A Stack Overflow moderator, Bill The Lizard, just erased almost all answers I've given. They are valid though!

They are in context with the questions made, and yes, they redirect people to use a library I have made. The answers redirect people for this library just like other answers that redirect people for a Microsoft or other library that would not work for this case and still were not deleted.

I've taken care to answer only in the context where I know my library would work and the other options would not, or would be more difficult to implement. I thought moderators were to act wisely and in rare occasions.

These are questions where my answers were deleted:

and there may be others …

And these are questions where I helped people to use the library – or questions where it was not me who answered about using the library:

Why were those answers deleted, and could they be undeleted?

  • 3
    Just before you wonder: Downvotes on Meta are different.
    – slhck
    Feb 17 '12 at 12:36
  • 4
    Rare my ass. The flag queue on Stack Overflow is in the triple digits almost all the time, and that's with twelve mods working almost constantly on it.
    – casperOne
    Feb 18 '12 at 1:16

Meh. The deletions were completely justified IMO.

All your answers had the form

Take a look at this tool http://oblita.com/Interception to check whether it works at your situation.

Even if it weren't your library, this would be a poor answer and in danger of deletion because:

  • Answers consisting of just a link are discouraged.

  • You are not explaining how, exactly, the product could help the OP.

  • You are not revealing your association with the project.

  • Even if you were revealing your association, accounts where half of all answers given are to promote a product, are viewed as spam accounts - even if the product advertised is an Open Source one.

A productive way to answer a question with a link to your own library could be something like so:

Check out my library, xyz library. It's written in C++ and was designed specifically for this. Using a frumble overload, it gargles the flobber.

In your case, you would use the gargle component, initialize it and flobber it when the job is done.

Here is some example code : .....

  • This is the only answer I think "may be wrong" because of "check whether it works at your situation"... The others are on purpose, they are saying it works or saying the tool is to work specifically for the question. Feb 17 '12 at 12:37
  • 13
    @Chico still - consider putting more energy in those answers (like your other two, which are really good as far as I can tell). Also always point out that you are affiliated with the library. It should work then. You can edit your deleted answers accordingly, flag for moderator attention and ask for undeletion.
    – Pekka
    Feb 17 '12 at 12:44
  • In my case, I only concur with point 4 mentioned by Pekkas. I've started using stackoverflow recently and mostly helped with questions related to this topic till now. If this is a valid criterion... well this is the answer I accept. Feb 17 '12 at 12:58
  • 2
    +1 because I hate seeing bronze badges in odd quantities. There ya go, nice and even now.
    – Tim Post
    Feb 17 '12 at 13:12
  • but I don't concur this DELETIONS are COMPLETELY justified. No way. Feb 17 '12 at 13:12
  • 2
    @Tim thanks, that's awfully thoughtful! Chico - well, I agree a warning would be the nice thing to happen but moderators have hundreds or thousands of issues to process every day. Do edit them and flag them for undeletion, I'm sure that'll help.
    – Pekka
    Feb 17 '12 at 13:14
  • 14
    We can't always give a warning when deleting things. In some cases, we do leave a short explanation if the link to the generic 'why was this deleted?' text the user sees might be insufficient to articulate our motivation. It's very difficult to differentiate benign from nefarious behavior when someone posts the same link in multiple link only answers on multiple questions. In fact, given the volume of posts similar to this that we delete on a weekly basis compared to the number of subsequent complaints, we're left assured that most behavior matching this pattern is typically nefarious.
    – Tim Post
    Feb 17 '12 at 13:23
  • 5
    Any library that suggests gargling the flobber should be deleted Feb 17 '12 at 14:40

Having looked at the linked questions and your answers, it seems they were indeed on-topic. I'm not an expert in the subject matter, however, so my impression could be wrong.

However, your answers had two serious problems,

  • no disclosure
  • link only

I surmise they were deleted as not-an-answers with a touch of spam. If you want to direct people to your library, you should firstly be explicit about your relationship with the library and secondly explain how that library would help in the given situation. If you do that, your answers will stand a reasonable chance of not being deleted.

  • And whay about the same kind of answer that just do the same, only difference is mentioning another library, from microsoft or even another one like "Other people have done it, for example maf-soft.de/mafmouse" Feb 17 '12 at 12:34
  • 3
    Well, this answer provides additional info, not just the link. I wouldn't call it great quality, but it's enough to save it from not-an-answer. Feb 17 '12 at 12:40
  • Why would I duplicate that info at my answer? My tool is just an abstraction/implementation of that info! Feb 17 '12 at 12:44
  • 14
    To show that you're not just spamming, for example. If I get a link to a Microsoft or GNU library, I know that they may be good or bad, but they're serious. If I get a link to a site I've never heard of from somebody I've never heard of either, I suspect spam. I may or may not look at it to find out. If the link poster explains how that library would (probably) help me with my particular problem, I see (s)he's likely serious and will be more inclined to look. Feb 17 '12 at 12:59

Even if the text to be found at the link target is a 110% perfect answer to the question, a link alone is never a good answer. The point of StackExchange is to gather good content here, so it can be seen in the context of the question and with a lifetime as long as the question. All of these objectives fail with link-only answers.

If you take the time to transform

This is the answer


My library offers an easy way to do this:

// Create Frobber
var frobber = new ShinyLibrary.Frobber();

// Frob with it

You can see an expanded example here

you will find that instead of deletions, you get upvotes and accepts.

