have to pick one from the list.


b) Too narrow and hence too localised as the conditions you've set make the situation only applicable to you and, more significantly, only applicable to you at this moment in time.

We have tried to allow some book recommendations but, as you've pointed out, it can lead to inconsistencies where one question is closed but another remains open. Ultimately we may have to review the situation and see if we should allow book recommendations at all.

  • 1
    I thought StackExchange trying to be helpful, but instead they are practicing double standard!!! Enough say and I never support StackExchange any more. Bye bye
    – user56057
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 11:20
  • 2
    @Student, This is mostly a community organized site. If you don't like something, you are free to become more involved and help define the site as it grows.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 15:22

Questions about books (or any other thing) that will only generate a list of things are not allowed, as discussed in a previous Meta post. The posts that you link to are about very specific topics and tend to have books that can be considered canonical references, which limits the available options significantly and makes it more likely that there is one best answer.

Your question should have been closed as not constructive and not off topic - that was my mistake (but I'm not going to reopen and close under the right reason).

  • Why not?....... Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 12:06
  • @nicodemus13 Why not what?
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 12:26
  • Why won't you correct the mistake in why it was closed- I would have thought that it wouldn't be any more effort than writing the answer and surely it would be helpful to anyone else who came across the question? After all, there are a lot of complaints about how questions are closed- so if they are marked as closed for the wrong reason, I would only think that would confuse matters further. Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 15:44