I mentioned in my last post about going from amateur to professional developer about getting involed in a community. My community of choice is Stack Overflow and some of the other Stack Exchange sites. I like the concept but love the execution. It’s easy to come up with great ideas; to actually implement them in a way that works is just awesome.

With a site of Stack Overflow’s size and nature you have to moderate and sometimes that means removing content that doesn’t fit on the site. I totally agree with this. I think keeping the site pruned of worthless information is a good thing that helps make Stack Overflow better and different than other Q&A or forum sites. However, it can be taken too far or the guideline applied too zealously and great content that should be used for the collective knowledge of the Internet is gone.

This question on meta.stackoverflow suggests some popular or old posts that should be deleted. One of them includes a question that asks what is the most influential programming book you’ve ever read. It is a completely subjective question and doesn’t fit with Stack Overflow’s format. The argument that the question-asker should have simply searched Amazon is a legitimate argument. However, it would be a tragedy if this question was deleted from Stack Overflow.

This list is not just a Google or Amazon search. It is a collective list of books and work that the greatest programming community on the face of the planet has deemed to be the best. Where else are you going to find books where some of the greatest work in that field is plainly listed, in one place, for anybody to peruse and look through? It might not fit but there’s enough knowledge for me to overlook; this question should definitely stay.

Not only that but there are quite a few books in this list that have drastically changed the quality of my code. Without this list I would have never known these books even existed. I’d be willing to bet there’s more people just like me who found great, influential books from this list. To remove it is just silly and serves no purpose but to take away from the Internet.

I think it would be an absolute shame to lose this organized, commented, voted-on list of great material. So, I took the best of that great material and created an archive of the 100 Most Influential Programming Books.