I was reviewing first posts on Stack Overflow when this answer came up. I ended up doing "No action needed" as it was only a link, nothing to upvote or flag (so I thought).

It turned out to be a review audit and said I failed. Now on Ask Ubuntu we normally add a comment suggesting the answerer include the main points of the link, and let it go, seeing that it (usually) is helpful albeit not an "answer".

So my question is:

Does Stack Overflow do things differently when it comes to link only answers (seeing this was deleted)?

It would also be nice to know what I did wrong for that review. (Did it want me to add a comment? It appears Bill already added one...)


2 Answers 2


As per this answer, answers should have supporting details along with the link. Link-only answers are not welcome on Stack Overflow, if these details are missing.

Just imagine a scenario where the external site is down in future. The link-only answer will become meaningless. So ideally we should encourage them to post the relevant details in the answer along with the link.

  • 1
    So what should I have flagged it as? Not an answer?
    – ɥʇǝS
    Feb 22, 2013 at 23:57
  • That is what people normally do here. I would rather prefer to comment on that post first and see if that person adds more details. And if there are no changes at all for quite some time, then I would flag it as a link only answer. In this case doing a "No action" required is not the correct way. Definitely there needs some action.
    – iDev
    Feb 23, 2013 at 0:01
  • 1
    @Seth Also, if you are simply wanting to avoid getting caught by an audit, but you don't want to perform any actions on the post for whatever reason, you could also simply "skip" it. (perhaps you are out of flags, for example, and someone already commented on it) Feb 23, 2013 at 0:26
  • @Seth An alternative of flagging it as not-an-answer (which may get rejected later), could be to just down-vote it, leaving a comment suggesting improvement.
    – Jack
    Feb 23, 2013 at 5:13

Answers should provide sufficient detail to answer the question, with links to external sites used only as additional references.

Link-only answers to off-site locations mean that the answer becomes meaningless if the external site is unavailable for some reason (for instance, the site is down or the page is moved, as happens frequently even with links to MSDN topics). They are also not searchable here, as the content isn't here to be indexed.

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