I have seen people asking for book recommendations. But as it is opinion based it is removed. Then what is the use of the tag ?.

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    $\begingroup$ The discussion which lead to the creation of this tag can be found here. $\endgroup$ Jan 14 '15 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ You wrote: But as it is opinion based it is removed. Do you mean that the question itself is deleted or that this tag is removed from the question? $\endgroup$ Jan 14 '15 at 8:08
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    $\begingroup$ No I came across 1-2 questions where people were asking about which book to read for a specific topic using this tag. Unknowingly i flagged them opinion based and they got removed $\endgroup$
    – sashas
    Jan 14 '15 at 8:09
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    $\begingroup$ It is difficult to say more about this without seeing some examples of questions where this happened. I want just say that in my opinion questions about book recommendation are on-topic on this site. So such question should not be removed solely for the reason that it is a book-recommendation-question. $\endgroup$ Jan 14 '15 at 9:09

I'm not certain if the tag should be removed (and such questions declared off-topic), but I do feel that we need to work on quality control for these questions and answers. Compare our current laissez-faire attitude about "reference requests" to physics.SE's policy.

So I don't think that reference (book) requests are by definition "primarily opinion based", though I do agree that many that have been posted so far are phrased in such a way. It might be more productive to start to cull the bad ones (or at least lock them "for historical reasons") and develop a policy about both questions and answers of this sort.

(Incidentally, this is something that's been on my mind since just before the winter break, but for which I do not have time to devote right now. If someone agrees with me and wants to be more proactive in starting to formulate a policy about reference requests, that would be great!)

  • $\begingroup$ Very interesting link showing how they deal with such questions at Physics. SE. I will point out that there were several discussions about book recommendations on meta. These two discussions are at least marginally related to what you ask for, since they discuss what should be an an answer to such question: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/2136/… and meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/6957/book-recommendations $\endgroup$ Jan 14 '15 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @Martin. I had looked at those, and they do seem at least tangentially related. I do fear I have to disagree with the final paragraph of Qiaochu Yuan's answer: with a set policy, bad recommendations can be removed if they contravene it. $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Jan 14 '15 at 9:33

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