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I just noticed a particular user that has a large amount of throwaway answers. They seem to almost always take the form:

This may be of help [or another generic phrase]:

[link/pasted code]

And thats it. At first I thought it was a straightup bot. But some answers vary enough that he's at least partly human. Is it possible this guy has some kind of script running that could do this (I know nothing about such things) or is he just a serial google-copy-paster?

I can id the user if needed but don't want to make a stink if its no big deal.

EDIT: Okay, this is the user: http://stackoverflow.com/users/827603/karan-shah. On further inspection, he is most likely not a bot. There is just a very set pattern in his answers, such as the frequent signing of his name under the posts despite people editing it out. I agree with the responses to this question, nothing about it is harmful. Just piqued my curiosity; I wasn't sure if such a bot was possible or not.

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2  
Please post the user ID –  Pëkka Aug 8 '11 at 8:32
    
ironically the site asked me to confirm my humanity when posting the edit –  Paul Bellora Aug 8 '11 at 9:08
3  
Even the highest voted answer is bad. I would flag for moderators' attention to have the bad answers deleted (the ones that have only links but no explanation). We don't want awful answers here. –  user162697 Aug 8 '11 at 9:16
    
    
okay I flagged the 6 most recent answers with links only. Added a comment to the flags that it continues into the past and a link to this post. Also this can be closed as a duplicate since we decided he's not a cyborg :) –  Paul Bellora Aug 8 '11 at 15:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As you noticed, the user is not a bot.

About answers that contain just a link, such answers that don't report a summary of what reported in that link are not normally considered answers. Link rot happens, and who would read the answer would not any answer.

It is also considered fair to use, for example, a link such as WCF Services and SharePoint: Integrating SharePoint Web Parts and WCF Services Hosted in IIS, instead of http://blogs.msdn.com/b/steve_fox/archive/2009/07/08/wcf-services-and-sharepoint-integrating-sharepoint-web-parts-and-wcf-services-hosted-in-iis.aspx. With the first link, users can see the title of the linked page, and decide if following the link or not; it could be they have already seen that page, and it didn't contain what they were looking for. If they want to know the URL used in the link, they can hover the mouse other the link and most of the browsers would show the link's URL.

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I don't think such answers are particularly high quality, but sometimes they are better than nothing.

So even 'though I wouldn't want to actively encourage such answers, I see no major harm in letting that user progress (provided the links actually help with the question).

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