I am sure that this type of question is inevitable. However, at times this might not be very much accepted as the person asking the question just wants others to do the research for him.

2 Answers 2


Can users ask for lists of sources or references such as books?

Yes, within limits.

Stack Exchange discourages list questions. It's one of the standard close reasons - "Too Broad" - and the site's help pages specifically mention one should avoid them.

List questions, often badly written, shouldn't always be removed. I agree that lazy questions should be closed on sight. But most list questions are genuinely an attempt to get a feel for something: What websites exist that will help me do X, what books will teach me how to Y - these are sometimes actually "how do I X?" or "how do I Y?"

To give some examples relevant to this site:

  • "What's the best book on writing" isn't a very answerable question.

  • "What's a useful style guide for academic work", while potentially a list question, could easily be narrowed down to something useful.

While others may disagree with me, I'd say it's best to use some judgment about these kinds of questions. Often, what looks like a list question might just be a case of a user not asking a specific enough question. We may sometimes want to put a question on hold while we ask a few followup questions in the comments.


I think it is allowed if the topic is related with writing. Here you have some examples of people asking for books:

  1. Good reads about Writing.
  2. Manuals for writing short stories
  3. Online guides for starting writers
  • 3
    It's worth noting that these question are very old. Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 4:24
  • 2
    Perhaps adding on them some kind of notice to that effect would help avoid future misunderstandings. Though locking with a historical-significance notice is probably over-the-top. A simple comment might do.
    – RegDwight
    Commented Dec 28, 2013 at 16:10

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