I think we can all agree, this sucks:
If you've been around a little while, you've probably encountered hundreds of answers like this in various forums, some of them even marked as "The Answer" by well-meaning1 forum admins looking to close a thread. We could try to enumerate the commonly-observed problems with it...
- Link is probably broken
- If link isn't broken, it's spam
- If link isn't spam, it's to some broadly-related resource that the answerer found by pressing "I'm feeling lucky" when googling the question's title.
...but the real issue here is that we don't know! Even if the link was originally pointing directly to the most awesomeest answer ever for exactly the question being asked, there's nothing in the answer itself to even hint at what direction we're being pointed in. Strip the markup, and this is what you're left with:
i think you should take The tutorial HERE! This will help you a lot
Is there even one tiny speck of information there? No. Even the title of the page being linked to would have provided something to go on, but that was entirely too much work.
So let me be clear: this sort of response is not an answer. If you see this, flag it. Moderators, if you see it flagged, delete it. There's really only one valid exception to this rule, and that's when the question is:
Suggest me some tutorials where i can learn quick.
Don't get me wrong, it's still a bad answer - but when the question is kinda asking for bad answers this is to be expected. Close or flag the question and move on - this is much more efficient than hanging around to babysit it by deleting every crap answer that inevitably shows up.
If you're still reading, you're probably getting really bored by now. "Gee, Shog - answers that contain ZERO information are terrible, horrible, very-bad things? What shocking revelations will you share next?"
Yeah. It's really simple... Except, folks keep getting it wrong and then arguing about it. See, the problem is that once you step away from black-and-white "answers / doesn't answer" decision-making, things get... Interesting.
And all those other answers with links in them
See, this is an answer:
And so is this:
Yes, they're both very short, and yes, they contain links. But strip the markup, and you still get at least a little bit of useful information. Does that mean these answers should forever hang around the site? No, not necessarily - if it turns out they're just not that useful, they should probably still be removed - or at very least, down-voted so that they rank below other answers.
Just remember: if the text of the post contains an honest attempt at answering the question, then it is an answer - so don't flag it otherwise, and if you do, don't complain if your flag gets declined.
Answers & Apples
If you're still confused, forget about answers. Think about apples instead:
Answers are just like that, but less tasty in pies.
1 By which I mean to say, "criminally lazy"
SUMfunction" but this isn't: "Use this function"