See: Please add a system to allow file uploads attached to questions and answers

Question has largely already been answered (in above link); I have found further discussion helpful, as clarification on the use of file sharing was difficult to obtain.

With a stack-exchange account answer is it permissible to use a file - sharing site to host files for a solution.

  • In this example here is 200 plus images and two or three batch files which could be text files.
  • The end idea is to not have a ridiculously long answer, linking to sites that may link rot, and by including the extra scripts to save the user time.

What is the policies for file sharing links, and what is the recommendations?

Prior found considerations:

  • 4
    Possible duplicate of Please add a system to allow file uploads attached to questions and answers and it's the My question is in another castle version of my answer is in another castle. IF the majority of the question (or the entire key to it's essence) is off-site then it's NAQ (Not a Question). The question needs to stand on its own, extra clues OK
    – Rob
    Mar 12, 2019 at 3:51
  • @Rob the question was pertaining to answering I made a mistake, I still found with your links and the links provided further discussion and clarification useful.
    – user492224
    Mar 12, 2019 at 6:01
  • @JourneymanGeek has pointed to the solution about keeping the answers simple so that they are replicable by others in a reductionist way, and using SE for scripts, and avoid links/file sharing as much as possible. As mentioned by JourneymanGeek this allows the wide implication of the question or answer to be realized by others easily. So basically avoid relying on external sources if the question or answer can be reduced to stand without it.
    – user492224
    Mar 12, 2019 at 6:02
  • The duplicate cited is 10 years old, has 15 upvotes, and is status-declined; you can upvote it if you wish. As to your reply: ... basically avoid relying on external sources if ... - currently it's not that, it's "don't do it regardless". --- You can write an answer there or offer a bounty if you want to bring attention to why you think we want to do that. A question that helps one person and completely relies on offsite info that may not be available (particularly if there's a lot to download and dig through) isn't suitable for our sites. You must be able to quote a specific (short?) part.
    – Rob
    Mar 12, 2019 at 10:49
  • @Rob I have updated the question to directly point to duplicate. As it is such an important topic, I feel further discussion is appropriate, even if this points to the existing discussion I think that it is useful. So avoid File-sharing site links and if you do use links use them for reference and footnotes, try to keep the questions and answers contained. Also as my example is mainly about images, I was thinking that an imgur link might be a solution for a footnote, as it is more a safe image only site, and would be a useful resource to complete the answer.
    – user492224
    Mar 13, 2019 at 1:20

1 Answer 1


It absolutely should be avoided as much as possible.

Great questions are concise and self contained. The wider implication of a question that relies on an external source to be answerable is, should that source go down, it would be difficult for someone else to replicate what was talked about, either for a new answer or with a similar question.

A post that "200 plus images and two or three batch files which could be text files" is going to be insanely hard to do... unless

  1. You didn't need 200 specific images. Or better yet, try to cut it down to a minimal viable specification "I need 200 jpeg images of variable sizes to be converted to 15x15 .ico files"

  2. SE is designed for code. Posting parts of scripts might work better than dumping all of it. Look for a minimal viable view of the problem. You might not need the whole batch file.

So show what you've done, but don't dump all of it. Spending a little time to break down the problem into something slightly more general than your specific use case might help here.

  • Currently, the only thing you can share is basically links, images, and code. Since you won't be able to share 200 links and images in a single contribution. I would agree, that a contribution should keep an example, to a minimally viable specification. Likewise, you shouldn't give us the entire script, only a minimal example that reproduces your issue.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 12, 2019 at 14:31
  • @Ramhound in my work around previously, I was considering pointing people to file sharing links on specific web pages from 'known' websites, as a footnote to complete the answer, or giving access to a google drive folder, so the contents could be easily downloaded in one click. I have now mentioned in the main question comments, that as an after thought footnote I may include a link to a imgur account, as it is a safer solution than a file-sharing account, and also would complete the answer and leg work for those who were wanting a fuller solution.
    – user492224
    Mar 13, 2019 at 1:26
  • @Kass.Monk - Until there is a method to upload a file to SE (in a similar fashion that you can upload an image to SE through Imgur), sharing a file is problematic, as long as the author has control over the permissions there is always a risk the link stops working. Yes; I realize a link to a website can stop working but at least the link to that website cannot be made private.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 13, 2019 at 11:11