Just now someone asked a question about Markdown syntax for chat messages, and an employee answered with the following response:

For chat markdown, click on the help button located at the bottom of every chat room. It seems to be a more complete version than included in the faq#formatting link.

It looks non-self-contained and thus link-only to me, so I commented as such, but was told that It's a valid answer here on Meta.

Do we have different criteria for LOA on main sites and on meta sites?

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    This is not a link-only answer. The question asked "where to find" the chat formatting advice; this directly addresses that question. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jun 14 '19 at 15:29

Whether an answer is deemed "link-only" or not depends on the question asked.

If an asker asks for where to find "foo" on the site, then an answer providing a link to where the asker can find "foo" is a full, direct answer. That's exactly why "link-only" doesn't apply to the answer at the link you provide.

If an asker on math.se doesn't understand how to integrate a tricky integral, and asks for help, then an answer saying "Look here:" followed only by a link to a solution on some internet site is, as defined, a link-only answer.

The "link-only" option for deleting a post is not meant to always be taken literally, meaning, just because an answer may consist of primarily a link, doesn't automatically disqualify it.


There is no flag fora "link only answer". That's not a reason for flagging, or deleting, an answer.

There's a flag reason for an answer that's not an answer, and one of the reasons a post might not be an answer is because it directs to an answer to be found elsewhere, rather than actually providing an answer. But the important point there is that in such cases the answer does not in fact answer the question.

In this case the link actually answers the question, because the question asks where to find a certain page, and so it's not "not an answer". The link doesn't refer to an answer found elsewhere, but rather it is the answer.

So that answer is a link only answer, but it's not "not an answer".

Now on main sites most any question that would be actually answered by a link would be off topic, which is why you don't really see that much on main. Questions where someone is asking to find something for you and link you to that place tend to be off topic on most sites, because they're just not often useful questions.

On meta things are different only in so far as a question asking where to find something on the site has a decent shot at being an on topic question, and as a result, you'll see actual answers that are just showing people where something is.

I also feel obligated to point out that not only is "link only answer" not a flag reason, the answer you've linked to is more than just a link. In addition to linking the page it describes how to find the page, so you could even remove the link and it would still answer the question.

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