Note: The answer in question has been deleted by reviewers while I have been writing this question.

When reviewing low quality posts, I came about the following link-only-answer, that was recommended for deletion in this thread:

This is a know bug ...............................


The author argued in the comments, that he thinks it is better to at least have a link-only-answer than no answer at all for a question. And if I understand the SO system correctly, he is perhaps right. Here is my reasoning:

  1. If this is really a known bug, then it doesn't make much sense to provide a more detailed answer. Finding and linking to the bug report is then most likely the best information one can provide for both the OP and for possible followers with the same problem.

  2. If he posts this information as a comment, then the question would stay unanswered. If I'm not mistaken, then this would prevent possible duplicate questions from being flagged as a duplicate of this question, because the linked duplicates must always have at least one up-voted answer.

  3. Finding a corresponding bug report does sometimes take quite some time, and the link to the report is in my opinion unique enough to allow a link only answer in this case.

So I would personally decide for not deleting the answer in such a case. What do others here think about that? Am I missing something?

Note also, that I'm talking about valid bug-report-answers in general. I didn't yet verify, if the linked bug report is actually answering the question, and it if doesn't, then of course the answer should be deleted.


2 Answers 2


This is not a link-only answer.

“Link-only” is not about markup, it's about information content. A link-only answer is one where the only information is the link itself, whereas the question was calling for the information which is (or is purported to be) on the web page designated by the link.

This answer contains two pieces of information:

  • The behavior observed in the question is due to a bug in dart.
  • The bug in question has already been reported and is being tracked as bug #16669.

Sure, it could be improved (by adding a mention of which versions are affected, the exact circumstances that trigger the bug, which version fixes the bug if possible, what workarounds are known, …). But it's a decent answer as it is, and definitely not a candidate for deletion as low quality.

  • Thanks @Gilles for your support. I'm aware of link-only answers and I try to add more information when I think it might add value and the time required is appropriate. But in this case I think the info that it is a know bug an where to 'star' it to get status update notification is the most valueable information, everything else would be completely disproportionate to the amount of time required.
    – zoechi
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 15:24
  • Dart is an evolving ecosystem. These things change almost hourly. What IMHO would be more helpful for such questions is to have an expiration date to get notified to revisite the status and update the answer or delete the question. Two months after the bug is fixed this question+answer has no value at all. Everybody will then use a new release already.
    – zoechi
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 15:29

1.If this is really a known bug, then it doesn't make much sense to provide a more detailed answer.

I disagree with that point. It always makes sense to provide more details. What does it mean, it is a known bug?

  • How well is that bug identified? How to replicate it?
  • Is there a known work-around?
  • Is there any community fix?
  • What's the status of the bug? Refused, fixed in future version, won't fix?

If you edit the answer to provide, even in very brief form, that information, it won't be a link-only answer anymore and it will be more useful for future visitors.

  • I see your point. On the other hand, most of this information is actually provided by the linked bug report in much more detail and might change rapidly. So to be useful in the answer, the answer would need to be updated together with the report, which is hardly manageable. So in the end anyone reading the answer will need to look at the bug report for this information anyway...
    – Balder
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 8:17
  • @Balder but SE team doesn't want SE to be a repository of more-or-less working links, so the answer should work on its own even if the link is gone. Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 9:51
  • I think it is very unlikely, that bug-reports get deleted, and if they are deleted, it is usually a good sign that the answer and/or the question is no longer valid and should be closed/deleted too. But yes, if the link to the report is no longer valid for whatever reason none the less, it is perhaps better to have some outdated information than none, and if only for historical reasons.
    – Balder
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 11:55
  • As I was the one that created the answer this is about, here is my opinion: I think my answer is much better than no answer and when there would be a better answer it would perfectly make sense to delete this answer.
    – zoechi
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 12:17
  • @Balder Intentionally deleted? No, that's probably pretty unlikely. On the other hand, I'd say it's perfectly likely that whoever is running the site of whatever program or library the bug report is for, changes the name of their site, or changes the url format of their bug tracker, or where on their site their bug tracker is located, or gets sick of running the site at all and lets it die, or their office or data center has a power or internet failure. There are a lot of other reasons than just "they deleted the bug report".
    – neminem
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 21:05
  • @neminem Yes, as I said, it is probably always better to have at least some information than none at all. But actually this is not the real point. The question is, if such an answer should be deleted immediately, even if no other answers exist yet. And I'd say, it is better to have a bad documented bug report link than no answer at all. At the very least, the person asking the question should get a chance to see the linked report, before the answer is deleted - at the moment, such answers get deleted in a matter of minutes after they were posted.
    – Balder
    Commented Apr 5, 2014 at 5:26

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