Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

What are some good examples that can be used to explain the difference between:

  1. positive, informative, and useful links that improve the quality of an answer; and
  2. links which are unconstructive or unwelcome in the Stack Overflow community?

Concrete but widely-applicable examples are welcome. Remember, the idea is to provide general guidance, not keel-haul people who've made linking mistakes.

share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

What Links (Should Be) For

Links (other than duplicate/related links) are primarily for:

  1. definitions
  2. references
  3. supporting documentation

Links should not stand in lieu of other content in an answer.

Good Example

Here, the link might point to some canonical source (perhaps the GNU Bash Manual) that provides an official definition of "shell glob." The page still provides a local answer to the question.

You could use a [shell glob][1] for this.

    ls *

Bad Example

Here, the "answer" contains no real content. It doesn't stand alone, isn't really searchable, and provides no intrinsic value. To be of any utility whatsoever, the user would have to follow the link rather than just reading the current page.

Read [Shell Globs for Fun and Profit][1].

See Also

How can I link to an external resource in a community-friendly way?

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

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