The original version of this question How can I impress upon a manager the value of a respectful management style?


Are there any resources you can recommend that document the value of a respectful, cooperative management style that we could share with the manager to help them move toward a more effective and respectful management style?

It was closed as off-topic and the comments reflected that it was considered off-topic because it asked for a resource. (The post has since been edited and re-opened.)

In the comments on this meta thread: If asking for a resource is off-topic, that should be stated in the help center @jmac states that he doesn't think it is in fact the case that asking for a resource is necessarily off-topic.

So... is it in fact off-topic? Or should it be?

  • "Requests for resources are pretty universally off-topic on our sites." (MSE)
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 7:32

2 Answers 2


In general, many questions we get asking for resources tend to degrade into what we call "polls". The problem generally manifests in the form of an overly broad question, or one where there's a hidden problem that the asker doesn't disclose.

While the answers may help the asker, there's a feeling that something is missing, and what's missing is the opportunity for our community of experts to weigh in with solutions based on their numerous experiences. Questions simply asking for resources treat our community as a simple proxy to information already posted elsewhere, instead of as the experts they are.

Moreover, these list-oriented questions tend to attract a lot of low quality posts, as well as answers that don't take into account the full problem. In short, they lessen the chance that you as an asker get the answers to the real, underlying problem.

Instead, tell us about the real, actual problem you're facing. Include plenty of details. Tell us what you've tried or are thinking of trying and why that didn't work. Including our community in the details of the problem helps bring us closer to it and increases the likelihood that you'll get the best possible answers to your question.

Of course, it may still be okay to ask for some extraneous resources. In fact, our back it up rule strongly encourages it. Including qualified research on top of an already well thought answer helps add authority to that answer and helps demonstrate that it is in fact a correct answer. Just be sure to also give us an opportunity to expand that research by analyzing your problem, which most likely will be different than some cookie-cutter cut-and-paste solution on the Internet. Hope this helps clarify! For further reading, check out the blog post, Real Questions Have Answers.

  • 2
    great reminder about back it up rule, I think it essentially makes explicit resource requests in questions superfluous - the very rules of the site require that answers were authoritatively backed up
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 9:26

While I personally discourage posting of 'list' questions like 'give me the 10 best business books' or 'what blogs should I read as an online marketer?', I see absolutely no harm in people asking for the existence of a specific resource if that specific resource is not obvious or easy to find.

For instance, I would have absolutely no issue with a question that asks "Where can I find resources indicating the minimum notice period as a salaried employee in Japan?" Now some of you may say just google it, but if you take the time to actually google it, you will find out:

  1. Most resources don't actually give an answer to the question
  2. Those that do answer it from the employer perspective

For those of you dying to know the answer, it's two weeks

Our goal is to provide answers to questions that people are searching for so that they don't have to dig through search results or forum threads, but rather just to get a good answer when they click through to SE. I see no harm in having questions that make information/resources that are tough to find through a google search more accessible so long as it isn't a link only answer.

In my opinion, the original revision of your question is asking for a resource that isn't easily found, and isn't problematic for our site.

  • if that specific resource is not obvious or easy to find - would this qualify as a guessing game, or there is a difference? "...these questions aren’t educational in any way, because there’s no way to learn about the process of discovery. A particular community member, by virtue of their experience in the field, just happens to be able to take the limited information you remembered and fill in enough of the blanks to guess the correct answer... guessing game questions do not meet our goal of making the Internet better."
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 20:18

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