Maybe this is not such a stupid question. There are similars, but they don't directly answer what I'm asking:

So, watching the second answer, can I actually post something like "What's your favourite book to learn Objective-C?" (for example)

I'm asking this because I think that programmers actually have hard times finding good books (they cost a lot) and sharing this knowledge with others is sure a good idea (expecially for the wallet).

Now these questions are getting closed more often, but still I think that Stack Overflow is the main place where I should look for when I'm going to buy new programming books.

Are there any "formula" that allows me to get some suggestions about which book should I buy, such as "Which is the most popular book to learn Objective-C"?

And finally, why are book-questions discouraged on this website (expecially programming books) when even if they are subjective all the questions ends up in having an answer with a lot of upvotes making the answer quite explicit in such case.

I think that Stack Overflow is a place where you share knowledge and not talking about books (source of knowledge) is a bad idea. I think it's not a random situation that all questions about books are heavily visited/voted/discussed. I think it's an important signal from the community that is saying "we are interested in this!"

Edit 1:

I'm having a lot of comments, so I post some updates here:

Is a valid question *What's the most popular book for Stack Overflow users to learn XXX?". Obviusly the book should be related to programming (like a programming language).

  • 2
    There's no "right" answer, so why should they be on SE/SO? They just don't fit. – simchona Apr 20 '12 at 16:32
  • If I ask for "most popular" book, actually there is an answer and it's also given by numbers, am I wrong? – Fire-Dragon-DoL Apr 20 '12 at 16:34
  • 3
    Popular where? US? UK? Australia? Japan? The world? – simchona Apr 20 '12 at 16:35
  • World I mean, forgot to specify. – Fire-Dragon-DoL Apr 20 '12 at 16:36
  • Then popular according to what measure? Amazon ratings? Because you could easily Google that for yourself. – simchona Apr 20 '12 at 16:37
  • You can google but the first link you get is a stackoverflow question because is the place where you find programmers, so suggestions here are obviusly best thing you can have. Anyway I don't get the 2 downvotes on a question that is actually a question and very detailed. Downvotes are for bad questions, I even proposed some resources for similar questions. – Fire-Dragon-DoL Apr 20 '12 at 16:40
  • 1
    @Fire-Dragon-DoL Downvotes are different on Meta – simchona Apr 20 '12 at 16:40
  • And just because there are lots of programmers here doesn't mean everything is on topic. I can't ask "where is the best place to live in San Francisco" just because I want programmers to see it. – simchona Apr 20 '12 at 16:42
  • @simchona: Ah ok thanks anyway. By the way about stackoverflow measures: Which is the most popular books read by stackoverflow users to lean objective-c? I think this can be considered a correct and objective question, and can easily be detected by the upvote/downvote mechanism. – Fire-Dragon-DoL Apr 20 '12 at 16:43
  • Up/down votes don't mark whether something is subjective or not, though. – simchona Apr 20 '12 at 16:44
  • @simchona: Ok but here I'm asking "what is the best book to learn a programming language", not which is the best place to live in san francisco. Anyway because best could be objective, I think that "Most popular on stackoverflow" is a valid formula. If I can invite you to chat we can stop invading the question with comments anyway. – Fire-Dragon-DoL Apr 20 '12 at 16:45
  • 2
    Best is not objective. Just because numbers say something is popular, that doesn't make it the best. Take Twilight. – simchona Apr 20 '12 at 16:57
  • 1
    @simchona Or Bieber. – yannis Apr 20 '12 at 17:01
  • Question closed for?? I'm asking WHY and he is asking HOW! That's mad, by the way can I open a question: Is "What's the most popular book to learn XXX on stackoverflow" a valid question?, or will it get simply closed? @simchona: Most popular is objective however. – Fire-Dragon-DoL Apr 20 '12 at 17:06
  • @Fire-Dragon-DoL My guess is that question will get closed. Similar questions existed before, and were part of a massive cleanup. And "most popular for SO users" is a poll, which is also off topic per the FAQ. – simchona Apr 20 '12 at 17:08

I think this is a great idea, we could expand it to what blogs are the best, which movies relating to Computer Science are the best, which podcasts are the best, which languages are the best, which frameworks are the best, which plugins for frameworks are the best, which spacing and indentation style are the best, how many characters per line are the best, and which NGO's help you learn the most about programming. Probably even which college is the best if we're forward-thinking enough.

We could be the Angie's List of Programming!

...or not.

The Q&A format of Stack Exchange does not lend itself well to "Best Of" lists or really any discussion where there never could be an objective answer. (Ab)using SO to provide a place to find good programming books is a bad idea, as SO does a bad job of being a place to find lists of anything. It just wasn't built to do this effectively.

"Best Of" lists, for say books, are best on sites that handle those sorts of things. In your case, this would be retailers like Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or Online Sales Presence X.

  • Ok but read my comments: If I ask for "which is the most popular to learn objective-c for stackoverflow user", I think this is a correct question and even specific to stackoverflow. – Fire-Dragon-DoL Apr 20 '12 at 16:42
  • @Fire-Dragon-DoL That's not a good page for the Internet though. This isn't a place to gather and share opinions. The detailed book reviews/ratings on Amazon do a much better job of this than Stack Exchange voting does. – Bill the Lizard Apr 20 '12 at 17:59
  • 1
    I'd rather be the Schindler's List of Programming. – Cody Gray Apr 20 '12 at 19:07
  • @gnat I think that not putting it in the stackexchange site and put it in the "brand" of stackoverflow was a big mistake. That being said, there is a well known website (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to tell it) which uses subjective answers to subjective questions and it's indeed working. Actually, it has proven more helpful than Stackoverflow in the last year: once you reach a certain point, it's hard even for other people to answer your questions and the subjective ones (book recommendations), are not allowed. My website usage has reduceed drammatically since the changes. – Fire-Dragon-DoL Aug 21 '15 at 19:01
  • @Fire-Dragon-DoL did you check the history referred to in prior comment? it was first tried at Stack Overflow and then at separate Stack Exchange site - neither way worked. Stack Exchange model turned simply unable to accommodate questions like this (as opposed to eg Slant) – gnat Aug 21 '15 at 19:06
  • I checked it, but I'm pointing out that is working for different websites. Not to mention that everyone ignores the fact that the Stack Exchange model is working fine for Elections, which is an extremely subjective topic, so it is working for something that is subjective. – Fire-Dragon-DoL Aug 21 '15 at 20:59

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