To what extent (if at all) is it acceptable to complement answers with a link to one of the Stack Overflow FAQ/Reference/Wiki pages addressing the general topic of the concrete question?

A sample scenario would be this answer to a question about the augmentation of a specific regular expression. While the referenced page (for the sake of concreteness: this one) does not address the concrete problem of the op, it might be helpful to him in the future and to any other Stack Overflow user that comes across the question.

My motivation for adding the link in this and future questions is to spread the knowledge about a kind of portal page for the most important facts and assessments on the general topic (regular expressions in this case). The referenced page hasn't yet been around for a long time which IMHO supports the case.

I can conceive some possible criticism (feel free to add more):

  • Harms the S/N ratio in answers.
  • Increased redundancy in the long run
  • Referenced material just remotely relevant, or not at all
  • 'Commercial' answer style

I'm unsure about a judicious trade-off between the pros and cons.


At the end of the day this is a judgement call that you as an answerer need to make. You need to be the one to weigh how likely a reader is going to be to want the additional information, how much value it will provide, how relevant it is to the question at hand, how much it might obscure other potentially more valuable information in the post, etc.

It cannot be decided on in the general case; there are just way too many possible considerations that need to be made. If you personally feel that it adds net value, add it, if you feel that it doesn't, then don't.

You must log in to answer this question.

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