I've just had flags on this and this post declined, and I'm unsure why.

Maybe these links help you :

1- Augmented Reality on Android: Prepping the Camera and Compass

2- An AR Kit

3- Image Processing With Android Camera

4- Augmented Reality: Getting Started on Android

5- Augmented Reality Framework

... and ...

This article might be helpful


Whilst both are accepted, I've read Highly upvoted and accepted link only answer and Why are accepted answers immune from Flagging link-only answers as Not an Answer?, and neither come to the conclusion that accepted link-only anwers are immune from deletion.

closed as off-topic by Martijn Pieters, James, Lance Roberts, CRABOLO, Patrick Hofman Nov 6 '14 at 21:46

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – Martijn Pieters, James, CRABOLO, Patrick Hofman
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Actually I flag for first post, and being 10K flag reviewer, you also flagged it. But our both's flag gets declined. – Lucifer Mar 31 '14 at 10:18
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    did you vote to delete first question? ("Simple Example for Augmented Reality") – gnat Mar 31 '14 at 10:38
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    According to this, if the answer without the links contains at least some useful bit of information, or if the question is directly asking for links, then the answer should not simply be deleted. Downvote or edit as you see fit, but don't just ask for them to be deleted unless they are really not useful (hint: the checkmarks on these answers suggest that they are somewhat useful). – Antony Mar 31 '14 at 11:27
  • @gnat: Vote to delete the question or the answer? The question was already closed; I saw no reason to delete it. The answer had +2 votes when I flagged it, so I couldn't VtD it. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 11:53
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    @Antony: The only link-only answers that aren't somewhat helpful are those that link to spam. A link-only answer that links to a useful blog post/ other site is useful, but it makes SE susceptible to link-rot, and makes us nothing more than sign posts to other websites. How frustrating is it for you when you open a page and have to travese several pages of links before you find the content you actually need? Link only answers are explicity disallowed on Stack Exchange. The fact the OP marked it as accepted, or someone upvoted it is not a reason (IMO) to keep it. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 11:55
  • I asked about vote to delete question. Per my reading its very presence at SO makes a broken window, inviting other readers to ask for tools / resources etc (closed status won't help here, as accept mark rather clearly indicates: "you can get an answer here, go ahead, ask for more stuff like that") – gnat Mar 31 '14 at 12:02
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    @gnat: Meh, the close reason itself says that "Questions asking us to recommend or find a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Stack Overflow". I remember a discussion on meta a while back about whether these sorts of questions should be deleted or not. I can't remember what the consensus was, but my personal opinion is that being closed is sufficient. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 12:05
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    Can you point out where there is an official stated policy about how a moderator should handle every single NAA flag? Rather, I think this is at the discretion of the moderator. They're human, and are going to take a lot more into consideration than the fact that you think it should be deleted. And no, you're not the first person to complain about the inconsistency - but I've come to terms with it. Sometimes my flag is going to get declined. Get over it. Go smell some roses somewhere. – Aaron Bertrand Mar 31 '14 at 20:13
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    @Aaron: I never said there was an official policy, but after having two accepted-link-only-answers declined in immediate succession, I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing an official policy which made them "allowed". Having said that, Shog's recent post made it pretty clear in my mind what was link-only and what wasn't, and I thought these two posts were. Wanting to know what the moderator was taking into consideration was exactly why I asked this question, and I'm thankful that bluefeet stepped up and rationalised her opinion... regardless of whether I agree with it or not. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 20:17
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    @Matt that's the whole thing - a moderator answering a meta question is stating their opinion. You may raise the exact same flag for two identical answers two minutes apart, and they each get handled by two different moderators. Or even the same moderator could reject one and accept the other based on various criteria. – Aaron Bertrand Mar 31 '14 at 20:19
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    @Aaron: ... and launching a discussion about those "criteria" and "opinions" is a good way to eventually lead to a consensus. That's how we got to the fact link-only-answers are unacceptable in the first place. I'm not saying everything with have a consensus, and every case will be perfect, because I'm not stupid, and like you said; we're all humans, but discussions make people aware of what the community consensus is, which might improve the situation and people's decisions in the future. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 20:27
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    @Matt so what new and enlightening information are you offering here that hasn't been discussed ad nauseum before? To me this question should be closed as a duplicate. There is no consensus, there never will be. We elect moderators so that they can make decisions on things like this, using more criteria than just the fact that it was flagged or the fact that it matches some pattern of a flag that a moderator colleague accepted last Tuesday. – Aaron Bertrand Mar 31 '14 at 20:28
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    i dont always whine about something about this insignificant, but when i do, i do it on Meta – swasheck Mar 31 '14 at 20:29
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    @Aaron: I'm not a psychic. I didn't know that bluefeet and George's opinion would differ so much to mine, and that none of us would alter our opinion. Another day and I might have come round to their thinking, or vice versa. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 20:32
  • @Matt shrug I think you could get worked up about much more important things. Maybe it's time to step away from the keyboard and go catch a movie or play with your cat. – Aaron Bertrand Mar 31 '14 at 20:35

I declined those flags mainly because they are accepted answers on both of those questions. I will agree that these are not the best answers, but someone found them helpful (it was accepted and/or upvoted) so I disagree with removing them and will typically decline these flags. Prior to becoming a mod, I would use the 10k tools and invalidate NAA flags on accepted link only answers.

