As it is, I know Pastebin links might be unpreferred or even abhorred by some users but is it okay, in exceptional cases, to post a pastebin link in a Stack Overflow question?

As an example, I'm currently using Cygwin and getting errors I can't seem to troubleshoot on my own. It would be extremely helpful if I could post the entire setup.log file on Stack Overflow but it boosts the length of my post up to some 100,000 characters. The limit, unfortunately, seems to be some 30,000 characters. Is it okay, in this case, to post a Pastebin link containing my setup.log? I'd prefer to post it on Stack Overflow but I see no possible way to do so. I know there's quite a large portion of bloat information that's not particularly useful to the question but I'd rather not cut things out in the case that it might be useful to a user seeking to answer my question.

Thanks for any information.

  • 20
    If the critical portion of the question is that long, I'd say you need to narrow down the cause of the problem. Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 15:48
  • I think if the code is too long to post on stack overflow then its too long for anyone on stack overflow to look at. Cut it down to the critical bit that causes the problem Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 15:48
  • 1
    Did you read the question? The critical portion is a setup log. The question's pretty narrow but there's a bulk of information that I don't really know how to filter through myself and would rather not cut information from as it may be needed in order to troubleshoot the question. Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 15:49
  • I guess I should rephrase the question. What should I do in the future if I need to post long log files if they contain pertinent information? Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 15:50
  • 1
    @RichardTingle It's not code though. It's a log file that I don't know what to cut from. It contains lots of information pertaining to installed packages for a specific program. Most of the information may be needed as there could possibly be an install error or perhaps a package conflict somewhere that wasn't detected by the program itself. Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 15:52
  • 2
    Zach, there may be benefit in asking a separate question about how to find the relevant portion of the setup log. This may or may not be on-topic for SO depending on how you ask it, but you can at least try. Better yet, check the Cygwin docs/forum for details on how to narrow down such errors. Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


While it's not explicitly forbidden to use external links (whether links to answers or links to help formulate the question), the question and/or answer should stand on their own without any external links.

In this particular case, it is probably helpful to remember that StackOverflow is not intended to be a 'help' site for your exact specific problem. Rather, it is intended to be a site where we collect information for solving problems that will be helpful to others. As such, what would be best for a problem like this (where you have a problem that you aren't really able to usefully debug with your knowledge) is to begin by asking how to read the log to determine the issue. That problem does not require posting the entire log.

Once you have solved that problem, then you might have a second question, how to solve the problem you determined from reading the log.

  • 2
    Or, what @GeorgeCummins just posted in the comments :)
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 15:54
  • Great minds think alike (and fools seldom differ) ;) Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 15:57
  • 1
    I'm never entirely sure when it's appropriate to post an answer vs. a comment on Meta - don't want to seem like I'm rep-whoring or something but am used to the 'answer' being an answer rather than in the comments, which is not exactly how Meta works...
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 15:58
  • 3
    SO is a help site, it's just not a "do my work for me" site.
    – user102937
    Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 16:11
  • Right, that's why I added "for your exact specific problem". "Localized"? ;)
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 16:12

You must log in to answer this question.

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