Should What is the best Python book for experienced programmers? get a historical lock put on it?

It is the #1 result when searching on google when searching for "best python book"

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    Ha - two people downvoted your question, but neither of your poll options. Have you been trolling on Stack Overflow or something? Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 16:27
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    I can tell Panama posting "Should X be locked?" and then him and Rackis mocking the downvotes is going to become a daily tradition. We don't need to vote on every post you stumble across -- mod flag it if you think it should be locked, and if it gets rejected and you feel badly that it needs a lock, then go to town on meta to try and talk them into it Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 16:32
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    @MichaelMrozek I was told "Bring stuff like this up on Meta and let the community vote on it." in response to flagging one for locking (hence my posts yesterday).
    – Jeremy
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 16:37
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    Setting these up as polls with answers representing yes/no responses is not going to work. Folks can already vote to close / re-open, and they can already vote on the proposal (question) itself - save answers for reasoned arguments for or against the proposal.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 16:38
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    @AdamRackis Fine, then I meant "discuss"; I didn't intend to use "argue" in a negative way, sorry. There are tons of these old posts that I try hard to ignore, and I don't look forward to meta becoming a giant list of "should we delete X" for all old high-voted questions X. If SO mods want to do that then fine, I didn't know that was their policy till now Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 16:49
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    @Robert - Shog did seem to imply that this was the proper way to resolve these issues - am I missing something? Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 16:58
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    Somebody should ask the question "Should we post meta questions about historical locks?". It's just meta enough to be awesome Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 16:59
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    @JeremyBanks: I just think people should be making better use of their flags. I saw your declined flag on the "Storing Images in DB - Yea or Nay" question, but you did the right thing; you flagged first. That question is not exactly controversial, and meta should be used only as a last resort, when flagging produces an unsatisfying result. Shog's post addresses an SO question that was repeatedly opened, closed, deleted, undeleted, etc.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 17:01
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    @AdamRackis: Part of the reason that moderators are declining these flags is they don't want the hassle anymore; they don't want to get blamed for deleting content or framing garbage, preferring that the community decide for themselves. A moderator should only have to step in and pass judgement on a post when it is clear that community consensus is not going to happen.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 17:13
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    @Robert - sure (and I don't think I flagged anything on images in DB). Saving moderators from drama is exactly the reason I thought we should use meta questions like this. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 17:19
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    @AdamRackis: Ah, you're right. That was Jeremy's flag. Responding to questions on meta is time-intensive for the mods. We have open/close and delete/undelete systems that should be used to their fullest potential first, and then flags, and then Meta if all that fails.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 17:22
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    @Robert: Your comments here seem contradictory to me: «I just think people should be making better use of their flags...but you did the right thing; you flagged first.» «Part of the reason that moderators are declining these flags is they don't want the hassle anymore..., preferring that the community decide for themselves.» How do "flagging first" and "the community decide" go together? If we want decisions to be made by consensus, why wouldn't we make a Meta question? Isn't it best to allow more than 5 people to weigh in, voting here rather than directly for re-open/deletion?
    – jscs
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 18:53
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    @RobertHarvey: How is a consensus (or lack thereof) determined? Are you saying that people have to constantly patrol question to see if they get deleted and then vote to undelete them? I thought the purpose of the lock was so that if people want it to be deleted, it has to be brought up on Meta first. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 19:36
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    @RobertHarvey Interestingly, the balance was a little different before the poll options were deleted, IIRC. I don't like using votes on the question to determine action like this, because that could mean a poorly-asked question condemns another post to deletion forever.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 19:46
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    @RobertHarvey: "Look at this question. The consensus seems to be that a historical lock is inappropriate at this time." Consensus? It's been three hours. A healthy percentage of MSO users have been asleep this entire time. Exactly fifteen users have voted on this question. How can you call 15 users in 3 hours a consensus? The worst part is that if exactly 3 more users disagree, the question will disappear from the front page, making more upvotes less likely and thereby squelching debate. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


I'm guessing the main problem with this question is that book lists become outdated as soon as the ink is dry, and locked questions can't be updated—indeed, that's the whole point of locking them.

So essentially we'd be keeping around outdated information, without the ability to keep it more current.

It might be best to rip the band-aid off this one.

  • With this logic, the book itself becomes outdated and obsolete as soon as the ink is dry, therefore all books are worthless. (Come to think of it, every natural science professor I've ever had has made precisely this argument...) Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 2:11
  • @Cody: I read this answer as an argument for re-opening the question, thereby forestalling deletion, and thus allowing the question to remain both available and able to be updated. You could also view it as an argument for deletion I suppose - but either way, it's a strong argument against locking.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 2:23
  • @Cody - nobody loves books more than me, and one of my favorite books was written over 30 years ago (and is hardly obsolete). My point was that the list itself will be obsolete before the ink is dry. As the next version of Python and its various frameworks are developed, new books will be written to cover the new material. If the question is locked, then we'll be keeping around outdated info that can't be updated. Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 3:49
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    So yeah, as @Shog says, opening the question and letting the Python guys keep the thread up to date would be one option, but I didn't think that was acceptable to the community. I figured ripping the band-aid off and deleting it would be better than locking it, since the latter would guarantee that we're keeping bad info around. Shog: are questions like this officially off-topic? I'd love to see the question opened and kept fresh; I just didn't think that was an option. Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 3:51

Beyond the fact that this question potentially provides some useful information in its answers (however problematized that conclusion may be by the concern presented in Adam's answer), I think this question is worth a historical lock just by virtue of its "highly linked" status.

It's obviously a question that many users have found useful, not only useful enough to upvote, but also useful enough to link to elsewhere on the Internet. And extensively so.

One of the arguments made in favor of creating a historical locking system was to help prevent link rot across the web and keep Stack Exchange from "breaking the Internetz". Deleting this one outright looks like it would probably have that effect.

  • +1 because I hate deleting heavily linked-to posts. I just hate that a lock would prevent the next must-read python book from being added to the thread. Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 3:54
  • IMO this is a clear case where the information should be moved into the tag wiki. No reason the "top books" can't be maintained there, and it is editable. Commented Mar 24, 2012 at 0:27

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