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I asked this question about how Unity3D coroutines work -- after fruitlessly Googling and researching on the web. It turns out the (pretty much perfect) answer was a link to a blog post that Kay linked to in a comment. Now that I know about this blog, I don't know why I didn't find it at the time, but I didn't. I asked him to add that link as an answer for the benefit of future SO users. He did and I accepted it.

Then, as I found out later when wanting to look up the link again, his answer disappeared, apparently, as one commenter supposes, because it wasn't considered an answer.

Today, another user has added the answer back (not realizing it may have been deleted). To me, this suggests having the link as an answer is indeed helpful to SO users -- the link was certainly helpful to me.

So -- is the link (as originally answered in Kay's comment) really not an acceptable answer?

share|improve this question
A link can be posted as comment. If one has more to say add an answer. – juergen d Feb 25 '13 at 14:31
Link only answers are not acceptable. Answers should at least contain the gist of the link (in a way that is helpful to the asker). This helps with link rot issues and with keeping people on the site (not forcing them elsewhere to evaluate the article). – Oded Feb 25 '13 at 14:31
I've seen so many edits on the edit queue: Fixed dead link, removed dead link, etc. I think the only things we can link to without copying the gist is other SO questions. Because if SO is down, it's not like you can answer the first question anyway. – Linuxios Feb 25 '13 at 14:51
@Linuxios Even a link to another SO post should be put in a comment, and possibly accompanied by a vote to close as duplicate. – Bill the Lizard Feb 25 '13 at 14:54
You might want to read Why are accepted answers immune from Flagging link-only answers as Not an Answer? Which was the opposite problem where a Mod didn't delete an answer I thought should have. Shog9's answer is fairly extensive and talks about what a Mod should do vs. what a User should do with some unfortunately necessary equivocations. – Some Helpful Commenter Feb 25 '13 at 15:41
@BilltheLizard: I know. I mean if your linking to another question to reenforce your answer, you don't need to quote the question, because link rot does not apply. – Linuxios Feb 25 '13 at 22:47

No, a link alone is not an acceptable answer, so it was moved to the comments. If the article answers your question, please summarize the part that helped you in an answer of your own and provide the link for reference. (Alternatively, if you have 10K reputation, you could edit the answer that originally provided the link, then ask for that to be undeleted.) Just reposting the link that already exists in the comments is not helpful.

share|improve this answer
Thanks. I'd like to edit the original answer and ask for undeletion (so Kay gets the credit). I don't see how to edit a deleted answer. Perhaps I don't have enough rep for that? – Ghopper21 Feb 25 '13 at 14:59
@Ghopper21 My bad, I thought anyone could suggest an edit, even on a deleted post. I'm not sure what the reputation requirement for that is. I undeleted it for you to edit. – Bill the Lizard Feb 25 '13 at 15:01
@BilltheLizard Probably 10k, to even be able to see the post in the first place. ;) – J. Steen Feb 25 '13 at 15:05
@BilltheLizard You need to have 10k rep to see deleted posts, once you have that much rep, you can edit the answer without needing to suggest the edit. – Servy Feb 25 '13 at 15:05
@J.Steen Aha! Yeah, that makes sense. :) – Bill the Lizard Feb 25 '13 at 15:06
I like to use the Wiki analogy for link-only answers. If SO (Or any SE site) were to be downloaded and stored as an off-line encyclopedia of questions / answers then a link answer is totally useless. You could (if you were crazy) download all of Wikipedia and use it off-line, at least the concept of doing so you could. SO should be able to exist as a repository for Questions and Answers in its own right. Links as citations against answers are fine, but providing the answer actually answers the question first, and provides a citation second. – JonW Feb 25 '13 at 16:17

It's wrong to delete an accepted answer like that that answers the question. The problem is there are people who put "not having a link-only answer" in priority over "getting the question answered", and can be quite short-sighted about it. Personally, when I ask a question, I just want the answer that answers it, and I'm not going to be that picky.

Having said that, what they should have done is either asked the answerer to provide more details, or edited it in themselves. Deleting it was just pure laziness.

Link-only answers shouldn't be flagged (just for that reason), they should either not be bothered with, edited for content or ignored.

share|improve this answer
One could argue that it was laziness on the part of the user that flagged the answer. A moderators primary ability is to do the things that users cannot do. We have to prioritize the actions we can take as moderators over user actions that we're able to take as users; that usually means a deletion so we can move on to the next flag (which would require an action only a moderator can perform). – casperOne Feb 25 '13 at 14:45
@casperOne, I agree that the first bad move was by the flagger. Link-only answers shouldn't be flagged, they should either not be bothered with, edited for content or ignored. There is never a reason to flag them (just for that). – Lance Roberts Feb 25 '13 at 14:47

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