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Why was this question closed? How is asking (a very specific question) about a reference request for a specific programming language off topic?

Access 2007 VBA book

I would like to add that it would be good manners and helpful if one of the people who voted to close at least mentioned why they did it. If no one tells me why it's closed, I will not know why it's closed and I will not be dissuaded from asking such a question again. I didn't see anything in the FAQ that said reference requests were forbidden.

Update: Since two of you have given the same link about let's go shopping, I feel I must reply to all. But, this is not an answer and too big for a comment. So, it is added to the question. Note, the first comment is:

"How does that fit in with book recommendations?"

and Jeff Atwood's response is:

"I’m not entirely sure it’s related..."

Without reading tons of comments, it looks like eventually Jeff Atwood (and others) say these questions are not good because they are so subjective.

Let me break it down for you... this is the logic of the closure: "Subjective questions should be closed, many book questions are subjective, so ALL book questions should be closed."

That's not logical.

How does that apply here? I didn't ask a subjective question. I said, I want a book that has this, this, this and this. I described exactly the type of book I was looking for. The answerer found a book that obviously had exactly what I wanted. I didn't ask for the best book of that type. I just wanted a book of that type. There is no subjectivity. So, this question should not be closed.

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There is no subjectivity. So, this question should not be closed. Community consensus says otherwise: 5 close votes, no reopen votes. Your question (like any other recommendation question) solicits opinion, since there are several books to choose from, but any answerer is bound to pick one. It doesn't matter if you want the best or just a random one. Also, please don't edit you question to incorporate arguments regarding why your question shouldn't get closed. That's what comments are for. –  Dennis Jun 7 '12 at 13:53
    
If I come and ask a programming question, is there only one answer possible? Or, is the answerer choosing the way they think is best? If that is why my question was closed, then you need to close all questions. Let's be logical here. That's what I'm asking for. –  Graphth Jun 7 '12 at 14:16
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If I come and ask a programming question, is there only one answer possible? Generally, no. But each answer is clearly either correct or wrong. That's not the case with recommendations. Also, I meant the update on your SO question, not this one. –  Dennis Jun 7 '12 at 14:21
    
Stack Overflow is not a Recommendation Engine, a list of all things, or a link farm. Questions answered by links are prone to rot and attact spam, and we discourage them. –  Won't Jun 7 '12 at 17:02

3 Answers 3

It's a general book recommendation question, which is not a good fit for a Q&A like SO. Consensus is that this is off-topic on SO.

This question on how to ask for book recommendations might provide some additional insight in the general motivation behind the closure.

In general, Stack Overflow doesn't provide product or service recommendations.

I hope that provides enough insight. It might take some time to get used to all of this, but you'll get the hang of it. And good for you to ask, rather than to post a similar question again.

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Questions like this are asked all the time on math stackexchange and they are not considered a bad fit. And, I didn't ask someone to recommend the book they thought was best. I asked if there exists a certain type of book. –  Graphth Jun 7 '12 at 13:48
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@Graphth: It's a bit different with math books. For the most part, formulas are going to be the same, but explained differently; software books become outdated with new versions and bugs. –  Makoto Jun 7 '12 at 14:08
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@Graphth It is also why I explicitly limited myself to SO. That is where your question was asked. I cannot speak for a lot of the SE sites since I simply don't participate there. –  Bart Jun 7 '12 at 15:25

Closing the the question as off topic might be a little misleading.

Don't get me wrong: It should get closed. But I think not constructive would be a better fit.

Questions asking for recommendations are not constructive, since they're subjective, i.e., there are several valid answers, and there's no objective way to judge which is the best one.

There's a blog post that explains this in detail:

Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping! « Blog – Stack Exchange

It's more focused on hardware recommendations (on Super User), but the same arguments apply.

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I agree with the nature of the question being "not constructive". Although I think that these questions are so frequently asked that they are now generally seen as "off topic" to begin with. But it is somewhat confusing. –  Bart Jun 7 '12 at 13:21
    
@Bart: Recommendation questions get closed on Super User as off topic, but the [Super User FAQ](http:/superuser.com/faq) explicitly states If you have a question about [...] and it is not about [...] then you’re in the right place to ask your question!. That goes well with the off topic closing reason: Questions on [site name] are expected to relate to [site topic] within the scope defined in the FAQ. Unless we add something like this to the Stack Overflow FAQ, I don't think off topic is applicable to recommendations. –  Dennis Jun 7 '12 at 13:30
    
I agree and usually vote "not constructive". I merely tried to say that I think "off topic" is often chosen out of a sense of "oh no, not one of those again". Anyway, just my thoughts. And +1 for the good answer. –  Bart Jun 7 '12 at 13:32

I said, I want a book that has this, this, this and this. I described exactly the type of book I was looking for.

You are correct; your question as stated is not subjective. It is too localized.

You state your requirements so narrowly that nobody but you will ever benefit from them. You describe what would, to you, be a good book. That's great, but that's also not helpful to the "not you" demographic.

That's not what SO is about. We solve your problems only because it may also solve someone else's problems. If that's not the case, then we close your question.

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