What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 134 Stack Exchange communities.

I've seen a number of questions and answers come up for review recently, that include links to the asker's/answerer's code or a picture.

Example: Very Slow MySQL Inserts

It seems a lot of people are editing these posts by following the links, grabbing the code/picture, and putting it into the post. (Let's see how long it takes for that to happen to the example!)

What's the policy on this practice? Good/bad?


To clarify: the links are to code that the asker him/her-self created, and chose not to include in the body of the post.

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'm personally not a fan of links, especially if they link to a page on their website, the reason being that we can't trust that the page will still exist in the future (and so we can't be sure of what the problem is when that time comes).

I've come across several old questions on Stack Overflow that linked to an external source as an example of their problem, and the links led to pages that no longer existed.

Sites like jsfiddle and pastebin are okay, I think, because unless they erase all their data, those fiddles and bins are there to stay.

share|improve this answer
    
Are you "not a fan" of the links or "not a fan" of people copying content from links into the bodies of questions? –  sarnold Dec 5 '11 at 1:24
    
@sarnold: Links. See my edit. –  Purag Dec 5 '11 at 1:43

the links are to code that the asker him/her-self created, and chose not to include in the body of the post.

The argument against this practice is that site should be self-contained. Paste bins and picture dumps go down. SO shouldn't be effected by this. Use the features built into the software (built-in image upload and code formatting/hilighting).

Content on SO can be searched on SO. Links to code and images containing text aren't directly searchable. Direct searchability will improve SO's search feature, and might improve google results. The easier it is to find existing questions and answers, the more valuable they become.

Someone might protest: "But the images might be too big or the code too long!"

Then they aren't asking their question correctly.

Good questions that fit the SE format should be succinct and shouldn't require 2MLOC to explain (and usually not even 2HLOC). Code automatically scrolls. The feature was designed to support the style of code that should be placed in the post.

Good questions also shouldn't require large screenshots. They might be helped by a few smaller screenshots that are cropped and shrunk appropriately. Screenshots are often abused when a textual copy/paste is more appropriate.

It seems a lot of people are editing these posts by following the links, grabbing the code/picture, and putting it into the post

People are allowed to edit things on SO. That is explained in the FAQ.

IMO these are worthwhile edits, because they increase the reliability, quality, and prolonged usefulness of SO.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .