There is a close reason on Stack Overflow that says,

Questions asking us to recommend or find a book, tool, software library, tutorial or other off-site resource are off-topic for Stack Overflow as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam.


However, we have already decided that book recommendations are on-topic as long as they are not too broad and there are a number of questions asking for online resources as well.

On the other hand there are at least two that are closed for this reason

Why are just those two question closed? There are other questions asking for online maps and resources and it seems like the community has found them useful.

There are always questions that we will need to point people off site for the answer, (there was one where the answer was to call someone) but I don't see as how that means we should close them.

  • This was brought up 4 years ago outdoors.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/455/… but the community has changed since then Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 0:34
  • 1
    Those things should not be off topic IMO. Comparisons and augments for the pros and cons of different resources are valuable when trying to learn something.
    – Qudit
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 21:23
  • This doesn't answer the overall question, but I definitely agree with the closing of the video one. (No offense meant to OP at all!) It's based on a video link which could go down anytime. It asks for link-only answers, which are discouraged by the system for the same reason. Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 2:52
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    This isn't an answer, just a report on some research! I checked every link on each of these questions and answers. Many are active but some are down, moved, not being kept up-to-date, and require registration. I've already deleted or replaced some of those links over the last few years, or left notes for the OPs. I'm leaving everything alone now. It would really help if none of us made changes while we're working on this question. If we do, questions will come forward, and responses here could be skewed. I've seen it happen a lot on meta posts like this one. Thanks! Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 4:32

1 Answer 1


TGO is not StackOverflow....

One of the biggest differences (IMHO) is that they have a vampire problem and we don't.

Even then, if the SE site does not have the question it should

This is not a problem here. If the question is not in SO and it is programming related, it is a valid question. The goal is for the top Google hit to be a SO question. source

Remember we are BUILDING A LIBRARY

A library tries to have everything relevant that it possibly can. Sometimes, they don't or can't have it and they recommend a different source. Often a library will help with an Interlibrary loan.

I think there are 3 categories.

  1. SPAM, some is more clear then others, but if clear SPAM, it does not need to be here.
  2. Easy Google finds (or prefered search engine), if the best resource is shows in the top 10 of a Google search, it might not belong here. If we can improve on, or be a better resource than the external source, it should definitely be here.
  3. Not in the top 10, of Google search. Then it should be here, and our answers should be in the top 10 Google results.

Often it is a case of inexperienced questioners do not know how or what to ask. For the sake of argument let's assume their Google query brought them to TGO for the first time, and they asked there question here. This is primary evidence that the question should be on TGO, so the next person who asks Google, also gets here and finds the answer, and relies on TGO in the future.

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    I like how this is laid out, and I agree with most, not all, parts. I appreciate your emphasis, especially on the main site, on the aspect of building the library. I didn't even know that was in the tour. It's supposed to be an introduction to SE and TGO, but many people never read it. Your links to it are very helpful! Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 22:20

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