I'm getting very confused about flagging link-only answers as it seems that the policy has changed over time and doesn't seem to be consistent (at least to me).

When I come across an answer that would be no use if the link was dead, I flag it.

Generally, these flags are accepted.

However, today I flagged this answer and my flag was declined with the following message:

flag declined

Did I do something wrong or is this just a symptom of different moderators having slightly different policies? I really just want to know if I should continue flagging or not? Should I have flagged and left a comment? Should I have just moved on? Or something else?

For what it's worth, I thought the fact that the answer had been accepted somehow made it less permissible to be link-only.

  • 1
    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/183603/… , including at least four or five of the answers there. Oct 25, 2013 at 13:05
  • @BillyMailman thanks, yes I read that and was still no wiser ... maybe it's no big deal and I shouldn't have asked, but interested anyway. Oct 25, 2013 at 13:06
  • 1
    I see two things wrong with your flag. First, the link only answer was accepted and 2 people upvoted it, even though it is link only. Second, if you feel that this is a bad answer downvote, comment telling the person to expand on the link in the even it ever dies. The flag should be used for mod intervention only.
    – Taryn
    Oct 25, 2013 at 13:06
  • Ran into the same problem where I posted a link as an answer and was downvoted because of it being a link only. But one can not just go copy other website information to SO as an answer as this is another persons research or work. Would it be acceptable to give credit to the person who's work it is??
    – StBlade
    Oct 25, 2013 at 13:24
  • @bluefeet ok thanks for the advice and also for taking action yourself. It's much easier for me to learn by example then ;-) Much appreciated. Oct 25, 2013 at 13:32

2 Answers 2


When I come across an answer that would be no use if the link was dead, I flag it.

If the link isn't dead now, then the answer is still useful. You can either comment to ask the author of the post to include the relevant information from the linked article, or edit to add it yourself. There's no need for a moderator to take action on this post yet.

  • Ok thanks - so is it fair to say that I should only flag link-only answers where the link is already dead, or did I misunderstand you? Oct 25, 2013 at 13:29
  • 3
    @RogerRowland Yes, it's fine to flag them if the link is already dead and you can't find the page that it originally pointed to. It's also fine if another answer already has the same information, making the link-only answer irrelevant. Oct 25, 2013 at 13:34

You should just have commented the answer asking the person to add informations that will make the answer be good. Flagging it wasn't necessary as it is a good answer but needs to be self-sufficient.

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