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I'm getting sick and tired of all those people who think providing a link to the W3Fools site is the righteous thing to do.

But that site gives out the wrong signals. It insinuates that W3Schools pretends to be affiliated with the W3C, which isn't true. And it insinuates that all the pages on W3Schools are riddled with errors, which also isn't true. And they link to websites they say are better, but which also contain incomplete or obsolete material.

But worst of all, it insinuates that W3Schools is the only site on the web that has erroneous information!

Reading between the lines, it's clear that W3Fools is just jealous of W3Schools' success on the web and that they wish they were as good in SEO.

In short, I think that linking to W3Fools does more harm than good and that this site would be better off without it.

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The W3Fools moniker makes this sound like a rant. Besides the fact that it's an actual rant, of course. – George Stocker May 30 '13 at 19:45
The choice of name strongly suggests that it was the intention to create the impression of affiliation. – Daniel Fischer May 30 '13 at 19:45
"Reading between the lines, it's clear that W3Fools is just jealous of W3Schools' success on the web and that they wish they were as good in SEO." It's funny because it's actually quite plausible. – BoltClock's a Unicorn May 30 '13 at 19:45
W3Schools does pretend to be affiliated with the W3C. (Or should I say it insinuates it does?) It's in the name. And the pages are mostly riddled with errors from what I've seen. And at least the other error-riddled sites are wikis. But it's also my personal opinion that linking to W3Schools does more harm than good, so... – Ryan O'Hara May 30 '13 at 19:46
@GeorgeStocker He wants to ban w3fools.com not w3schools.com so this isnt really a duplicate. – Josh Mein May 30 '13 at 19:46
@Daniel Fischer, minitech: Well to be fair, it's hard to ascertain whether the naming was intentional considering "W3" is a generic abbreviation for "WWW" in the first place. – BoltClock's a Unicorn May 30 '13 at 19:48
I accidentally upvoted this because I read the title and thought you were asking for w3schools to be banned. – Asad Saeeduddin May 30 '13 at 19:53
You could have, you know, done this constructively meta.stackexchange.com/questions/120621/w3fools-alternatives – Bart May 30 '13 at 20:02
I'm with Bart here. Instead of linking to a site that tells them why another site is wrong, why not link to a good site with correct information instead? – hammar May 30 '13 at 20:10
@Bart but then this one would have been a duplicate! – Mr Lister May 30 '13 at 20:18
Absolutely not! In fact, I'd go so far as to say that we need to do the opposite: filter out questions or answers that contain links to w3schools. – Jack Maney May 30 '13 at 20:42
Please post a link to a useful resource, then flag the w3fools link as obsolete. – Bill the Lizard May 30 '13 at 21:02
I absolutely agree that W3Fools needs to stop showing up on this site. While W3Fools may or may not make valid points, there is absolutely no information on the site to back up its opinion of w3schools, and is purely subjective and opinion. Simply dismissing answers because they contain links to w3schools is silly. While w3schools may not always have the correct info, they do have many correct pages. This practice of posting w3fools links needs to be stopped. – Charlie74 Oct 23 '13 at 21:06
@MrLister you are 100% right, +1. I feel very sorry for you being -1ed 13 times, very few of these programmers are physically fit & it reflects in their behaviour. Someone rightly said on SO & SU you have to go thru 3 aHoles to get someone actually willing to help. – aim100k Jun 3 at 11:34
@aim100k I've got 38 downvotes actually. – Mr Lister Jun 3 at 11:48

4 Answers 4

up vote 32 down vote accepted

While I believe W3Schools is lacking as an introductory resource, I do agree that linking to W3Fools is just a useless hurdle to what you actually want to achieve.

Instead of sending the user to W3Fools, it would be more productive to just link to a better resource (MDN, SitePoint etc) directly, and let the quality of the content speak for itself. I'm still not sure another link-ban would help here, because users inevitably find ways to get around this (URL shortening, w3fools(dot)com etc.) but that doesn't stop you from simply linking to a better resource in the comments yourself.

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W3Schools is a garbage web site, designed to rank high in search engines in order to show people ads. The site demonstrates that the quality of the actual content is entirely secondary to that goal.

