The answer lists the only three books solely devoted to exceptions I know of (and quite probably, the only three that exist):

For the ASP.NET part (your example case), point them to Robust ASP.NET Exception Handling book (60-page download, $7).

And as for the Java part, to Robust Java: Exception Handling, Testing, and Debugging and Java Exception Handling (another book with an alike name).

Would like to hear your weighted opinions, folks :)

  • 5
    Your answer was just three links (one broken, btw) to books, on a question that isn't asking for books. Is it really surprising that it was removed?
    – yannis
    Apr 14, 2015 at 10:52
  • @YannisRizos For guys caring that much about quality -- why did nobody, ever point to the fact that one of the links was broken (btw)? That's to start with :) Question not asking for books -- okay, are books banned then, and it is only our worthy wisdom only, or what?
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 12:30
  • Also, the answer was the three links, again, not just :)
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 12:36
  • possible duplicate of Short answer deleted, not sure why?
    – gnat
    Apr 15, 2015 at 7:10
  • You guys want to continue on meta-meta? :)
    – mlvljr
    Apr 15, 2015 at 12:35

4 Answers 4


Because it was essentially a link only answer where the actual answer is behind a paywall. (and where the person following it also has to wait on shipping and handling)

That is not conductive to a Q&A.

  • So books are paywall now, and all the useful stuff is our own writing here, on SE? I got you, freak :)
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 12:26

Your answer was a link-only answer that didn't provide much more than external resources in the body. This isn't considered a high-quality answer:

Links to external resources are encouraged, but please add context around the link so your fellow users will have some idea what it is and why it’s there. Always quote the most relevant part of an important link, in case the target site is unreachable or goes permanently offline.

In the case of your answer, one of the links is dead. The other two are for books to sale.

If you believe that these books answer the question, you should have explained why they answer the question. Summarize the contents, or provide some short quotations, that explicitly answer the question.

  • "Books for sale" -- huh? "If you believe that these books answer the question..." -- if this is unobvious from the very fact the answer was posted, well, then most of audience here is much geekier than I thought, I guess (given the context of the question -- substantial controversy around the topic, and nearly all books / talks merely covering the basics + lingusitic mechanisms, and not giving deep enough insight into best practices).
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 12:41
  • 3
    @mlvljr I don't understand your point. Answers are expected to contain answers in them, not just point people to other resources. Telling someone to go buy a book is not an answer.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Apr 14, 2015 at 12:43
  • Telling someone who is looking for an answer to a really tough question, there's a dedicated book on the topic, is (and if you list all three, that's better). Makes sense this way?
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 12:44
  • 4
    @mlvljr OK, but that doesn't meet the criteria for a good answer. If the question truly requires a full book to answer, then the question is too broad for Stack Exchange. The right course of action is not to post a low quality answer, but to help the asker narrow down the question so that it is a good, answerable question.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Apr 14, 2015 at 12:46
  • I suggest we don't try to get lost in definitions of low and broad here: the question was about teaching a tough problem, there're a few books that deal directly with that, the links were provided by an answer. You folks have full right to use your own definitions, of course, but whoever comes to the question page looking for something more than couple lines of technical prose written from experience, he will suffer from this.
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 13:47

The expected quality of an answer on P.SE is that it fully answers the question here. That one can read an answer posted to the question and come away enlightened. That is the key criteria.

The answer may include links to other resources that can act as supplementary reading for someone who wants to go into greater depth on the subject for material that doesn't fit in the answer. That doesn't mean the answer can be absolved of answering the question.

In the help center specific information is given to why some answers are deleted:

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are:

  • barely more than a link to an external site
  • not even a partial answer to the actual question

The answer you provided fails on these three tests. It doesn't fundamentally answer the question, it is barely more than links to external resources and it is not even a partial answer to the question - if one removes the links, there is nothing left.

  • Except he throws the baby out with the water, yeah :)
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 15:49
  • 1
    Could you describe how your answers fundamentally answers the question of how to teach exceptions to new programmers? Compare this to the other answers in the question. I would also point out that your deleted answer isn't alone - there are three other deleted answers that are link only. And no, its not a great question, but that isn't an excuse for an answer that only amounts to links.
    – user40980
    Apr 14, 2015 at 15:56
  • Easy -- topic is tough, books are rare, here they are (and if you have no idea, why / if the first two parts are true -- you're plain out of scope for this specific question). As simple as that :)
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 20:14

Without an explanation, this answer may become useless in case if someone else posts an opposite opinion. For example, if someone posts a claim like...

For the ASP.NET part (your example case), avoid pointing them to "Robust ASP.NET Exception Handling" book.

And as for the Java part, books to avoid are "Robust Java: Exception Handling, Testing, and Debugging" and "Java Exception Handling" (another book with an alike name).

...how would your answer help reader to pick of two opposing opinions?

Downvote arrow tooltip says "This answer is not useful" - maybe that's what voters thought, although one can only guess - system is fairly strict in keeping votes anonymous.

  • Without an explanation, this answer merely does what it does: points people to what seems only three special printed texts on the topic + recommends studying those; your imaginary example would do the former + opposite of the latter; presence of both would (helpfully) imply there's controvercy there, without invalidating any of the answers. Any outcome would help reader to pick of two opposing opinions, if s(he) uses her brain :/
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 20:23
  • @mlvljr quoting self, presenting to users half-baked answers and forcing them use their brain to decode "is not a particularly good habit. It may sometimes fly here at meta... but on main site, you better make sure that any reader gets to your point as easy as possible. That way, if your point is good, will offer better chance to get more upvotes and gain more reputation"
    – gnat
    Apr 14, 2015 at 20:52
  • rightey, but what you guys ended up doing was making the overall value of the question page worse (and what you could do, is merely ping that one link is dead, and suggest that a summary being added); but no :)
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 21:03
  • @mlvljr well voters may have an attitude mentioned in your prior comment, expecting post author to "use their brain" to figure. Or, they may be afraid of "revenge downvotes" if they openly criticize. Anyway, if you feel strongly that your answer can be improved, you can edit it and flag for moderator who can review and decide if it is indeed worth to be undeleted
    – gnat
    Apr 14, 2015 at 21:18
  • @mlvljr "moderators" aren't quite faint-hearted, you can see names of those who deleted the answer (as opposed to regular voting, deletion and closing of posts are public, personalized and as transparent as possible)
    – gnat
    Apr 14, 2015 at 21:40
  • Why not leave a helpful suggestion then? :)
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 22:02
  • @mlvljr of two reasons I listed, one remains for the folks who deleted (not anonymously). There could other reasons I don't know - for example they could think that you don't care. Why don't you ask them? they both answered to your question here at meta
    – gnat
    Apr 14, 2015 at 22:09
  • I think everyone here has got a pretty good chance to explain tehmselves, already :)
    – mlvljr
    Apr 14, 2015 at 22:17

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