I would do 3 things with these types of answers:

  1. leave a comment to the users who left the answers (if they are still active) asking them to try to expand on the answers in the event the link is no longer working
  2. down-vote and move on, even vote to delete if you are 20k+
  3. or both.

Another thing that you can do is to try to elaborate on the content yourself, especially since they are accepted answers.

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    "OP found them helpful" -- sounds quite a funny justification to let low quality crap proliferate and serve as example for other answerers. Did you consider leaving "insufficient explanation" notice, at the very least? – gnat Mar 31 '14 at 11:19
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    @gnat there are ways to improve these answers without getting the mods involved, as I said you can comment to the users (both are still active), down-vote/vote to delete, or both. You can even try to edit the answers to improve them. Why are these not acceptable solutions before flagging them for a mod to delete? – Taryn Mar 31 '14 at 11:22
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    @bluefeet: Of course, we could try ourselves first, but often, people are not willing to change an already accepted answer. It would be nice to have some notification of your post being flagged. That would give the poster the change to edit it's answer. – Patrick Hofman Mar 31 '14 at 11:30
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    @bluefeet I specifically wonder / worry about justification like "OP found them helpful", especially taking into account that one of the questions is closed and better be deleted ("Simple Example for Augmented Reality"). "Helping OP" the way you make it in cases like that reads to me as welcoming them ask more bad questions and expect them answered – gnat Mar 31 '14 at 11:34
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    @bluefeet: Thanks for explaining why you declined the flags, but I don't agree with your reasoning. Like gnat said, saying someone found them helpful is shaky ground. As I said in a comment on the question, all link-only answers are useful to some respects, because they do link to another resource which explains how to solve the problem. What you're effectively saying here is that if a link-only answer is left on the site long enough to acrue upvotes, then it becomes immune to deletion. This is wrong IMO. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 12:01
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    ... A link-only answer is still a link-only answer, and still fails to meet the quality standard whether people upvote them or not. If you (as a moderator) feels the link posted was useful, then I think you should be converting the answer to a comment, rather than declining the flag and letting the link-only answer remain... because the link-only answer is still not an answer. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 12:02
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    @Matt I'll ask you this why did you flag immediately for a mod to delete instead of trying to contact the user to improve, downvote, etc? Why not try to improve the answer before asking for an accepted answer to be deleted? – Taryn Mar 31 '14 at 12:05
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    Regardless of how you feel about Bluefeet's answer, it is the correct answer. There are a lot of things that can be done before flagging a post for moderator attention; and none of those were done here. – George Stocker Mar 31 '14 at 12:08
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    There's nothing to salvage here. It's just a bunch of links. It calls for immediate deletion. That being said, given the question, @Matt didn't need to flag this answer, the whole question should be deleted. For stackoverflow.com/a/3055386, on the other hand, it takes a moderator to delete an accepted answer. bluefeet, as a moderator, it's definitely your job to delete accepted “answers” that do not answer the question. – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 12:13
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    @Gilles My point is that there are steps that could have been taken prior to flagging for the mods to delete. Why not try those first? – Taryn Mar 31 '14 at 12:23
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    @bluefeet What steps? Contact the user? I do that for recent posts, not for old ones that fell through the cracks. If the user wants to write a proper answer, they can repost. Asking them to edit the existing answer wastes everybody's time, reposting is an easier workflow. For old non-answers, it's best to just silently clean them up. – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 12:26
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    @bluefeet They can post a new answer. It's simpler for everyone. – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 12:31
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    @bluefeet: I used to add comments to a post as I flagged them, but 99.999% of users didn't do anything. Asking me to leave a comment, check back later and then flag is completely unreasonable, as 1) I don't have the time and 2) the system completely doesn't support this. Improving those answers are as good as posting my own (as currently their quality is 0), and quite simply, it's not something I'm interested in doing. Those answers are crap, their quality is zero, and doing anything above taking 2 seconds to delete them is a waste of time. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 12:32
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    ... Stack Overflow gets 1,000's of flags a day. Rather than pro-actively trying to save each of them by commenting on them, only to see less than a percent saved, it should be the responsibility of the user who posted the sub-quality post in the first place to reactively get their "answer" back on Stack Overflow; either by editing it then flagging to undelete, or posting a new one. Otherwise it just doesn't scale, and it's the wrong people investing their time in to the process. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 12:36
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    @Matt One of the answers that you flagged was from 2010 when the quality standards were much different, this user might not even know that this old answer is out there, I still don't understand why you wouldn't comment to them first before asking for an accepted answer to be deleted? – Taryn Mar 31 '14 at 12:52

