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Is it consensus to penalize a question author for accepting a link only answer?

I am referring to this question Is there a way to write a query that generates columns dynamically? where apparently the question author's only sin was to accept a link only answer.

The question is clearly articulated, useful and is similar to many other SQL [pivot] questions.


From the two answers (to this question) and votes, at least at the present moment May-2013, the consensus seems to be that we should vote on questions and answers on their own merit.

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closed as too localized by RichardTheKiwi, Toon Krijthe, Martijn Pieters, Rory, Hugo Dozois May 12 '13 at 0:33

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Seeing this question surprises me. You have been actively hunting for questions to VtC (and remove tags) because of a specific user. Why admit your antics on here? –  FreshPhilOfSO May 3 '13 at 23:27
    
@Phil Still no answer. –  Kermit May 6 '13 at 16:57
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Self-deleting this post would go a long way towards improving relations with certain people. –  Jack Douglas May 6 '13 at 17:23
    
(though you will have to ping Robert Harvey and ask him to delete the answers first…) –  Jack Douglas May 6 '13 at 17:55

2 Answers 2

Oh, my. That question and its controversial answer generated a discussion of a length and duration out of all proportion to the actual problem (if there is one).

The answer does, in fact answer the question, not only by giving the correct answer (it's a pivot table), but by directing the OP to a Stack Overflow post that describes what a pivot table is in detail.

Compare the punished answer with the accepted answer on the "duplicate" question. They're identical in almost every way, except that the link on the latter answer doesn't point to another Stack Overflow post (it points to an offsite link), and it got 22 upvotes (really?).

I'm dubious about the question being closed as a duplicate. It's not immediately clear that the OP is describing a pivot table, and just because the question can be answered the same way as another one doesn't necessarily make the question itself a duplicate.

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I am hesitant to comment on this post as I took part in the comments on the answer. The answer (in my opinion) was low quality, but so is the one that they linked to. My point to the OP and the answerer was if the other answer on SO did solve their problem, then it was a duplicate. –  bluefeet May 3 '13 at 22:57
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It has to be a duplicate question to be a duplicate. We sometimes make exceptions to that for trivial questions that duplicate canonical posts, however. Seems in this case the OP just needed to be pointed in the right direction. –  Robert Harvey May 3 '13 at 23:00
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Ok, I will concede that to you that this should not have been closed as a dup. Some of the controversy surrounding this question has to do with the answer, which in my opinion was low quality, regardless of whether the OP accepted it. –  bluefeet May 3 '13 at 23:07
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Even more baffling is the answer on the duplicate. Link-only, with 22 upvotes. –  Robert Harvey May 3 '13 at 23:08
    
I agree with you on that, it is a terrible link only answer. –  bluefeet May 3 '13 at 23:08
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Agree about too lengthy comments discussion, why not clean that up? –  Shadow Wizard May 3 '13 at 23:25
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Robert, it's not immediately clear because the answer is catastrophically horrible. If not closed as dupe I would have VtC as an un-salvageable question. The answer was terrible and should have been a comment. –  swasheck May 6 '13 at 16:51

No, the question should not be downvoted because of this. The votes on the question should reflect only the quality of the question, and that is completely unrelated to the fact that he accepted an answer that just linked to the right answer.

It could be argued that the question was downvoted because it was a duplicate. But duplicates not always deserve downvotes, only when a search would find the duplicate easily. The two questions are worded very differently, even if the answer is the same, so this particular duplicate is useful, because each question will be found with different search terms.

Therefore, I don't see any reason to downvote the question.

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