Recently, my question Looking for books on the C and POSIX standards was closed as "off topic". I don't really agree with that, and feel misunderstood. Reading the FAQ didn't make it clear either.

Can someone clarify? =/

Thanks, Andy

  • 1
    The more recent discussion on book recommendations is: Is our current process of handling resource request questions sufficient?. Your question is not a bad one, but recommendations in general don't really work with the Q&A philosophy and format of the site (see the "dont ask" section in our FAQ, recommendations generally fall in the "what's your favourite" category).
    – yannis
    Feb 28, 2013 at 6:47
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    But +1 for finding your way on Meta and asking about a closure constructively. This might not seem like a big feat, but trust me it's not as common as you might think. Our chat room is far more relaxed than the main site, I'd suggest asking your question there.
    – yannis
    Feb 28, 2013 at 6:50
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    @YannisRizos Thanks for your input! however, I don't think the question leaves much room for "what is your favourite" because I was very specific about looking for the standard document, as in "the C standard", where standard kind of implies that there should be only one possible answer.
    – user82709
    Feb 28, 2013 at 7:42
  • If that's the case, then the first comment in your question is your answer.
    – yannis
    Feb 28, 2013 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


I think users misunderstood your question and thought you were asking for a book list about the subject.

Questions that ask for broad recommendations like that are typically considered Not Constructive for Stack Exchange because it results in a huge list of books on the subject, voted/sorted according to popularity, and that rapidly gets outdated over time.

I've made an edit to your question to try and clarify that you are looking for the standard documentation for C and POSIX standards so you can reference them in your master thesis, and you are not looking for a huge list of books or other resources to learn from.

I've voted to reopen the question, however it still needs 4 more reopen votes from other community members (or 1 moderator vote).

  • You made a good salvage edit, and I've voted to re-open as well.
    – user53019
    Feb 28, 2013 at 14:42
  • @GlenH7 I wouldn't call it a "salvage edit", I'd call it a "clarifying edit". There was nothing wrong with the question itself except for possibly the title beginning with "Looking for books..." which can be misleading and is probably what lead to many users assuming it was a broad recommendation request for books on the subject :)
    – Rachel
    Feb 28, 2013 at 14:54
  • good point - salvage has a negative connotation to it that's not appropriate in this case. "My bad." Great clarifying edit that you put in there. :-)
    – user53019
    Feb 28, 2013 at 14:55
  • of course, the title! thank you :) EDIT: oops, your edit was larger than I noticed at first. again, thank you very much!
    – user82709
    Feb 28, 2013 at 18:00
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    Well, it's a "google proxy" question. "Where can I download X?" "Where can I buy this book?" I knew it wasn't a product recommendation question the first time I read it, and I still voted to close it. Feb 28, 2013 at 19:39
  • @RobertHarvey you're still missing the actual point of the question. But I doubt arguing about that will yield any results.
    – user82709
    Mar 1, 2013 at 7:15
  • @AndreasGrapentin: Then let me ask plainly: are you looking for a hard copy of a specification? Let me make it clear: Stack Exchange is not a resource-hunting service. Programmers is specifically for questions about conceptual programming topics, not for questions about where to find a hard copy of a specification. I don't know why you or Rachel or anyone else is finding that unclear. Mar 1, 2013 at 16:28

I understand that the OP wasn't looking for a book recommendation, but the question was and still remained

Where can I get printed versions of these documents?

I voted (twice) to close for a couple of reasons:

  • Wrong Audience. The question is about the publishing habits of specific standards bodies. The venue to get a good answer would be the standards bodies themselves. I put this in the same category as "Why did Apple reject my iPhone application?"

  • Overbroad Scope. The major standards bodies develop standards that cover more things than just programming.

  • I don't get where you're pulling this from. why is this wrong audience? the question is clearly fitted for experienced c programmers that have obtained the standard documentation to help them in their professional career. and why is it overbroad? All the c standard describes is the details of the programming language c.
    – user82709
    Mar 2, 2013 at 13:57

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