I have flagged some link-only answers recently and some of them are declined with the common reason:

declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it

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Flagged post:

  1. rdtsc accuracy across CPU cores
  2. Good 2D Collision Response References
  3. Is there a way for continous JSLint validation in Notepad++ or any other IDE?
  4. Is there a way for continous JSLint validation in Notepad++ or any other IDE?

I feel it should be moderated perfectly as I flagged other link-only answers. Aren't it link-only answers? Even comment on the 1st thread is voted thrice but moderator isn't agree with it and declined with the common reason.

  • Incidentally, I just flagged this answer (an accepted one) that contains only 4 hyperlinks. – devnull Feb 24 '14 at 5:35
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    Not sure if duplicate, but probably related. Can we get some consensus on what flag to use for link only answers? – hims056 Feb 24 '14 at 5:35
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    @hims056 can say but my question/problem is bit different in the sense it's moderated! It should be found helpful instead of declined. If it's moderated as declined then moderator should leave a proper reason instead of this common comment! – Paresh Mayani Feb 24 '14 at 5:40
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    @PareshMayani These are the standard template comments that you'd see from a mod. – devnull Feb 24 '14 at 5:42
  • Personally, I would comment on the answers to let the answerers expand theirs (e.g. by quoting), including some tips like link-only answer can be obsolete when the link is dead. I prefer not to flag it since it's still can be helpful for the others. – Meta Andrew T. Feb 24 '14 at 5:49
  • That doesn't really make much sense when the question asks for a tool (and the answer provides it), @Andrew. What are you gonna do, upload a zip? Pay attention to context, even when using canned comments. – Shog9 Feb 24 '14 at 5:54
  • @Shog9 Yeah, I get your point. It's just I rarely browse questions asking for tools with link-only answers. – Meta Andrew T. Feb 24 '14 at 6:03
  • We've been trying to discourage these questions for a while, @Andrew, because the answers are so often such crap. Note that we're trying to do this a bit better over on Software Recs - answers that don't go into detail get deleted, not because they contain links - they have to contain links - but because they lack the required details. – Shog9 Feb 24 '14 at 6:06
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    Oh, I saw a non-template comment from a mod: declined - No, it's also a crappy comment. – devnull Feb 24 '14 at 6:26

First, I must explain something:

Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer.

You should submit a comment if you want to:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).

Please don't ask that something be converted to a comment when it doesn't resemble the description above. In particular, don't ask that very short or incomplete answers be converted to comments: converting a bad answer into a bad comment just makes everything worse.

Now, on to your flagged posts:

  1. rdtsc accuracy across CPU cores

    This isn't link-only. It may not be a good answer, indeed it may be completely wrong - but that's a reason to down-vote, not to flag. Asking moderators to judge the worth of individual answers isn't something you should be doing - you have the tools to do that yourself.

  2. Good 2D Collision Response References

    The question asks for books or articles. The answer provides a link to a book. Again, if you don't think it's a good answer then down-vote it; if you think the question is inappropriate, then vote to close it.

  3. Is there a way for continous JSLint validation in Notepad++ or any other IDE?

    The question asks for a way to integrate JSLint into an IDE. The answer provides it.

  4. Is there a way for continous JSLint validation in Notepad++ or any other IDE?

    See comment for #3.

This is the problem with flagging things based on simple metrics without regard for context.

See also: Can we get some consensus on what flag to use for link only answers?

| improve this answer | |
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    To be clear, are we as mods supposed to decline all flags that claim "link-only answer?" Because I've been trying to get people to be a bit more specific with flags, i.e. say "link-only answer" instead of "not an answer." – user102937 Feb 24 '14 at 5:46
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    I would say treat them the same as Not An Answer flags, @Robert: if you can't in good conscience delete, then decline. – Shog9 Feb 24 '14 at 5:48
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    I delete them all the time. I didn't know that was controversial. There's not much point in trying to state any kind of policy about them if there's no enforcement attached to it. – user102937 Feb 24 '14 at 5:48
  • It's usually not controversial, but every so often someone someone hits an edge case, often by flagging answers to questions that are essentially asking for links. – Shog9 Feb 24 '14 at 5:50
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    All of those would have been subject to my hammer, except the first one (which does provide an answer in the text, thin as it is). – user102937 Feb 24 '14 at 5:51
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    If you close the questions too, that's fine @Robert. – Shog9 Feb 24 '14 at 5:51
  • Yeah, I do that too. That would have happened on the recommendation ones, had I paid close enough attention. :) Sometimes the questions themselves don't get flagged. – user102937 Feb 24 '14 at 5:52
  • If you're taking direct action in response to the flag, marking it as helpful is usually ok - but if you weren't going to close the questions, then deleting the answers doesn't make sense (and I'd argue it's more or less pointless if you do, but it does no harm). – Shog9 Feb 24 '14 at 5:56
  • Fair enough.... – user102937 Feb 24 '14 at 5:57
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    this answer cost me 5 total rep, for voting down it, as well as 4 posts referred: 1) "In fact, it seems that cores doesn´t share TSC, check this thread: <URL>" 2) "I really like this one, it just arrived a week ago and it's everything you could want short of doing relativistic effects: <URL>" 3) "If you like Eclipse, look here: <URL>" 4) "Take a look: <link>". Gee, fully quoting text of all four "answers", along with complaint about rep lost in downvoting this crap managed to fit in a single comment, and there are 63 chars left – gnat Feb 24 '14 at 8:30
  • Kinda crazy the minimum required length for answers is only 30 characters, eh @gnat? – Shog9 Feb 24 '14 at 8:54
  • 30 may suffice for self-contained answer. – gnat Feb 24 '14 at 9:06
  • I'm skeptical of the existence of answers that fit in 30 characters and can't be improved by a link. – Shog9 Feb 24 '14 at 9:16
  • it's simpler than that. I am talking of two options: either 1) the answer is fully self-contained and then it can be brief (30 is maybe a bit of the stretch, but for SO kind answers I see how it could make sense), or 2) answer is incomplete without supporting link - then it being short means crap with 99,9999% probability (you probably remember but I'll brag again anyway: this estimate is based on my review of 2 or 3 thousands link-only answers that were polluting Programmers less than year ago) – gnat Feb 24 '14 at 11:32
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    You'll probably remember how I pointed out that the query you used was flawed, too @gnat - you're essentially just targeting short answers. Which isn't a bad heuristic (it's heavily weighed by the automatic systems too), but you must realize you're in effect penalizing short answers that contain links over those that do not - which can lead to problems when someone less conscientious tries to follow your example (so you get what we had here today). – Shog9 Feb 24 '14 at 16:55

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