More specifically: Occasionally I would like to read a proof of some major theorems, but, as I don't want to bother people by asking them to write it here - I believe it is far better if I could ask for them to recommend me some books, or some other sort of data-containing-device, in-which the proof is already well written.

Is this appropriate?


1 Answer 1


Book references are reasonable questions, but many of them are way too unfocused thus too broad, and those that are specific enough can still be primarily opinion-based, turning into popularity contests. A fairly large number of these questions get closed.

If you want to ask for recommendations, be as specific as possible. Don't just ask "What is a good textbook in multivariable calculus", and try to list some concrete requirements, to minimize the opinon-based bias.

On the other hand, my opinions seem to clash with many: I had a look at some of the top voted questions in and personally I find most of the highest voted ones terrible.

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    $\begingroup$ Re: I had a look at some of the top voted questions in book-recommendation and personally I find most of the highest voted ones terrible. I might be wrong, but I would see this more as a sign that standards of this site evolve. There were even questions on meta along the lines: "Why do we have this tag, when all such questions are closed as opinion-based?" See:here and here. I recall that a few years ago, much fewer soft questions and book recommendations were closed than nowadays. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 10:21
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak I think I understand what you are saying but it is a fact that most answers to questions "What is the best book for studying such-and-such subject?", now or then, are simply "I know this book and it is terrific" with neither any reason why the book is terrific nor any comparison with other ones. $\endgroup$
    – Did
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ Re: I had a look at some of the top voted (...) I would imagine this is precisely because these questions are rather broad and unfocussed. Sure, this makes them "bad" from one point of view, but this is precisely the reason why so many people can relate to them - and upvote. A similar thing happens when you look at the most upvoted questions (without restricting to a tag). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ I think that the change on the standards of this site can be illustrated by the number of upvotes that this question has: math.stackexchange.com/questions/54506/… $\endgroup$
    – Aloizio Macedo Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @AloizioMacedo Uninformative case (this is a clear outlier in terms of number of votes, due to the fact that it was advertised outside of mse). $\endgroup$
    – Did
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 9:37

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