My answer to a question was recently deleted by Andrew Barber (20K+ member) and I am wondering why. It fundamentally answers the question (although it wasn't the accepted answer) and was also up-voted twice.

Here is the question.

Here is the answer in question.

enter image description here

  • 2
    Link-only answers are discouraged. You could submit that as a comment instead.
    – HansUp
    Nov 23, 2013 at 15:45
  • You only provided a link in your answer and also to your own software. That is a poor answer and self-promotion.
    – juergen d
    Nov 23, 2013 at 15:45
  • 2
    @juergend How are you supposed to answer a question like "Does anyone know of an existing implementation of btree or b+tree"? Without linking directly to an implementation.
    – Justin
    Nov 23, 2013 at 15:48
  • 4
    One doesn't. That's asking for an outside resource. If anything, the question should be closed.
    – Bart
    Nov 23, 2013 at 15:54
  • @Bart OK, I agree.
    – Justin
    Nov 23, 2013 at 15:57
  • Why the downvotes? Is this not a valid question?
    – Justin
    Nov 23, 2013 at 16:16
  • 1
    Voting is different on Meta.
    – Oded
    Nov 23, 2013 at 16:20
  • @Oded Oh OK, this is my first time on meta. Thanks.
    – Justin
    Nov 23, 2013 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


There are two things wrong with your answer:

I've had to implement my own and open sourced the code [link to code].

First, it looks a tad bit self-promoty. Not terribly, but upon first glance it certainly appears so.

Second, it's what we call a link-only answer: an answer that only gives the questioner a link. The main problem with this is that links tend to break eventually - I'm not saying yours would, but it might. It's always better to have a quick summary with working code in the answer. If you really want to get a link to your code out there, use a comment.

  • 1
    I agree on both points; I just don't see how anyone can truly answer that question without either providing a link-only answer or copy-pasting an entire class which I assume would be frowned upon. As @Bart mentioned in the comments, seems like a delete question would be in ordered. Also, there are two other link-only answers which weren't deleted.
    – Justin
    Nov 23, 2013 at 16:01
  • 1
    This is kind of an edge case - for one, the question should have been closed ages ago. What I would suggest is to add in a summary of how the class accomplishes the goal, a snippet of important code, etc.
    – Undo
    Nov 23, 2013 at 16:09
  • 1
    @Justin Yeah, the question should have been (and now is) closed. The other answers weren't deleted because they weren't flagged. Mods often delete flagged posts from the moderator queue without visiting the question page if we can tell immediately that they should be deleted. Nov 23, 2013 at 16:18
  • @BilltheLizard Thanks Bill, I don't really know the workflow of the moderators.
    – Justin
    Nov 23, 2013 at 16:19

As Undo notes, answers that do nothing but link to external sites are discouraged: links break, making the answers useless, and it becomes extra-difficult to critique, update or enhance answers that exist outside of our system and license constructs.

That said, deleting just your answer was a bit unfair; there were two other answers that ended up being pretty much the same thing - one of which actually does link to a page that's on its way out.

Realistically, the question should've just been closed. Since it now has been, I've undeleted your answer... If you can find a way to restructure the question to discourage the posting of links (and, of course, update your own answer to consist of more than just a link), it could be re-opened; otherwise, it'll eventually be removed.

  • I felt it was unfair also and wanted to come here in case I wasn't understanding something. This particular person essentially did the same thing to a couple of my answers (which were link-only to be fair) and I was wondering if it was indeed a misunderstanding on my part.
    – Justin
    Nov 23, 2013 at 17:03

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