I recently had the problem that a specific page was down from which I
needed a script. So I used my standard way to obtain this file and
searched for this page on archive.org and found the page and the
Of course, this is exactly why we don't like link only answers, but I think pushing them all through one external resource would be worse, mainly because:
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket"
If we use archive.org (or any external site) and it goes down (shuts down, DDOS, loses it's data and backups, etc), ALL of the external links on Stack will be useless.
I know answers should describe what a link contains in case the link
goes down, but this isn't always feasible,
When is it not feasible?
Just copy paste the data. Or if there is too much to copy and paste, then an answer should be written which answers the question, with or without copied data from external resource, and then a link to the external resource.
Then the answer holds up on its own and the link is just "additional" data.
If you cannot answer a question without linking to another site then you cannot answer the question as required by Stack's Q&A format.
And any question which can only be answered with a link is perhaps not fit for Stack.
Stack sites being Q&A the answers to questions need to be on the sites in the same place, in order to create a resource here on Stack.
And Stack is not a "resource finder" and users are supposed to get their answer here on Stack - not come to Stack to be pointed in the right direction.
If an answer is just a link somewhere, the question was requiring an external resource, and so the question cannot be answered "on Stack" and is most likely off-topic.
That aside, not being able to answer without a link is such a rare scenario that it's not worth a load of effort, especially as it's highly likely that users will then abuse it - using it for many link only answers thinking this is now ok and not as per your proposal to be used only on edge cases.
but any visitor who has a similar question, which could be answered by
the linked source, won't find their answer
I know it can be useful at times, and I have myself had some great info from links, often better or a more thorough explanation than the answer.
But, while external links are very useful, we just have to accept that sometimes they can be broken, and I don't think using an external resource like archive.org is a solution.
We're not really supposed to be building up a link farm to external info, we're supposed to be providing answers to questions right here :)
If the Question you are reading does not answer "your question" then you might have a different question requiring different answers.
If you require an external resource from an answer's link to answer your question, it signifies that either:
- The Question you are reading is not answered sufficiently (possibly the
linked data should be in the answer)
- You have a different question altogether
- The answer is fine and answers the question, but the link is just
very useful as additional info
(1) Needs to be resolved by moderation.
(2) If it's possible, and not a dupe, a new Question being asked will be more specific and will have answers which are then searchable and will help others with the same question, and ruling out the need for that external resource.
(3) Sometimes Answers are fine, but don't answer our question, but asking a new one would be a dupe. That is frustrating, but for that we have bounties and comments asking for more info.