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The basic scenario is that, in the course of answering a question, I might do a few searches and not really find a suitable link for additional information. If I've got some spare time and I'm familiar with the topic, it may make sense for me to write up an appropriate document, revisit my answer, and add the link.

Similarly, I might have some old code lying around that can be tidied up fairly quickly and contributed as an example - but it may be too big to just insert into an answer. A few snippets to illustrate the principle makes sense, but providing the full example has value too.

The problem is, where do I put these things?

I have a couple of options, of course - free ISP web space, free web hosts, a commercial host aimed at small sites, free file hosting etc - but they don't really seem quite appropriate to me.

The issue is that, like the questions and answers, I think these contributions should be editable by the community.

Is there a good or approved way to handle this kind of thing? Is it a real problem at all?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

As fretje notes, if you have a blog then that would work just fine for medium-sized bits of code and/or articles. This is easily the most flexible option, since you're free to include whatever you want - downloads, videos, cat pictures...

There are quite a few decent sites out there already (CodeProject, etc) dedicated to hosting both full-blown articles (with associated discussions, supporting downloads, etc.) or short but non-trivial routines / snippets. Posting your stuff there and linking to them on SO is a great way to benefit other users without locking your code into a single answer.

See also: What is the etiquette for posting an article?

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Cat pictures? What is it with cat pictures? I mean, seriously, everwheres me looks, cat pichers. Me no want cat pichers. Want cheezburger! – Steve314 Feb 25 '10 at 20:53
Sorry. Must appologise. Don't know what came over me. – Steve314 Feb 25 '10 at 20:53

Personally I've already seen content that was linked to from SO disappear, leaving answers incomplete as the person that added the link didn't add much else.

I prefer that a complete answer be given that solves the problem, cut down as much as reasonable. If more is needed, then one could put it in the answer as well - you've got up to 64k or so of space, so I don't see why not (other than the javascript performance of the code highlighter).

Alternately, use pastebin or a similar service (there are several, some of which compile and run the code for some languages!) which allows you to post code examples of indeterminate length, and edit them collaboratively.

But please, please, please make sure that the key points to the solution are in the answer itself.

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If you want it editable by this community, the best place for it is right here, as an answer to whatever question provoked you to develop it -- or even as an answer to your own (well developed!) question. I don't think every question needs a super long and involved answer, but some of them deserve one. (As an example...)

If you want to retain full control of your content, or you feel it's inappropriate for SOFU, by all means put it elsewhere.

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