Its PHP MySQL tutorial contains a SQL injection hole to this day, at least since 2006. It is likely responsible for many, if not most, of the tens of thousands of users who show up on Stack Overflow with vulnerable, broken code.

If anything should be banned, it's links to W3Schools itself. That would eliminate the need for W3Fools links, as well.

I agree a comment meme pointing to a web site is not the best way to educate users, nor the most objective. However, seeing as listing all the shortcomings of W3Schools in individual comments is not feasible, it's better than nothing.

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Did you just linked to w3schools O_o? – Antony May 30 '13 at 20:04
@George my point is, warning people off w3schools helps them become better developers, and hence is "on mission" for Stack Overflow. If there's a better way to achieve that goal, great - but I don't see one : re-hashing w3fools's case individually in every comment you make is not feasible – Pëkka May 30 '13 at 20:07
You'll see that I removed my comment when you included your final paragraph, which did finally contain something related to the site in question. – George Cummins May 30 '13 at 20:09
I agree with you, but it is true nevertheless that w3Fools is a bit given to histrionics. I used w3schools for a while before I discovered MDN and my computer never burst into flames. – Asad Saeeduddin May 30 '13 at 20:09
But why single out W3Schools? Why is it when a link to W3Schools gets posted, the poster gets bashed, but this doesn't happen for posted links to other sites that contain incorrect info? – Mr Lister May 30 '13 at 20:16
@minitech my point is that W3Fools does not make a convincing argument. Just a bit of opinionated screaming. – Mr Lister May 30 '13 at 20:17
@MrLister w3schools is unique in that it is the only half baked resource that competes with (and surpasses) more thorough resources in popularity. It has the sheen of being authoritative, which diverts beginners from referring to materials with fewer errors and better guidleines. – Asad Saeeduddin May 30 '13 at 20:19
@MrLister: "but this doesn't happen for posted links to other sites that contain incorrect info?" It should! – Ryan O'Hara May 30 '13 at 20:45
Links to w3fools are worse than nothing; the information the OP needs is not there. I reported the problem with SQL Injection to w3schools; there's a link at the bottom of the page for this purpose. If enough people do that, perhaps they'll fix it. – Robert Harvey May 30 '13 at 21:17
@minitech & MrLister: "this doesn't happen for posted links to other sites that contain incorrect info?" Actually it happens quite often. As an example (the only other one that I can think of right now, but since I only camp in [c++] my horizon is quite limited), cplusplus.com is a terrible resource and pretty much every single post mentioning it gets a comment about that, usually pointing to cppreference.com instead. But just that is already several times a day. – syam May 30 '13 at 21:25
Just looked at the SQL injection link. I feel kind of bad for them; they tried to placate people by adding an i to their mysql_querys, without really understanding why everyone was shouting at them about it in the first place. Sent them an email about prepared statements. – Asad Saeeduddin May 30 '13 at 22:31
Would you believe W3Schools itself is actually vulnerable to SQL injection: smarthacker5.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/… – tomsullivan1989 Aug 20 '13 at 16:00

Having been a long-time user of w3schools (which I like especially for the "Try it yourself" editor - very useful). I came across the w3fools site. So here are a few gripes about that:

1) They don't provide any contact information to correct errors on their own site (ok I can tweet them - but do I really need to open a twitter account just for that?).

2) They accuse w3schools of having outdated info but they don't update their own site! Two examples:
a) Here is a discussion on GitHub where w3fools people say themselves that w3schools has corrected most of its errors
b) Click on the w3fools link to the Opera web standards curriculum and then go to the top of the page. What do you find? This: 12th April 2012: This article is obsolete

Seems to me the very least they could do is to keep their own accusatory page up to date.

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W3Fools is nothing more than the rant against W3Schools. This site is a little bunch of claims without any examples to proove them. For example they claim W3Schools to contain many outdated or wrong examples, but they provide no sample links to such 'bad' examples nor the correct solutions.

Because of that the comments linking to them are mostly noise. Just flag comments consisting of pure noise, banning that link makes not much sense, because noiser will find another viral toy to noise with ;)

When it comes to links to W3Schools, well, link-only answers are discouraged so the complete solution should be placed in answer and the link should be only back-reference. As long as the information is correct, it shouldn't matter from which resource does it come.

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