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The site aims to keep high standards and attract experienced and knowledgeable practitioners of chemistry. The point is to share knowledge, not "doing someone else's work", but that is just what happens when you provide an answer, you are doing the hard work by helping someone figure something out which would otherwise take them much longer to do.

Addressing requests from fellow researchers for information on a relevant chemical topic is similar. Finding a reference is often one of the most critical steps to making progress with a research question. But helping someone that way provides a shortcut and risks being labeled as "doing their work". Also, it does not clarify a topic but provides a place to look for the answer, and may be opinion-based (although clearly any helpful reference is helpful, so this argument seems nonsensensical to me).

This post asking for a book on a narrowly-defined chemistry topic was closed as opinion-based. While the opinion-based nature of book and reference-requests in general has been mentioned before (books, reference-requests in general), this doesn't strike me as entirely justifying the closure.

[note I added the reference-request tag to that post after it had been closed]

Clearly there is a line there, fine or not, and opinions are bound to vary. It'd be nice to resample opinions and if possible specify more accurately where the line does and should lie.

More elaboration or comment on the usefulness of these tags and on guidelines to determine when such questions should be closed would be useful. Ideally backed by examples of posts which requested such information deserving to remain open or deserving to be closed.

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    $\begingroup$ I think reference requests are quite like homework - finding a reference is another task to be done. Finding a clear threshold for pruning them is likewise virtually impossible. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Apr 18, 2023 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron That begs the question, when is a question on this site not "just another task to be done"? $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Apr 19, 2023 at 7:27
  • $\begingroup$ Unlike other questions on this site, reference requests do not ask for an explanation, they ask for .... a reference. There might not be an optimal one (what is best might be an opinion), but an experienced practitioner (if not necessarily an expert in the precise field) would know what is a reasonable recommendation. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Apr 19, 2023 at 7:33
  • $\begingroup$ A request can come across as lazy, particularly in our day of easy internet searches. But the size of the internet also makes such requests reasonable (you can become disoriented by all the information). The point of the site is not to judge whether requests are lazy, it is to provide answers. I would like to see more detailed explanations of people's motivations. If you encounter such a question on this site, what considerations make you vote to close or downvote? $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Apr 19, 2023 at 7:33
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    $\begingroup$ There is another similarity of these questions and homework, often their usefulness is limited - potential group of people who could benefit from it may be small. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Apr 19, 2023 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ Still, I feel like voting on the question you mention could been too harsh. While it wasn't exemplary, I wouldn't mind some editing and later reopening it. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Apr 19, 2023 at 17:46

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I voted to close.

In my opinion - and having Googled the keywords "chromophores and auxochromes book" - there was enough evidence to suggest that the OP didn't search well enough (I uncovered this "book" immediately).

The Wikipedia entry for "chromophore" leads one, via reference #2, directly to the IUPAC Gold Book entry and references therein.

Removing "book" from the Google query and then clicking on the button for Books yields - well, see for yourself.

At the end of the day, I say not enough research for low-hanging fruit.

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  • $\begingroup$ [edited] Thanks. The site's supposed to be a place to find answers. There is the risk of encouraging people to treat it as a search engine of sorts (not only a q&a depository). This sets up a potential moral hazard, akin to @Mithoron 's comment of the poster not doing "just another task to be done". Literature searches are also potentially unbounded. But such requests are not that frequent, and there are other sites (eg researchgate.com) that provide plenty of such answers anyway. So why not encourage these more here? I will try to compile these thoughts somewhere. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Apr 19, 2023 at 7:41

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