I recently just asked a question about a very specific topic, looking for more resources from others who may have more expertise than me:

But upon reviewing some of the posts here on meta, I fear I might be off-topic, but on the other hand, it looks like I really have no place to go on the SE network either:

I can see how a list of books for general subjects, or beginner subjects like "How do I learn C#?" Or does anyone have any good recommendations for learning Java (books/resources) could spawn lists of hundreds, if not thousands of books and lots of replies, and be used for marketing and all kinds of other not good stuff.

But in my case, the book/resources I'm requesting, is on a very specific topic, that I couldn't find anything on Google or PDFCHM or Amazon on readily. I did my diligence, looked through CodeGuru, CodeProject, MSDN, and other resources, and just wasn't finding anything.

Yet I know, we have experts on the subject, like Jon Skeet, and others, that might be able to point me to resources they have used.

Is this still off-topic at this point? We don't even specifically list books/resources as off-topic in our FAQ (that I could see, might have missed it???)

  • Um... isn't 2012 before there was a separate Meta site? I thought those questions were grandfathered from the "specific site" issue.
    – Catija
    Jun 5, 2015 at 16:33
  • apparently not :( Sep 25, 2015 at 12:08

2 Answers 2


Yes. Making the request for a book suggestion more specific doesn't make it any less a request for a book suggestion.

It's simply not a programming question; ask a librarian.

  • 3
    I think this is a very narrow interpretation of what a programming question? I doubt my local library are going to be of much help if I start asking them for alternatives to the GoF design patterns book
    – Dónal
    Jan 10, 2012 at 16:51
  • 1
    There are specific programming problems that would actually need book (or generally, resource) recommendation by fellow programmers. "How do I implement garbage collection for Smalltalk?"; "What should I read if I want to write a JIT compiler". No librarian can help with this.
    – Jay
    Jul 26, 2012 at 11:09
  • If someone wants to learn how to program something, a librarian is usually a bad choice. Fellow expert programmers are far more qualified for learning how to program. May 21, 2018 at 13:35

Not only is it a question that is not directly about a programming problem, it is also a question that really doesn't have a correct answer. That makes it a bad fit for a Q&A site.

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