One of the comments on this question about sources of information about Jazz Theory suggests that the question is off topic because it is a shopping request. I looked at the FAQ and it indicates somewhat vaguely that:

requesting a list of resources

is off topic.

What specifically is meant by resources is this context and does this exclude asking questions about where to find information on topics that would be too broad to cover in a standard answer but too specialized to easily find resources.

Note: I am not necessarily defending the question above, since I think it is borderline and one could probably get a decent start with Google, but I could imagine requesting information about more specific aspects of jazz theory that could not be covered effectively in an answer.

3 Answers 3


Ideally,the resource is us. If they have many questions in a broad area they can ask them here one at a time. If it's a general thing where they want resources for learning X, they should ask "How can I learn X?". We're problem solvers rather that resource-finders, and may provide other solutions besides the asker's predetermined solution of studying Y resources. If those resources are the best way, an answer to the "How can I?" will provide them. Asking the wrong way around (about Y instead of X) is often a problem on SE and other Q&A sites, and it makes it hard to effectively solve the underlying issue or to understand where the user is coming from and provide answers within that context.


You should take a look at these two questions of mine (bad: shopping request / better: what to look for at this level of experience). These straddle the line pretty closely. But the biggest difference in the good question is that it provides enough background for the answers to un-ask the specific question (what I thought I needed), and provide better guidance (what I really needed, and was trying to avoid).


I'm glad you linked to this question because the poster mentions Math.SE's reference-request tag. It's interesting to me that they've found a way to handle this issue there.

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