  • 1
    I don't concur with this! There are other answers that have the same form and were no deleted! Down votes are ok, but imagine deletions for all kind of answers in this form? this is unfair. Feb 17 '12 at 13:02
  • 14
    @Chico in general, 'other people have got away with it' is not a good argument in favour of 'I should be allowed to get away with it'. In fact, I can't think of any sphere where it is a good argument for that.
    – AakashM
    Feb 17 '12 at 13:16
  • 4
    @Chico - it doesn't matter whether you concur - the stated aim of Stack Exchange is to have good questions and answers here so a plain link to somewhere else fails that criterion.
    – Rory Alsop
    Feb 17 '12 at 13:51
  • @AakashM Yes it is, if it weren't we would still be living in a slavery society. Feb 17 '12 at 13:58
  • @RoryAlsop When I say that a library was specially built for a purpose that solves the question and put a link for samples with the library. So, it not a good answer... ok then, if you say so. Feb 17 '12 at 14:04
  • 1
    @Chico - it's not a good reason - it just means those other answers were overlooked. Because police don't catch every person who runs a stoplight, does that mean that we can all ignore traffic lights?
    – JNK
    Feb 17 '12 at 15:20
  • @JNK No, it does not mean, but he said he could not imagine any situation where this apply, and there are plenty. Both in favor or not. Feb 17 '12 at 15:45
  • 2
    @Chico OK, I'll defer to your superior experience and expertise on how the site works. You've been around 4 months and made 4 non-spam posts and I'm pretty much a n00b.
    – JNK
    Feb 17 '12 at 15:48
  • @JNK I'm not talking about how the site works with you, I'm talking about AakashM argument validity. Your last answer is pure sarcasm. Feb 17 '12 at 15:55
  • 2
    I'm glad you picked up on that. I said "it means other answers were overlooked". you said "it does not mean". I'm telling you that link only answers are never OK. It sounds like you are trying to say that this is debatable, which it is not.
    – JNK
    Feb 17 '12 at 15:56
  • @JNK "Look at this sample: Interception's cadstop (link to plain github sample). It's able to do that with a simple C++ user mode program that make use of a small library explained here (link to sample page). It is able to intercept CTRL-ALT-DEL at my Windows 7 x64 machine." I think this is debatable. Feb 17 '12 at 16:01
  • 3
    It's OK to think that as long as you will eventually realize you are wrong. The issue with that A in particular was that you explicitly endorsed your product without disclosing your affiliation.
    – JNK
    Feb 17 '12 at 16:06
  • @JNK I've already accepted what's wrong or not and already voted the right answer. See Ya. Feb 17 '12 at 16:11

From the faq:

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are ... barely more than a link to an external site

Keep in mind that moderators have different opinions on various topics, and some of them perform different roles in the community - ie/ some moderators will spend a large amount of time keeping the site running well. As frustrating as this can be at times, remember that most of them are volunteers who spend a great deal of time ensuring quality and consistency.

  • I do not need to elaborate source code in place, they are just there at the link I've send! Plenty of samples.... I'm not redirection to a main site, I´m redirecting to a samples page.... Feb 17 '12 at 12:40
  • 3
    @Chico: Linking to code samples is not sufficient. Stack Overflow answers should stand on their own merit. For example, linking to a jsfiddle without posting the code is also discouraged. It happens, and I'm sure you can find plenty of examples which haven't been deleted. But if an answer is just a link then it's not an answer.
    – David
    Feb 17 '12 at 15:33
  • @David Take a look at all deleted links below and you will see whether they are all plain links or not. I don't think so. Feb 17 '12 at 15:47
  • 3
    @Chico: I did look, and I see very little content other than just links. Sometimes you go so far as to mention how the library can potentially help, and maybe provide a second link. I see no further information within those answers. Your first comment on this answer demonstrates the problem succinctly: "I do not need to elaborate source code in place, they are just there at the link I've send!" That presumption is false. Stack Overflow expects answers to contain useful information, not refer to useful information which may, at least for now, be stored elsewhere.
    – David
    Feb 17 '12 at 15:54

You need to make sure your answers completely answer the question. If your library is exactly what the OP needs, then tell them why and post some example code to show them. If I can't tell from the information posted in your answer that the library is what's needed, I'm not clicking the link. It just looks too much like spam.

Here's a list of your deleted answers so you can go through them and improve them. Follow all of the guidelines in Pekka's answer, then flag for a moderator to take another look at them.

  • 3
    Thanks, I'm gonna improve it tonight. Thanks all. Feb 17 '12 at 15:01
  • I just rope moderators are as much proactive for reconsideration analysis as they are for deletion analysis. Feb 17 '12 at 15:13
  • You bet, @Chico, you bet. Feb 17 '12 at 15:20
  • All answers have been "improved" so far... now waiting for moderation benevolence. Feb 18 '12 at 13:15
  • @Chico: Several of your answers are just "I've answered the question here..." with a link to other Stack Overflow posts. Would you say that those are duplicate questions? Feb 18 '12 at 13:19
  • @BilltheLizard not exactly, some may be but others happen to have the same solution but are different questions. Feb 18 '12 at 13:22
  • @Chico: I'll go through them and figure out which is which. Thanks for improving the ones I've undeleted so far. Feb 18 '12 at 13:24
  • @BilltheLizard Yep, thanks too. Feb 18 '12 at 13:25

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