What are some good examples that can be used to explain the difference between:

  1. positive, informative, and useful links that improve the quality of an answer; and
  2. links which are unconstructive or unwelcome in the Stack Overflow community?

Concrete but widely-applicable examples are welcome. Remember, the idea is to provide general guidance, not keel-haul people who've made linking mistakes.

1 Answer 1


What Links (Should Be) For

Links (other than duplicate/related links) are primarily for:

  1. definitions
  2. references
  3. supporting documentation

Links should not stand in lieu of other content in an answer.

Good Example

Here, the link might point to some canonical source (perhaps the GNU Bash Manual) that provides an official definition of "shell glob." The page still provides a local answer to the question.

You could use a [shell glob][1] for this.

    ls *

Bad Example

Here, the "answer" contains no real content. It doesn't stand alone, isn't really searchable, and provides no intrinsic value. To be of any utility whatsoever, the user would have to follow the link rather than just reading the current page.

Read [Shell Globs for Fun and Profit][1].

See Also

How can I link to an external resource in a community-friendly way?

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