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I recently came across a question which was self-answered by the author after consulting with an individual outside of StackExchange. This seems alright, and the author included enough information in his answer to be useful to future readers.

However, what I questioned was the use of an eLance link to give credit to the individual who helped the author. Previous meta discussions seemed to establish that the inclusion of eLance links for paid support to answer questions were inappropriate, however, none touched on using it to credit outside help.

I took the previous discussions as precedence and I flagged the answer. However, after reading a moderator's flag note I edited out the eLance link; switching instead to a LinkedIn profile1 so as to not lose the intent of attribution.

When receiving outside help--perhaps in parallel to help on SE--is it appropriate to provide links to eLance profiles of the individuals who "solved" your problem?

1. I'm not sure if this was the best approach, but it seemed akin to a link to a blog.

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Woot! I'm working on a proto with adorners; now I don't have to go looking for that question. – Won't Apr 17 '12 at 17:17

I'd say it's harmless. I see no difference between an answer with a link to a ref and an answer with a link to a forum/etc. As long as the answer is self-sufficient, attribution with a link is fine.. If the answer depends upon the link (for the full explanation), then you're doing it wrong--answers should be self-sufficient. Of course, this rule does not hold if the link/ref is huge--in this case, give a condensed version and leave a ref.

Edit:Oh, I see that it was a link to a profile, not to an other-forum-answer as I expected. Nope, there's no real need to do that, though, again, it's harmless.

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My only issue with the link to the profile was that it was a link to a pay-for-services profile (eLance). Twitter/email/etc, I probably would have ignored. – user7116 Apr 17 '12 at 14:33
@six IMO its still harmless, but I think the community would prefer it to be unlinked. – Manishearth Apr 17 '12 at 14:35
@six I don't think the nature of the profile should make a difference to us - the link was not posted to advertise. I would also not edit the link. What if it's not his LinkedIn profile in the first place? Also, we have loads of links pointing to paid services in one way or other, e.g. product recommendations. – Pëkka Jun 16 '12 at 16:19

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