This is a minor point about the implementation of our new book policy. One of the points it describes is the addition of a banner reading

Before answering, please see our policy on resource recommendation questions. Please try to give substantial answers that detail the style, content, and prerequisites of the book or paper (or other resource). Explain what the resource is like as much as you can; that way the reader can decide which one is most suited for them rather than relying on the suggestions of others. Answers which just suggest a book or paper will be deleted.

into the top of each on-topic question.

However, the first few lines of each question are quite important and they make into quite a few places to help users decide whether to click through or not. Two examples are the mouseover text in the front page,

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and more importantly the description of questions in the tag

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Having the banner at the top of all such questions is a nice way to get attention to the message that books questions are not like regular questions in that, under the current policy, not all answers are allowed out-of-line answers may be deleted.

However, I feel that having the banner intrude into a place reserved for content - as opposed to administrative text - is a no-no. Imagine the Newest 'books' Questions page with every description changed to the start of the banner! The information content of the page drops dramatically and it gives completely the wrong impression.

Should we change the policy to put this at the bottom?

[Up/Down]vote this question if you [/Dis]agree, or voice any concerns in an answer.

  • $\begingroup$ I think Shog9's answer pretty conclusively resolves this, so could you accept that? (Unless you disagree) $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 4:26

2 Answers 2


Yeah, this looks terrible. Not only does it waste the preview, it gets in the way of the question, and can easily end up being longer than the question itself.

Top-edited banner

Fortunately, we have a system for attaching permanent banners to posts that doesn't get in the way of viewing the question. I've added one for book recommendations based on your template; if you see a question with the top-banner on it, flag it for moderator attention and ask that the post notice be added instead.

You can find an example of this notice here:

Post notice at the bottom

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ ooh, thanks! FWIW I was going to ask you/the team about this at some point, but I was planning to wait a little while to give the post notice a test run and make sure we were satisfied with the wording. Still, this is very nice to have. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 3:52
  • $\begingroup$ Just ping me if you come up with better wording. $\endgroup$
    – Shog9
    Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 4:06
  • $\begingroup$ Normal users can edit the post, only mods can add the banner. That just wastes the volunteering process. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 7:54
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @DIMension10 It takes work to find and flag the posts. If the volunteers can do that it eases the moderator load. The bulk of the curatorial work is in any case in ensuring the answers are up to standard and the question is well posed. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 11:47

On the flip side, I think having it in the preview makes perfect sense and just helps reinforce the point. The title should be sufficient to tell what kind of book the person is looking for (at least the subject area) and having the banner in the preview just makes it so the person who might answer it sees the banner before even reading the page. I think that's much more useful that seeing somebody's first sentence or two that just repeats what the title says anyway.

If the title and tags don't reveal the subject matter, then they should be fixed anyway. Keeping the banner at the top, and keeping it in the preview, means that people who answer it are hit twice with the requirements as opposed to one or potentially zero times if they don't read to the bottom of the question. And since the banner is detailing rules for how to answer, I think that's a good thing.


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