# Community Post for online courses similar to Book Recommendations

The overarching book recommendations answer has been quite helpful for a lot of people me included. Is there / should we make a similar one for online lectures? Or maybe add it to this answer. I mean there are gems in youtube like Frederic Schuller's Lectures on GR and QM whose contents are not picked up from any book easily and whose formatting is quite unique. Feel like a storehouse for such gems would be greatly helpful for many of us.

The more or less consistent practice about questions so far is that they in principle don't distinguish$$^1$$ between books, websites, online lectures, whether they are free or not, etc. This is to avoid a proliferation of closely related questions. [There is already a division into different levels of a topic: beginners, advanced, etc. There are currently (November 2021) more than 2000 questions.]

For this reason, Phys.SE usually doesn't allow questions that only asks for e.g. online lectures but not books. This alone means that OP's proposal is a non-starter.

Other objections are that online content is prone to link-rot, and that it would require curating from dedicated users. It is symptomatic that the main resource recommendation question was closed in 2013. See also Good list, bad list and various other meta discussions on .

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$$^1$$In contrast, the answerers are welcome to focus on whatever type of resources they prefer (as long as they comply with the Phys.SE policy.)

• Could you kindly look at the comment thread in StephenG 's answer. Kindly look the thought of "community wiki" and I will close the question Nov 7, 2021 at 16:10
• @Lost_Soul The discussion under Stephen's answer, insofar as it regards collecting resource-recommendations answers into a few well-curated community-wiki posts, is already implemented, and it describes the status quo of site policy. To the extent that you see posts on-site that don't match that, it's because maintenance is hard and the community has yet to fix those posts. Nov 16, 2021 at 14:16

There is a problem with this idea: links becoming dead over time.

Books are books and they can become difficult to find over time, but the reference to the book does not become out of date. The reference is always valid (e.g. an ISBN).

However, online lectures can disappear dues to the many forms of link rot. Some sources are better than other for this, but none of them are really permanent references. YouTube videos can be removed or blocked and written texts can be removed or the host site reorganized or the material removed when people e.g. change job.

As we generally prohibit (at or least strongly discourage) answers that rely on links, this seems to imply that a category of question which will result in answers completely relying on links is not really within the current way we do things.

I'm not sure we can find a way to fit this type of question within the rules. It's not like we don't already post such links, but if a post has answers with nothing but these types of links, that seems problematic in the long run.

I'm not exactly opposed to the idea, but we need to understand that we're opening the site to the possibility of dead answers moving forward. Is that really useful to members?

• Is there a way to prevent link rot for valuable resources? For example, by uploading and providing links to archive.org? That may not stop someone from having something removed, but it could stop link rot in the case of a page changing or someone moving universities. Nov 6, 2021 at 16:03
• @DanielUnderwood There's a problem with e.g. copyright and permissions just copying material like that. Just because it's currently visible on teh internet does not mean the author/owner has granted permission to use it outside of a specific context, much less copy it. Nov 6, 2021 at 16:06
• I get the issue with link rot. But if we consolidated a "post" rather than a "collection of answers" we wouldn't be opening the site to dead answers but just one post. I am relatively new, So just saying. Nov 6, 2021 at 17:06
• @Lost_Soul Nice to see members getting involved in Meta posts who haven't been before. I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by "consolidating a post". Could you explain ? Nov 6, 2021 at 17:33
• I meant that book recommendation is a collection of answers. If we followed a similar format then we run into the issue of dead answers. But if we had only one answer or "if there is a blog equivalent in SE". Thus all links in one single answer with multiple sections without linking to other answers. And any links to courses should be appended to this one post. Nov 6, 2021 at 17:52
• @Lost_Soul I'm not sure how we could achieve this - i.e. force the system to accept only one answer and allow only that answer to be edited, presumably like a community wiki. I doubt that SE's site engine would support that, but maybe there's a workaround. However that won't stop links dying, it just means there's a larger chance some may still work. Sometimes I look at Wikipedia pages and the links outside of Wikipedia are often broken, so the potential here for what are basically frustrating user experiences is something to consider. Nov 6, 2021 at 19:49
• @StephenG I get that you don't want the users to have a frustrating experience in SE. But I also think that we shouldn't hesitate to make a resource catalogue just because the links may die in the future. Older links will rot newer resources will come. Now I guess we would have to figure out how we can create such a catalogue without disturbing the sanctity of SE. Maybe as you said restricting all such resources to a single "wiki" (and putting up a disclaimer) or if any other experienced users know of any other alternatives. or create the catalogue in an alternate website itself. Nov 7, 2021 at 3:38
• I think that is best for the community to decide. My whole intention was to bring light and more people to things like Schuller's Lectures (which are quite unique contentwise, I may be wrong). And to see more of such resources that people may have stumbled upon which are unique and not just a textbook reading. Haven't seen anything that does the above functionalities. Nov 7, 2021 at 3:40
• @Lost_Soul W.r.t. "Older links will rot newer resources will come", I find the approach unfortunately naive. Link rot is not a hypothetical maybe, it is an assured certainty. The type of question you propose requires intensive maintenance and upkeep, and the existing resource-recommendations threads are already struggling to get a sufficient level of upkeep from a sufficiently-big dedicated community of users commited to that maintenance. (For a look at how much work is done on that, and by whom, see this SEDE query). (cont.) Nov 16, 2021 at 14:11
• Unless you're prepared to step in and commit to the long-term maintenance of these resources, what you're proposing here basically boils down to "I wish somebody would do the substantial work to make what I wish for a reality". It's a nice sentiment, but the reality is that this type of thread requires a significant long-term investment of work, which is currently not feasible within this community. Nov 16, 2021 at 14:13