Just in the last few hours a couple of questions about resources have been posted:

  • This one, asking for sources on technical writing, has been closed as Not Constructive. It is in fact a very broad question, and probably Off Topic (it might fly, however, on Writers.SE).

  • This one, however, is much narrower and specifically focuses on an aspect of English verbs. It has already received two closevotes as Not Constructive.

There has been considerable discussion of whether requests for resources will be welcome here; in addition to remarks in the course of answers to What should our FAQ contain? there are these:

It appears to me that there is considerable sentiment here for declaring questions about resources On Topic. I therefore ask:

Should we not avoid closing questions about resources until an authoritative statement has been included in our FAQ? (without prejudice, of course, to other reasons for closing)

  • If questions about resources are on-topic, what should be done with answers for which the link returns a error message?
    – apaderno
    Feb 23, 2013 at 13:30
  • Also, the FAQ already says that subjective questions for which each answer is equally valid should not be asked. Nobody pointed out what the benefit of questions asking for resources would be, since every answer would be equally valid.
    – apaderno
    Feb 23, 2013 at 13:32
  • 1
    @kiamlaluno Answers with dead links can be edited or flagged for deletion. And answers need not be subjective, all answers are not equally valid. Any given resource may be better for some purposes or in some respects than others. Answers should be more than a bare link: some commentary describing what is to be found at the link and its relative excellencies or deficiencies are very helpful not only to the current but to future quærents. Feb 23, 2013 at 14:34
  • The problem is: Who is going to check if those links are still valid? It seems a burden, just to allow some questions. The reasons to choose a resource rather than another one are always subjective; probably somebody uses a resource because he thinks it's the best resource, but that doesn't mean everybody thinks so. All the answers are equally valid because there aren't objective criteria to decide which one is better; at the end, the question would become a poll, where who votes would vote the resource he likes more.
    – apaderno
    Feb 23, 2013 at 14:45
  • Also, in a answer I can provide a link, but 10 months later I could provide a different link. That is different from answering a question like "Is fun an adjective, in this sentence?" So, my answer is subjective because I could myself give a different answer basing on subjective facts (my girlfriend left me, my cat died, my Internet sucks...).
    – apaderno
    Feb 23, 2013 at 14:49
  • @kiamlaluno In what respect is this different from the answers provided to every other question? Answers point to NGrams or Wikipedia, which change over time; answers argue for differing grammatical theories; answers differ over 'correct' usage, the relative weight to be given to established and evolving usage; my grammatical insight has evolved over just the past six months; you may give a different answer to any question based on immediate personal attitude. Feb 23, 2013 at 15:04
  • The difference is that you can use a Wikipedia article as reference, but you don't answer by giving just a link to a Wikipedia article; even if the link is not accessible, the answer is still readable. When the answers are just links, what do future users get from those answers? If the answers are not merely links to resource, I can understand, even thought I don't see what future readers can get from knowing resources that are not anymore available.
    – apaderno
    Feb 23, 2013 at 15:10
  • @kiamlaluno On this argument you must ban the use of any link to any source (including SE) unless you reproduce the source in its entirety in your answer. And that involves you in a contradiction with your principle that answers should be 'objective', since it makes the answer solely dependent on the authority of the answerer. Or are you arguing that only references to printed sources are acceptable? Feb 23, 2013 at 15:21
  • Uh? Reproducing the source in its entirety is not required. What would you do, if you answer a question about a PHP function? Would you copy-and-paste the fully documentation page? I hope not. Also, I hope that the difference between an answer that uses a link as reference, but it is not merely a link, and an answer that is merely a link is clear.
    – apaderno
    Feb 23, 2013 at 15:32
  • Just to make it clear, Stack Exchange is not useful when it comes to questions where the answers are equally valid, or questions asking for lists. This has been largely discussed on Meta Stack Overflow, and Stack Exchange employees said this.
    – apaderno
    Feb 23, 2013 at 15:34
  • 1
    @kiamlaluno The response should be to provide good answers, not to ban the question because it might prompt bad answers. Feb 23, 2013 at 15:53
  • When the question is essentially, explicitly asking for a list of things, that is surely a bad question. Stack Exchange is not thought for questions asking lists.
    – apaderno
    Feb 23, 2013 at 16:00
  • let us continue this discussion in chat Feb 23, 2013 at 16:02


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