Questions asking for specific resources are generally off-topic on StackExchange sites for various reasons:

  • No definitive list is possible, you can always add one more resource
  • Answers are often subjective, which resources do you include or not?
  • These kind of questions tend to attract spam answers.
  • Internet resources often become old/obsolete rather fast (broken links).

Despite this, several SE sites do have special community-wiki resource questions and answers. Some examples are:

We recently discussed in chat whether resource questions would also be a good idea for Sustainable Living. We could create one or more posts with important (influential) books, courses, apps and tools on specific sustainability topics. Obviously these questions have to be carefully monitored and moderated and will be made community-wiki. This means that you'll need at least 100 rep to contribute and no one gets any reputation for posting questions or answers.

What do you think? Should we allow community-wiki resource questions on this site and if so in what form? Do we want this on the main site or on meta? Should it be one single question with each answer addressing a different resource type or specific topic, or do we create a new question and answer for each resource type/topic?

BTW, we already have a few tag wikis that contain resources lists, so another option is to just stick with that (and take their rather low visibility for granted). Some examples:

Note that this topic has been discussed before in this old meta question about asking for books.


2 Answers 2


Yes, we should, they can be valuable resources. See the 3 examples you give. Yet, we should try to keep them as focused as can be. The book example you give is definitely too broad ('sustainable living' is huge and will only get bigger) and it is opinion-based (asking for 'most influential').

If we can manage that, the 3 'contra' reasons you mention at the top are not that big an issue because of the voting system. Obvious junk will get downvoted and deleted over time (this is related to my last paragraph).

They should be on the main site (not meta), that's where people expect the actual content to be. I'm surprised to see the Japanese example on their meta site, most meta questions I have seen to date seem to be on the main sites.

What we should not do is create them 'for the sake of' resource posts. If they pop up, allow them (I must confess I do not know how 'promotion' to community wiki goes in those cases).

As for the question Should it be one single question with each answer addressing a different resource type or specific topic, or do we create a new question and answer for each resource type/topic?, I'd say one answer for each resource.
Separate answers allow for voting (as I suggested at the top of this post), and avoids edit wars.
The downside is that a long list may take a lot of scrolling - but the best ones are at the top.

One downside to resource posts may be that this site does not seem large enough yet to quickly get enough answers - a question with only 2-3 answers is not a resource. That may be an argument to hold this off for some time.


Shopping questions should be off-topic. Instead of asking for a recommendation, ask the question you think the recommendation would solve. So, instead of "Where can I learn about environmental issues" ask "What should I do to stay informed about environmental issues?". If recommendation is really what you are looking for, post on a forum instead.

Links to resources in tag-wikis seems like a useful/good thing. In order to make it work, though, we will need some method of resolving disputes.

While I am opposed to the inclusion of shopping list questions on this site, if you decide to include them having a single community wiki answer is a bad idea-- how will you deal with disagreement and disputes regarding what is useful?

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