I know this is a Q&A site.. but is it possible to create a central place to dump resources. Or perhaps a type of question that is never "accepted" but just contains a poll of best resource for x.

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I really like the idea. I tried keeping track of resources in one place a while ago, I think there is a lot of value, and this would be a good place for it. Maybe just make a community wiki? –  Ciaocibai Dec 15 '11 at 2:21
    
Why just one place? How about having many community wikis were people can place resources which are organized by tags? Plenty of other Stack Exchange Web sites do this. –  Village Jan 6 '12 at 23:42
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7 Answers

If you do ask for a list of resources, be very careful how you phrase your question. Open-ended, chatty questions are explicitly discouraged on the Stack Exchange network. In his "Real Questions Have Answers" post, Jeff gives this advice:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

He suggests you avoid questions where:

  • every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite __?”
  • there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”

I'm not saying that you should never ask for a list of suggestions, but when you do, you should ask for something as specific as possible. A source of example sentences, or board games to practice speaking, for example. Avoid vague questions like, "What are some good web sites for learning Chinese?"

I'm also not saying that a list of general resources wouldn't be useful, only that it isn't appropriate on this site. You could start a discussion in the chat room, create a scratchpad wiki, create a Google Doc that everyone can edit, or lots of other collaborative editing web sites.

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Such posts are not "chatty". They are highly valuable. –  Village Jan 5 '12 at 3:15
    
They may or may not be chatty, @Village, but they are definitely open-ended. To make them fit the site, they should be as specific as possible so that we can distinguish a good answer from a bad one. I agree that an open-ended list of resources could be valuable or useful, but it isn't appropriate on this site, as discussed in the blog post I linked to. –  Don Kirkby Jan 5 '12 at 6:26
    
I was a bit confused because I thought that this request for generally useful web sites was posted by the same user who posted this meta question. I've rephrased my answer to say, "Yes, if it's very specific," instead of, "No, your question wasn't specific enough." –  Don Kirkby Jan 5 '12 at 6:26
    
So, why is that question close? It had 8 up votes and 5 favorites and a lot of useful answers. –  Village Jan 6 '12 at 23:52
    
I agree, @Village, it had useful information in it, but it was closed for the reasons outlined in this answer. I voted to close it, along with another user, and a moderator. If you really want all those resources to have a home on this site, I suggest you write a clear and specific question asking for a type of resource. Then answer your own question with the resource you found. Maybe other users will add more answers you didn't know about. For example, to promote nciku.com, you could ask for a dictionary site with custom vocabulary lists. Repeat with questions for the other resources. –  Don Kirkby Jan 8 '12 at 5:57
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Generally these sorts of things are relegated to the FAQ page, or in community wiki questions on the main site. I'm not basing the following on precedent, but I'd prefer that the FAQ have a section that answers the "What are some good resources to learn Chinese?" question with a little blurb about how this kind of question is generally a bit off topic, and a link to a community wiki question with resources as answers.

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Personally, I don't think Stackexchange sites are a good place for this kind of pages. They tend be quickly outdated, they are indiscriminate, and of course, they are not questions (which is what SE sites are about).

For this kind of resource dump, they are plenty of websites already available and better suited for it - Wikipedia, web directory, blogs, etc.

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How will they become outdated? Does the Chinese language change so quickly? –  Village Jan 6 '12 at 23:43
    
If they are websites, they can become dead links. If they are software they might become unsupported and won't work on recent OS. There are also the community-built websites like nciku - if their members lose interest, the content will suffer too, etc. –  this.lau_ Jan 7 '12 at 3:29
    
But my main point is that SE is not the place for this kind of resource dump. If we add this, then what's next? Since this is a website about Chinese language, some could argue it should have a dictionary. And flashcards. And an online book shop, etc. I won't come here for this kind of resources, just like I won't go to Wikipedia to ask questions about Chinese language. We don't need nor want a website that does everything. –  this.lau_ Jan 7 '12 at 3:33
    
Stack Exchange is much more than just a Web forum. Why is it being moderated just like one? Other Stack Exchange Web sites have two kinds of threads: "question and answer" and "community wikis". Take a look at some of these for an example: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/big-list Allowing such topics does not open it up for "dictionaries", "on-line book shops", instead, it gives useful links for such resources. Most importantly, it provides a great resource for visitors which contributes greatly to the community. Most of such threads have very high view counts. –  Village Jan 7 '12 at 5:40
    
Hmm... ok actually I found the questions in your link relatively useful. They are specific questions such as "good advanced books", "TeX resources for philosophers", etc. I think this is useful. However, what we want to create here is a place to dump everything related to learning Chinese language. Look at the question that a user created: "Useful sites/services/resources/tools...". This is way too broad and thus a lot less useful than specific questions like the ones you mentioned. –  this.lau_ Jan 7 '12 at 6:18
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I, for one, think this isn't such a bad idea. A single centralized question that aggregates all resources in it can be very helpful. I could go under a modified version of this question:

What is the best book / book series for learning Mandarin Chinese?

You could change it to "What are the best resources for learning Chinese?" and make it community-wiki. Then have the answer(s) link to books, podcasts, sites, etc.

This would be similar to this grandfathered Stack Overflow question: List of freely available programming books.

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This sort of thing is usually done as a community wiki question on the other Stack Exchange sites - seems like a sensible way to do it on here too –  Cocowalla Dec 19 '11 at 11:10
    
I just noticed that I can't find the community wiki option when asking a question - anyone know if this is something that is enabled on a site-by-site basis? –  Cocowalla Dec 19 '11 at 11:31
    
@Cocowalla It was disabled network-wide on questions a year ago. Now only moderators can convert questions to CW. –  Orion Dec 28 '11 at 23:56
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This has been created. Check the question Resources for learning Mandarin Chinese

Please report any dead links, provide new resources if you can and help us keeping it clean and updated. If this doesn't work, it's going to be closed, so it's in your best interest!

I'm going to tag this question . :)

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I've gone ahead and created a post for dumping resources.

Hopefully I'm doing it right - I really want something like this, and I think it will be super useful for the community, and hopefully drive some more traffic to the site as well.

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Should there be one place to add resources? No.

Should there be many community wikis? Yes.

Why does this Web site close every attempt to create a community wiki? Are the people that use Chinese Language and Usage simply unfamiliar with this concept on Stack Exchange?

Consider:

  • Such community topics are common on the other Stack Exchanges.
  • Such topics attract more users.
  • Such community topics provide extremely valuable resources.
  • Such resources are not found on other wiki Web sites.

This Web site needs various community topics in a wide variety of categories:

  • Comprehensive textbook series, taking users to all levels (1 topic).
  • Textbook series designed for specific levels or specific areas, such as grammar, pronunciation (separate topics).
  • Software-based study tools (1 topic, or separated by specialty).
  • Computer games designed especially for language study (1 topic).
  • Reference books (1 topic).
  • Reference Web sites (1 topic).
  • Readers (separate topics for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students).
  • Web sites with study material, such as readings, audio, and video (1 topic).
  • Mainstream films and TV shows useful for study (e.g. at a low level).
  • Mainstream computer games useful for study (e.g. at a low level).
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See my answer. :) –  Alenanno Mar 23 '12 at 21:03
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