I'm tired of this on SE sites. It feels like a snarky attack by purist mods. The basic jist is that on some SE site, a user wants to know what good references for a particular topic they are having issues with are. Some mod comes along and blocks it.
Ridiculous. The questions are almost always highly viewed because the users want to know.
Is this any different than an expected answer containing an opinion and a link to a blog posting on the topic? I would say, no. And I'd like to see a more pragmatic approach to these types of questions. Driving users elsewhere instead of letting them discuss books that delve into issues they came here to discuss will not help the hit rate of this SE (still stuck in beta) or any other.


The purpose of meta is to discuss the rules for the main site, and suggest changes. If you don't like the rules, suggest alternative rules.

In point of fact, your basic claim that book recommendations are not off-topic is incorrect, as the existing meta discussion on the topic disagrees with you, rather overwhelmingly.

The rules of this site are achieved by group consensus. The moderators are not just arbitrarily picking and choosing what the rules are. We have determined these rules by asking the community what they want, and we will continue to do so.

The moderators' jobs are to enforce what the community has asked for, and help the community define what is unclear.

If you disagree about whether questions on books are off-topic, attacking the moderators is not the most effective way to go about expressing it. If there's recent discussion in meta, vote or write an answer that more accurately expresses why you think things should be a certain way.

If, as is the case with book recommendations, there is no current discussion, you are welcome to ask a question opening up the topic again. However, something along the lines of "Can we change our rules and allow recommendations?" is going to be far more likely to lead to constructive discussion.

I encourage you to post your own question asking if we should allow book recommendations, and then provide an answer that explains what you think we should do, and why.

However, please note that on the previous iteration of this discussion, only 2 people were in favor of book recommendations being on topic. Everyone else who participated in the discussion was clearly against the idea. That being said, it has been over a year since we had that discussion, and I have absolutely no objection to raising the issue again to see if popular consensus has changed.

Also note that we moderators actively monitor and participate in our chat room (whenever there is any activity to participate in, so if you have questions or concerns with moderation activities, feel free to ping us there. We also have a policy of openly discussing moderator decisions there, and if you go through the history you'll see that we very publicly discuss most of our moderator activities before acting on them.


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