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There are quite a number of non-constructive questions, closed but not deleted. I guess it is deemed useful enough to be kept around, but closed to prevent torrent of bad answers.

My question is: How should we deal with the link-only answers in non-constructive questions?

Bad question invites bad answers. But if the question is useful enough to be kept around, then shouldn't the answers also be kept?

I am asking this, since I saw a few link only answer being flagged in the 10k queue, which belongs to not constructive questions. I vote to close the question (if it is not closed already), but I am hesitant on flagging the answer.

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I don't think it has much to do with the usefulness, but that we have a lot more close votes than delete votes. Really bad questions attract delete votes. "Plain bad" might not. – Bo Persson Feb 26 '13 at 12:31
up vote 5 down vote accepted

As a moderator, I'd rather see one flag on a question that has a lot of link only answers than see 20 flags on answers for a question that begets bad answers.

Flag the question, let us know what's going on through one or more of the following flags:

  • question has a lot of link only answers
  • not constructive question (but should be kept around due to historical significance)
  • not constructive question - should be closed

That way, we can look at the question as a whole and decide what needs to happen. In the moderator queue, unless we take steps to look at the whole question, we only see the particular post flagged, which sucks in cases where there are a lot of similar answers on a question (similar in the 'link only' aspect).

Keep in mind, we get lots of new posts every day. It's not typically the new posts that have the issue you're talking about (although it could be). If you've got time, I'd rather you help us tackle the new posts coming in than try to clean up old questions that aren't actively harming the community.

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