I had an answer on the List of freely available programming books but it's no longer there. What happened?

I noticed this when I was trying to look up my answer in my account history for reference. After some lengthy searching I found that it was actually deleted.

deleted by Robert Harvey♦ Nov 23 at 20:09
Why was your post deleted? See the faq.

Here's the content of my answer:

answer content in question

Looking at the FAQ, I'm having trouble seeing which problem it falls under:

  • commentary on the question or other answers

    no, that's not it

  • asking another, different question


  • “thanks!” or “me too!” responses

    definitely not it

  • exact duplicates of other answers

    I've checked very carefully against the other answers prior to posting it. As far as I know, the answer is not a duplicate. If anything, the answers here, here and here are more guilty of this then mine, however none of them were deemed necessary for deletion.

  • barely more than a link to an external site

    This one might be the closest but again, mine isn't the only answer like that.

  • not even a partial answer to the actual question

    That one doesn't sound right either.

If someone could explain the rationale or if another mod can take a look at this and correct the misunderstanding I would really appreciate it.

  • Is that book freely available? What did it link to?
    – Arjan
    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:00
  • 3
    @Arjan - It is. There is a link to a downloadable PDF. scg.unibe.ch/download/oorp
    – Oded
    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:01
  • 6
    Books are no longer welcome on SO - maybe the faq have to be updated. In that question you linked to, several moderators deleted hundreds of answers within a week, some with over 100 upvotes. Out of 325 answers, only 111 survived, can't see any pattern though. Dec 26, 2011 at 11:07
  • 1
    Does seem surprising that one was deleted when you look at the survivors. Some of them are just bare links with no explanation at all. Maybe they just haven't been flagged. Dec 26, 2011 at 11:17
  • 2
    @ShadowWizard okay, I understand about the books not welcome part -- that's the reason that question's locked. But are they just randomly deleting answers? That answer was over a year ago. Why not just delete all of them at once?
    – greatwolf
    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:18
  • Victor - this I can't know.. guess we have to wait for one of the moderators to show up and explain. Dec 26, 2011 at 11:22
  • 4
    @VictorT.: also note that that book is referenced in the "master list" answer (no idea how to search the edit history to know when that happened) - so it is kind of a dup. Maintaining that master list is probably a better thing than having individual references spread across pages and pages of answers.
    – Mat
    Dec 26, 2011 at 12:15
  • 1
    @Mat yes, that's because when I added my answer there I also edited and updated the 'master list'. (it shows up as edit #85 for me)
    – greatwolf
    Dec 26, 2011 at 12:23
  • @VictorT.: I don't really see a point of posting an answer in that case - is it to sort of have a rating of each book via the vote system?
    – Mat
    Dec 26, 2011 at 12:25
  • @mat that's primarily it. and to a lesser extent it provided a somewhat easier way for me to reference it without cluttering my favorites.
    – greatwolf
    Dec 26, 2011 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


It's been rolled up into the master list of books. Check the Language Agnostic section.

There is then no longer a reason to leave it lying around other than to collect upvotes.

If you want to check timelines, you'll notice that these deletions usually happen shortly after a new revision of the list is updated. Duplicate answers are flagged for deletion and done so in order to make at least some use out of that question.

So why are other answers still there but not deleted? No one else has gotten around to tidying it up. As simple as that.

Feel free to edit those other books into the master list and then flag for removal.

It was at least nine (9) pages before the recent waxing session to its current four (4).

  • Works for me. Thanks for clearing that up.
    – greatwolf
    Dec 26, 2011 at 13:11

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