Communities

Writing
Writing
Codidact Meta
Codidact Meta
The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors
Photography & Video
Photography & Video
Scientific Speculation
Scientific Speculation
Cooking
Cooking
Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Judaism
Judaism
Languages & Linguistics
Languages & Linguistics
Software Development
Software Development
Mathematics
Mathematics
Christianity
Christianity
Code Golf
Code Golf
Music
Music
Physics
Physics
Linux Systems
Linux Systems
Power Users
Power Users
Tabletop RPGs
Tabletop RPGs

Dashboard
Notifications
Mark all as read
Meta

Are reference requests welcome here?

+5
−0

On that other site that shall not be named, reference request questions are outlawed as "asking for an off-site resource".

What do you guys think about such questions? Should they be welcome here? Any specific things to keep in mind when asking such questions?

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.
Why should this post be closed?

1 comment thread

General comments (1 comment)

4 answers

You are accessing this answer with a direct link, so it's being shown above all other answers regardless of its score. You can return to the normal view.

+6
−0

Just to stir the pot a little, on Physics SE we ended up allowing them within certain limits.

Though I was against it I would say that the results were rather better than I expected.

We did set up a post notice for the category that reads:

Before answering, please see our policy on resource recommendation questions. Please write substantial answers that detail the style, content, and prerequisites of the book, paper or other resource. Explain the nature of the resource so that readers can decide which one is best suited for them rather than relying on the opinions of others. Answers containing only a reference to a book or paper will be removed!

Those question do attract some rather poor answer but the community usually does a good job of voting those down, and it doesn't take too much moderator effort to enforce the rule about expanding on the link.

After that experience my position here would be "We have to set some ground rules if we're going to do that." rather than an outright contrary position.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

0 comment threads

+7
−0

Consider the following posts which have essentially become canonical references in their own right within their respective communities on SE:

The mere existence of such posts on a Q&A site is not without controversy, however. These gather subjective responses, and could be hijacked by spammers seeking to promote their books, courses, videos, podcasts, etc.

Some helpful reading while reflecting on this includes:

If this were to be implemented, I think it would be best as a separate category, perhaps named “Resources.”

On the flip side, there are already a lot of great resources for software developers out there, such as the awesome lists which cover a myriad of languages and topics.

Some questions to ponder:

  • Would such posts require a single wiki-based response or would multiple posts be allowed?
  • If multiple posts, is voting still a good tool for distinguishing between posts?
  • What are strategies to prevent such posts being hijacked by spammers?
  • Do we currently allow targeted questions asking for a (albeit subjective) review of a specific resource (e.g., is Accelerated C++ still a good book to learn the basics of C++ from or is too outdated and should now be avoided?)?
Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

1 comment thread

General comments (6 comments)
+3
−0

This will be community dependent - e.g., Software Development, Outdoors, Cooking, etc. might each have a different rule. IMHO, there are two issues here:

  • How helpful is such information, compared to just telling people "Google it yourself" - i.e., is a curated reference list "useful"?
  • Is such information considered "long term" enough?

One of the concerns SomeplaceElse, which may be relevant here as well, is that external references may change or disappear while the Q&A will last "forever".

That being said, IMHO external reference Q&A are generally fine, provided those references are themselves well sourced.

While not as applicable to Software Development, there has even been some discussion for other communities of questions that are specifically to gather together reputable external sources for a specific topic.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

0 comment threads

+1
−1

If we ignore the part of recommendation questions leading to opinion-based answers, the main concern against these kind of questions is that they don't add anything of value to this site.

But also one of the main design concerns of SO: they didn't want to end up as yet another low quality programming site with broken links all over the place. That's why they always had a policy against "link-only answers". In addition, link-only answers open up for spam.

10 years of SO experience has shown that almost every single question asking for off-site resources or recommendations is also low quality in itself. The rules against off-site recommendations and link-only answers served that site very well.

I see no reason why we should have a different policy, it will only lower the quality of the content. We must have some sort of quality of content concern on this site, or it will end up as yet another trashy programmer forum like so many others out there.

If needed, we can always put together a maintained list of external resources, book recommendations etc inside the specific tag wiki.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

0 comment threads

Sign up to answer this question »