Link-only answers are discouraged and often get marked for deletion with a comment of:

While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.

I've seen some answers in the low-quality review queue, that are short and contain a link, but not in the style of "here's a link to an answer." They're more like stand-alone answers that make sense out of context, and would still be useful without the link. They include recommendations of libraries and tools which can be used to solve the problem given in the question. Such as:

As an example of a stand-alone answer. Here's an answer containing the same sort of text, but no actual link:

Should answers like the above be deleted? If so, does the comment text make sense for them, as it appears to be talking about a different kind of answer? The answers above can be improved more by giving reasons why the linked tools are a good choice instead of including the linked content.

  • 4
    It is nearly a logical certainty that any question for which one of these is a good answer is, in fact, a shopping question that we should close.
    – Rosinante
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 23:42
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/143642/…
    – Shog9
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 0:12
  • Oftentimes these types of answers, at best, move from the delete bucket to the downvote bucket because they only just barely meet the minimum threshold for what is technically "an answer". They'll still never be a good answer.
    – Servy
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 1:08

1 Answer 1


Ideally, they'd be edited to explain how the library or tool can be used to solve the problem. They might still be useful without such an edit (occasionally, "you should drop that and try jQuery" is the right answer), but this is something you'll have to decide on a case-by-case basis.

When there's no interest in doing this, or when someone else has posted a complete solution as a separate answer, I don't really see any great loss in deleting most of these.

Do note that at least one of your examples was attached to a closed question. Might as well not waste your time there, unless you think it should be re-opened.

  • "when someone else has posted a complete solution" - as reasoned here, sometimes the very presence of link-only answers (especially accepted ones) can set a roadblock for getting better ones "it is especially important to delete it (converting to a comment if the link isn't broken yet)..."
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 11:50

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .