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I'm thinking about posting some pieces of code and small tutos on a blog. I'm currently writing these for myself and thought it could be nice to share it with the community.

Then it got me thinking: would it be appreciated if I would ask a question on stackoverflow, and immediately answer it with a link to my brand new fancy blog post ?

I feel like either :

  • It's basically self promoting a personal blog, which is not the point here

or

  • It's nice to share some knowledge with the community so why not ?

What do you think ?

edit I wasn't necessarily speaking about answering with just a link. Could be some succint guidelines, and some link to a more elaborate answer, or whatever form it could take to make it interesting enough so it's worth doing it :)

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Richard Tingle, hims056, Azik, Mat Jan 24 at 11:46

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Nope. Links aren't answers. –  Bart Jan 24 at 9:45
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Why all the downvotes ? I'm quite ok to say that the answer is a no, but is it still a meta-bad-idea to ask ? –  aherve Jan 24 at 9:55
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@aherve - I think it's a meta-bad-idea to ask. The answer is very trivial... NO. why would we want link only answers in SO? –  Yosi Jan 24 at 9:57
    
If you are going to post links you should post the answer also, blogs die and come and go but answers with links are more valuable.. just links is a bad idea. –  krystan honour Jan 24 at 9:58
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@aherve in meta, a downvote simply means that people disagree with you. Upvotes are agreement, downvotes are disagreement. It's not like SO where a downvote would suggest a bad question. –  Dan Hanly Jan 24 at 9:59
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@danielhanly.com Certainly true on feature requests, but I'm unsure why people are downvoting a well written, clear support question –  Richard Tingle Jan 24 at 10:22
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Well, +1 for asking here instead of just doing it. But as others said, link only answer is not a good idea. You can post the link as a comment to the question you want to answer, asking the OP to take a look. –  Shadow Wizard Jan 24 at 10:23
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@Richard I agree, sometimes the border is thin and it appears that people are too quick on the trigger. They disagree with the idea behind the question, even though it was not directly written e.g. in here it means people just disagree with the idea of posting link only answers. Guess we can't really change that though. –  Shadow Wizard Jan 24 at 10:25

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Hang with me for a moment, let's go through a short checklist:

  • When is it okay to post link-only-answers? Never.
  • When is it okay to promote my own blog/website? Never.
  • When is it okay to self-answer a question? Always.
  • When is it okay to answer questions with content from my blog? Always.
  • So...when is it okay to answer a question with content from my blog and link to the blog? Always.

Now that seems confusing at first, but it's dead simple: If your answer can stand on it's own and the link is supplementary, then it's okay.

Shall we go through some examples of answers?

I found the answer, please read on my blog! http://myawesomeblog.blog/blogawesome/entry.php?entry=44732676

This is never acceptable.

The answer is do to x different by simply using Majoran transforms instead, read more on my blog: http://anotherblog.com

It's not really helpful in any way...

See, you need to use the Splines and reticulate them, you can do this by ...50 words later...and then you're done!

And don't forget to read my blog, it's on there too: http://uninteresting.com/really/i/read/it

That's a good answer...except that tacked on advertising part at the end.

This is a problem I also encountered in the last time. You have to ... 100 words later ... and then you're done and can finally also use the third heating rod of your toaster via Python!

An in-depth review of why this is that way is unfortunately out of the scope of this answer, but in case you want to know [I wrote an in depth article about it on my blog a few days ago].

And if that last link now also leads directly to the appropriate entry, it's awesome.

The last example is a good answer because:

  • the answer can stand on it's own
  • it gives all the information needed to answer the question
  • it provides a link to further material to read about it
  • you state that it is your own blog

The link to your blog is neither fundamental nor is it only tacked on, but provides value to the answer and users.

One of the caveats you need to be aware of is that if a substantial number of your posts contains links to your own website or blog, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many users. Out of experience I'd say that the first threshold is ~25%, after that users get suspicious and start to look for reasons they can use to pull you apart. More than ~50% will for sure guarantee that we'll discuss your case here on Meta. But these thresholds can be higher if your answers and the blog posts are awesome.

Community Wiki can also be a way to communicate "hey, I just have this piece of information here and I try to help, and I know that I promote my own stuff here, sorry". Though, this is more of a gray area then self-promotion itself.

So if you now want to ask questions and answer them with your blog, you need to follow all these rules and guidelines and you need a good question, too.

Additionally, you have to keep in mind that everything in here is CC-BY-SA. So if you repost content from your blog you effectively relicensed that content under CC-BY-SA. That's different to if I post the content from your blog, as I effectively need to quote your blog and link back to it...and I'm not allowed to relicense your stuff anyway. Of course this could now be discussed without end, but I think that's what it boils down to.

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1  
this looks like a canonical quality answer; nothing I've seen on these matters in over 2 years here comes close. Accurate, comprehensive and very well laid out –  gnat Jan 24 at 11:43
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Nice answer. I've been working on a mod message template along these lines, because our standard "excessive self-promotion" one is geared towards your typical product spam, not people posting only links to their website. That can lead to some confusion, as people may think they're helping by linking to their site. –  Brad Larson Jan 24 at 19:43

This seems like a very bad idea.

There is nothing wrong with self-promotion (or sharing knowledge) as long as it's done while keeping the basic principles of SE sites (and SO in particular).

If all your intention is to link a post in SO to a blog, this will encourage posts with link-only answers, and posts with no actual content.

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What should the focus of Stack Exchange be?

Your focus should always be answering questions and sharing your knowledge, if that’s your primary goal then you're probably on the right track. On the other hand if your aims are to drive viewers elsewhere then you're probably not.

How detailed should answers be?

A user should be able to get everything they need from the answer itself, other websites can go down, dead links are a reality so an answer should always be self contained.

That said, adding supplementary links to support the answer is OK, so occasionally including a link to your blog article where the article is relevant is acceptable, but it should be the exception not the rule and the answer should still be good even without the link .

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