Prompted by https://latin.stackexchange.com/q/92/11, I think we should decide this early: Do we accept recommendation requests?

There are a few points to consider:

  • Recommendation requests require a whole new level of moderation to keep them from devolving into a subjective "I hate you because you dislike the thing I like."

    Because of this, most other sites don't accept them.

  • If we wanted to, we could do them right. We have several people here who are experienced in handling recommendation questions. We could set up the right policies and probably do fine if we thought it was worth it.

  • If we don't want to accept these, we should set up a clear answer, with clear consensus, explaining that we don't (and why). It's always nice to have something to point to when closing questions.


  • experienced in handling recommendation questions Don't we have most of the mod teams of HR and SR?
    – ArtOfCode
    Feb 23 '16 at 23:04
  • @ArtOfCode: What are those abbreviations?
    – Cerberus Mod
    Feb 24 '16 at 0:24
  • @Cerberus Software Recommendations (SR) and Hardware Recommendations (HR).
    – Undo
    Feb 24 '16 at 0:25
  • Ah, I see. Perhaps I should ask a Meta question about abbreviations hehe.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Feb 24 '16 at 0:26

We could create a single, nice canonical question like "what are the best books or methods to learn Latin?", with a single Wiki answer that is a long list, and close all other recommendation questions about learning Latin as duplicates of that immediately.

There could be other recommendation questions that are more specific and more interesting, such as "what is a good source for the theory that the ablative absolute was inspired by the Greek genitive absolute?", or something like that. Those I would probably keep open.

  • I was going to float making a canonical question as another idea, but I hadn't thought of allowing more specific questions. I'm still not sure we should handle those, but it's a good thought.
    – Undo
    Feb 24 '16 at 0:08
  • I would put such a list on meta, not on the main site. Feb 26 '16 at 21:15
  • @Nathaniel: That is possible. Is that easy to find for Google? And what's the advantage over posting it on the main site, exactly? I'd say a book recommendation is not a question about this site?
    – Cerberus Mod
    Feb 26 '16 at 21:24
  • Google does index our meta pages, so it theoretically would appear in search results. The main benefit to putting it on meta is that it makes it clear that other questions of this type do not belong on the main site: like this one on ELU: What good reference works on English are available? Feb 26 '16 at 21:28
  • @Nathaniel: Hmm. It could be like a kind of help file.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Feb 26 '16 at 21:59

Let's not accept these.

I'm having a hard time seeing them adding significant value to the site, and the investment we would need to make is quite large. Instead, we should close these questions as being primarily opinion based.

In the future, we could create a new off-topic close reason to address these.


These types of questions are off-topic and should not accepted because by definition they conflict with core StackExchange principles and are unsuitable for a Q&A site where a "best" answer should be possibled.

If we wanted to combine our expertise and knowledge, the best way to provide this type of information is in the tag wikis. As an example, have a look at the scala or java tags on StackOverflow. These can be a collaborative effort and means that we won't have unsuitable but highly popular questions appearing on the site as broken windows.

As user Dawny33 explained in his answer on a similar question from the Workplace Meta:

Asking about books and resources in the main site defeats the purpose of SE, and would result in an epic fail of the primarily opinion based reason of closure. Even if the questions are locked, it doesn't cover up the fact that the answers are opinion based. Even if the question is framed like one of these, it is still off-topic:

  • Books on _______? <-- Reason for closure: Too broad

  • Good books on _______? <-- Reason for closure: Opinion based

  • 5
    I think Good books on Latin grammar? is bad because it is too broad. But how about Good article about the hypothesis that prepositions originate in adverbs?? I actually think the latter is an interesting and useful question.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Feb 26 '16 at 21:22

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