So, today I wrote a question that follows the general pattern for book questions on Programmers (Is there a canonical book on [x]?) about a topic that's definitely related to programming (data integration). This is the question. It was closed.

I'd like to understand why, when there are many other questions that follow similar formats that are open and highly rated. Any thoughts? Is it the topic? If so, where should I have posted this?

  • 1
    just claiming "I want my question to be canonical" is not enough. Question needs a wording to effectively repel garbage answers, wording "that would allow connecting different answers into some larger picture that makes sense..." (more details here)
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 6:27
  • @gnat That is no longer the most recent discussion of book questions.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 8:27
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    @ThomasOwens interesting. As far as I can tell, instead of old fashioned requests gimme-teh-bookz, OP is now supposed to present an underlying problem that they were intended to solve with book-request, right?
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 8:50
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    @gnat That seems to be a fair assessment, yes. If you're explicitly looking for resources that go in-depth on a topic, it's OK to include that in your question. But resources shouldn't be limited to books (or any particular type of resource) and the question shouldn't be answerable with just links to resources (an answer should require human thought, knowledge, or experiences).
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 8:54
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    @ThomasOwens thanks. I like it. This should be easier than old way for OP, because no extra protection is needed to repel garbage answers I think. I mean, when there's a problem to solve, there's a natural gauge for whether answer explains how to solve that problem; anything else is justifiable garbage (including, but not limited to link-only answers)...
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 8:59
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    It's probably worth noting that the question took longer to close than the more frequent 'gimme-teh-bookz' style questions.
    – user53019
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


In a more recent discussion of resource request questions, the majority of support was behind favoring "why" or "how" questions rather than just requesting resources.

Since you're looking for a book on data integration topics, you clearly have questions or concerns about data integration (specifically using Hadoop and ETL). If you're having architectural or design questions of a conceptual nature, you should ask those specific questions here. A good set of answers should not only address your concerns, but give links to outside resources of all types (books, blogs, articles) as well as the personal experiences of others who may have solved similar problems in the past.

Of course, once you have a solid design, Stack Overflow is a good place for realizing that design into an implementation. Depending on the nature of the question, Database Administrators Stack Exchange might also be appropriate.

  • There is a level of knowledge at which I know there are architectural and design questions to be asked, but don't know those questions are yet, and can't ask them. The question was equivalent to: "Where should I start looking for a foundation of knowledge on this topic?" I am trying to avoid approaching it as a purely technical problem and ascertain what the pitfalls may be. I recognize that this is amorphous, but it's also valuable, similar to Roy Fielding's dissertation for REST, or the GoF book is good for architectural patterns in Java. The answer shows you further questions to ask.
    – asthasr
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 13:22
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    @syrion That's a different question than what you asked, though. You specifically asked for a canonical book. There's no problem there. You have a problem - you want to learn about data integration, but don't know where to begin. If you demonstrate that you've read basic reference sources (eg: Wikipedia), performed search queries (eg: Google, Stack Overflow, Programmers, Database Administrators), and read things on your own and still have questions about topics, ask those. If you are still confused about what you're reading, link to things you've read, quote them, and ask for explanations.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 13:47

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