This topic has been the subject of a lot of debate on Meta Stack Overflow, but now there is an official policy. Quoting this official policy (my emphasis):

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.

The second answer (since edited) falls exactly in this category:

This article might be helpful


Quoting further from the policy:

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.

This is the case of the first answer. It's the sole answer to a question that was closed months ago because it's a request for links. In this case there's no point of deleting the answer: since the whole thread is useless (closed question with no information to salvage), vote to delete the question (which doesn't require any moderator intervention).

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    Shows how controvertail that this is, that making a case based entirely on official posts can get 2 downvotes – Richard Tingle Mar 31 '14 at 13:12
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    @RichardTingle Presumably the downvotes are disagreement with that policy. Though it's weird: that policy has only a single downvote. – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 13:16
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    @PatrickHofman No, I'm not afraid of downvoting Shog9 or any other moderator. I have before, and I probably will again. I downvoted Gilles because it's a policy in a vacuum that doesn't deal with the cold-hard reality that I lay out in my answer. Moderation is more than the sum of our policies, it's balancing the needs of the many different groups that use Stack Overflow. For accepted answers, that means being extra diligent in fixing issues. – George Stocker Mar 31 '14 at 13:56
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    please, define official policy cause all I see is a discussion tag.... – user221081 Mar 31 '14 at 13:56
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    @mehow A post by the guy who runs the place and written as an announcement (which makes it official), with score +83/-1 (which makes it community consensus). No idea what this has to do with the list of feature changes. – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 14:26
  • List of feature changes is what I consider official changes. There have been many posts from diamond users on Meta which are not considered "official". Actually what Shog talks about is sort of a guidance for how to flag and how to handle flags. I think message of his post is to educate those ones who flag link-only NAA. This is controversial enough so I am going to step back and just watch what happens now – user221081 Mar 31 '14 at 14:32
  • Just one case when a link-only actually can be somehow useful here – user221081 Mar 31 '14 at 14:38
  • and an example of a useless link-only – user221081 Mar 31 '14 at 14:46
  • @mehow Although it'd take about 5 minutes to edit it into shape. I'll do that when I have 5 minutes. – George Stocker Mar 31 '14 at 14:50
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    @mehow The list of feature changes is a community-maintained list (so you can't infer anything from something being absent, it could just be that nobody got around to mentioning it) of feature changes (mostly changes in the code base, not settling a long-standing debate) to Stack Exchange (not always including things that are specific to SO). – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 15:00
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    stackoverflow.com/questions/6759295/… is a poor answer, but not a link-only answer: it says “use tool X”, with a link to tool X. stackoverflow.com/questions/1696971/… is link-only, to-be-deleted: it only says “go read this”. – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 15:01

In my opinion, there is no valid reason to prevail accepted or upvoted answers above others when it comes to whether the community should delete them or not.

The reason I find myself flagging posts instead of doing the follow up myself is this: It is very hard to monitor the posts you think you need to be dealt with yourself.

I had like to propose an option for this so we can create some kind of 'favorites', but then for questions, answers or comments (maybe even users) in general.

This could be very useful for:

  • Questions you downvoted, voted to close which you want to review later;
  • Answers you think need to be flagged and you want to take the initiative by handling this yourself;
  • Posts you are having doubts with (is it a voting ring?);
  • Probably other scenarios.

It would be nice to have this option for more established users as newbies might not be too interested in this feature.


In all this talk about 'quality' of content on Stack Overflow, there's one piece that's fundamentally missing:

What does the person who visits this question from Google sees. With a link only answer, they at least have something. If we delete accepted "Link only" answers, then we're effectively cutting off our nose to spite our face.

When it comes to accepted answers, especially times when the accepted answer is the only answer, we have to be really careful how we handle it.

What would a "Hello World" example for Augmented reality look like?

This question had 3,186 views over 5 months, or a little more than 600 views a month. That's pretty high for your run of the mill question, which means we have to handle it differently than questions with views in the hundreds over the same timeframe. If people are actively finding the question, then that's a good sign it's useful. Those links, while not a great answer unto themselves, provide really good information to anyone who visits the question.

