Consider the two questions:

Why is the C book list question closed and the C++ book list question open? Consistency suggests they should both be in the same state.

Previous question Why is “The Definitive C++ Book List” question allowed, but other book recommendation questions are not? has an answer which applies equally to the C book list. I've voted to reopen the C book list (I think that's better than closing the C++ book list).

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    Is "this should be reopened because the other one is" really a good reason for reopening? Why does that question need to be reopened?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Aug 1 '13 at 16:25
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    I'm not active with it, but my understanding is the C++ community is extremely active in maintaining that list. SO standards, both should be closed and put into the respective tag wikis, but since the C++ community is so active in maintaining it, it is left alone. Aug 1 '13 at 16:27
  • They serve the same purpose to two different languages — widely used ones, that I'm interested in — and both have extensive lists of books. Yes, I think they should have the same status. I'm advocating for it. I'm willing to work on curating when necessary. Aug 1 '13 at 16:27
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    @Jonathan: The C and C++ communities here are very different. C++ is highly organised and quite relentless, whereas the C community can't even maintain an active C room.
    – DeadMG
    Aug 1 '13 at 17:02
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    @DeadMG: Neither can the C++ community, according to you, unless you count the Lounge, which you keep calling "not the C++ room". Aug 1 '13 at 17:05
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    It doesn't have to be a C++ room to be a room for the C++ community.
    – DeadMG
    Aug 1 '13 at 17:09
  • @DeadMG: Okay, you've never said that "not the C++ room" about the lounge (in fact, the opposite, though you do point out that it's not always for C++ chat) — I reckon I was thinking of the Cat. Aug 1 '13 at 17:11
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    The real answer is that C++ is somehow "special" in this regard, due to the sheer volume of poor resources. That overrides the needs of the SO format. In some opinions. Aug 1 '13 at 17:12
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    The question could still be closed to stop all this "well, that's what we do, except in this case" bickering. Technically it could have a single CW answer that would work more like a single WikiPedia entry instead of 87+ different ones. Then it wouldn't need to stay open. Aug 1 '13 at 17:13
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    I'd be happier if they'd just move the list into the accepted answer. I'd probably vote to re-open if that happened. Aug 1 '13 at 17:18

You're never going to get consistency on why some questions survive and others do not. Probably because we're humans, and we all hate exceptions to the rule unless they're the ones we care about.

In both cases, I think they're candidates for a new type of lock:

Wiki Answer

This question's answer is a collaborative effort: if you see something that can be improved, just edit to improve it! No additional answers can be added here

The question should be edited to remove the 'answer', and the 'accepted answer' should be a compilation of all books. That way, if someone wants to add a new book, they have to add it to the right place.

This keeps the 'closers' happy because the question is effectively closed to new answers, and it keeps people who want to be able to update the question with new answers happy because they have somewhere to put it.


As far as I'm aware, it's because the C++ community is an organised gang of thugs, and when the question was closed, we beat everybody involved until they saw sense, whereas the C people don't seem to care, as far as I'm aware. I mean, they can't even keep an active room of their own. So I'd mostly put it down to that. The fact that one is open and the other is not just shows that the C++ people are rewarded for their efforts.

  • 1
    We have pitchforks, sticks, tar and feathers on bulk discount if C community is interested. Aug 1 '13 at 18:37

The simple answer is "because that's how the community voted". If you look at the C++ list, you'll notice that it has quite the history as well. It has been locked and unlocked, closed and reopened.

If you want it to survive against all odds, get the community to support it, vet the content and keep it relevant. Voting to reopen, as you have done, is one way.


Any book list question, on any topic, is off topic and not allowed on SO. However an exception has been made for the C++ book list. Why? Because it's so well answered, because there are so many links to it elsewhere, because lots of high rep users care about it and vote to keep it open, and probably a dozen other reasons besides.

You come across some other book list question that doesn't meet all those criteria and all you have to offer is "consistency"? Consistency would close them all. The closest to consistency we're going to get is closing all but the C++ one. There is no way consistency argues for opening the C one. No way at all.

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