We have 16 reference-request questions.
Reference requests are generally disliked on Stack Exchange, for many good reasons:
- They have the potential to grow forever, with everyone and their grandmother putting in their favorite resource.
- They tend to accumulate duplicate¹ answers and answers of dubious² relevance³.
- The votes are primarily an indication of who came first, secondarily an indication of popularity, and only very occasionally an indication of suitability.
- Do you really want to sort through this?
- Stack Exchange is a questions and answers platform. It isn't good at being a collection of links. Lists of books or articles about a general topic can go in tag wikis.
On the other hand, finding an article to explain an advanced subject can be difficult (especially if you're making a foray into a field you don't know much about). Reference requests do work reasonably well on CSTheory, but this is a highly unusual audience, with a stringent barrier.
Where do we draw the line? Is there such a thing as a good reference request? Do we want specific policies on answers?
¹ This is where I should link to all the occurrences of K&R, but I don't have the patience to collect them.
² Alice in Wonderland.
³ The Joy of Sex.