That means that as moderators, we have two choices for handling this:

  • Leave the answer be, since it does provide information, and is the only accepted answer on a question with a substantial number of views.
  • Delete the answer, which will then provide no value at all to anyone who visits this question -- a question we've already determined is highly traffic'd for its scope.

Incidentally, in the two hours this issue has been actively discussed, it could have been fixed by now. If you have time to talk about the issue on meta at length, then you have time to fix the issue.

If there are other answers that answer the question completely, I don't have as much of a problem deleting an answer that contains no information. However, if an answer contains information, and that information is helpful, then you should engage with the user before asking us to delete. As moderators, we have five options for each of the thousands of flags in our queue:

  • Do nothing
  • Downvote
  • Comment (ask the OP to fix the issue)
  • Edit
  • Delete

You have all except the last option, and if you're a 20K user, you even can vote to delete bad answers.

So I'll answer your question with a question: which of those did you do here, which did you not do, and why? If the answer is, "I don't have time", then remember: This issue has been actively discussed by multiple parties for the better part of two hours. I don't think "I don't have time" is a good reason in this case.

In the time that it took me to answer this question and then edit it, I've deleted one of the questions (it was just a poor question, the answer wasn't really the issue there), and I've edited the other answer into shape. It took me from the time I answered this question until the time I made this edit.

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    Only moderators can delete accepted answers. If a non-moderator sees an answer which they think should be deleted, such as cases like stackoverflow.com/a/3055386 where “there's nothing in the answer itself to even hint at what direction we're being pointed in.”, the proper course of action is: as a non-moderator, flag to delete; as a moderator, delete. – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 12:49
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    I couldn't vote to delete either post because they had positive votes. Another option on your list would be to convert to a comment, which, given yours and bluefeets opinion, is what I think you should have done here, and is not something I (as a 20k user) have in my tool set. As I said before, keeping a link-only answer just because it's been around on the site long enough to be upvoted/ accepted by someone (i.e. "someone found it useful") is wrong. I did downvote. Gnat added comments on both answers 2 hours ago, and nothing has been done. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 12:50
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    @Matt You have to give the user some time to respond to the comments - both users were last seen March 27. – Taryn Mar 31 '14 at 12:52
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    @Gilles Or you can edit it. Like I did. Or you can downvote it. Or you can do nothing. – George Stocker Mar 31 '14 at 12:52
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    @bluefeet: So you want me to add a comment then check back later before I flag? I don't do this for the same reason you don't. Because Stack Overflow gets 1,000's of flags, and the system doesn't not support it at all. It's completely untenable. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 12:53
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    I'm tempted to roll back your edit: it fundamentally changes the answer. You should have posted that as a separate answer. – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 12:56
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    We have an official policy now. Please read it and apply it. In this case it says: “If you see this, flag it. Moderators, if you see it flagged, delete it.” – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 12:57
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    @GeorgeStocker: Whilst I applaude you for taking the time to edit this particular post, its completely ridiculous for you to propose we spend this much time on each flagged post. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 12:58
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    If you can spend two hours discussing the problem, I'm not sure 10 minutes to fix the problem is out of the question. Or even 30. – George Stocker Mar 31 '14 at 12:58
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    @GeorgeStocker That does assume that this discussion is for just this specific example, as opposed to getting policy straight for all time – Richard Tingle Mar 31 '14 at 13:02
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    @GeorgeStocker Editing requires 2000 rep unsupervised and has no requirements if supervised. But you're supposed to respect the original poster, not change a post completely. – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 13:05
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    @GeorgeStocker I'm more saying that this discussion is general with specific examples; therefore the time it takes to solve this specific example vs how long it takes to determine policy isn't relevant. I.E. I support discussing this policy. Where I stand on the policy is seperate – Richard Tingle Mar 31 '14 at 13:06
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    There would have been a significantly easier way to deal with this answer: Matt flags it, bluefeet deletes it. bluefeet and you chose to spend hours on Meta instead, explaining why you don't want to apply the policy and instead want people to waste more time doing busywork. – Gilles Mar 31 '14 at 13:07
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    @GeorgeStocker: ephemeral or not, my personal opinion in that the conversion of the "answer" to a comment would still be a better solution. – Matt Mar 31 '14 at 13:42
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    That would be probably the worst of all possible outcomes, @Matt: I'd rather see the site flooded with link-only answers, which can at least be edited or downvoted, than with link-only comments, which are uneditable, can't be downvoted, and are forever pinned below the question unless deleted - which would tend to require a moderator to be involved twice. Comments are not for answering, and a crap answer makes a crappier comment. – Shog9 Apr 1 '14 at 6:06

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