162

I don't totally agree on your statement that a single sentence with a link to another resource is an answer in most cases. When the questions are lacking any effort I agree this could be a decent answer, but probably it is better to close the question anyway. In my opinion an answer must qualify to the same rule as questions do: Answers need to have ...


66

Strip the markup We could experiment with disabling link markup and hiding clickable URLs in new answers during the 5-minute grace period, then enabling them again after the grace period (to prevent ninja edits and whatnot from circumventing that). If in the first 5 minutes you cannot tell the gist of an answer because there are no functioning links or ...


59

Hmm... Lots of good discussion here already, but to answer the question you actually asked... NO. No, you can't have consensus on what flag you should use for "link only answers", because as Tim notes you shouldn't always be flagging them, as George notes there's no "one size fits all" flag reason for them, and as Anna notes they're ...


39

I have two major problems with link only answers. First - Stack Overflow is supposed to be the site where opening new tabs to finally find your answer stops. Granted, some answers basically refer you to specific documentation that is housed elsewhere, but all answers can at least summarize the linked resource in a way that: Someone looking for the ...


26

This answer was included as an audit because it has been deleted by a moderator. The selection process for audit posts is intended to find only posts whose status is certain, so that the correct action for the review is unambiguous. In this case, mod-deletion provides that certainty of status. It was deleted by the moderator because there is no useful ...


24

It was just a link only answer, which is not acceptable as an Answer. See the deleted answer's screen-shot, somebody might have flagged it as a link only answer, that's why it got deleted by a moderator. If you want to undelete it then just edit your answer with proper description and flag it for moderator attention.


24

It is a link-only answer to a blog post without any explanation. Link-only answers are not answers. They look like spam. Links go dead. Nobody really wants to follow a link and possibly have to sift through it to get their answer. Answers should stand on their own, with links as support (or not at all). You can edit your answer to summarize the contents of ...


23

Link-only answers are frowned upon because of link rot. In your case the situation was probably aggravated by it being a link to your own blog post, as this too is generally disliked by the community. What you could have done is provided a brief summary of your blog post, along with the link and a note indicating that the blog was yours. That would've ...


22

Your answer resembles spam. It was promoting a resource. It's a one-line answer which doesn't even provide any guidance on how to use that resource - there's a severe lack of effort to provide a useful answer here. There are, additionally, features already built into ASP.NET to deal with the problem, so an external resource isn't necessary. For a long-term ...


20

I did not delete your posts, but here are my opinions on all 5 of your deleted answers, to hopefully help you out some for the future: Question: how to retrieve general informations from a open source package, eyes on poker-eval library Your answer: Check out my OneJoker library as well. It's not very well documented either (yet), but it's a lot simpler and ...


20

If the linked answer, sufficiently answers the question, then the new question should be closed as a duplicate (in your case, flagged for closing). Else, you need to include the explanation and relevant matter in your answer. Answers should be self-sufficient, and should include any necessary content from external resources within them, with attribution.


20

You could always down-vote instead of insisting that moderators delete them, since - as @KatieK pointed out - they are still answers (they become useless when the link dies, but are still answers while the link is alive). There's nothing wrong with flagging them, just be aware that moderators are people and some feel differently about which link-only answers ...


20

Yes. They should be deleted. There are many reasons why copy paste answers are not useful. Some of them are: Lack of effort. These answers do not show any effort. If the answers are just a copy paste from an external source, what is the need of our answer? Why should a reader read your answer? Providing a link to the original would be enough. If you say ...


18

I think this is not only a good idea, but it's the community supported one. Perhaps there was grounds for significant debate in 2011 when this question was posted, but as of today (2013) when performing review tasks one option for "low quality" posts is to mark it for deletion, in the possible reasons we see a non-spam, link only answer. If it's acceptable ...


18

Yes, those are strong candidates for closure and deletion. Vote and/or flag accordingly when you see these. (Your example is now 10k-only.)


18

The auto-generated comments posted by the VLQ queue will result in notifications to the post author even if the post is deleted. This feature was added specifically so that the problem you describe won't exist. Users can also see and edit their own deleted posts. It was wrong of you to mark those posts as "looks good". They don't look good. Additionally,...


17

Oh, the mistakes we make in our youth. Note that I left that answer nearly four years ago. Thanks for the flag, I converted that into a comment myself. You're right, it didn't belong as an answer.


17

I declined the first flag you showed, it was on this answer. The answer was pointing out the question was a duplicate (and where to find the answer), and there (over time) were nine total flags on that answer, and all of them pointed out that it was 'not an answer'. Yet none of those that flagged the answer did anything about the question. So, in this ...


16

The whole point of comments is to inspire a more permanent fixture, so if a comment answers the question and inspires you to make it into a proper, helpful answer then you should feel absolutely free to do so. With that said, you do need to pay attention to how you cite, and how much you cite. Simply copying the text from an external site with a link to it ...


15

In addition to Wesley's excellent answer, I'd like to note that "link-only answer" is kind of a crappy flag since it doesn't describe why the answer is a problem that needs moderator attention: Is the link broken (and have you tried to fix it)? Is it spam / excessive promotion (and why aren't you using that flag then)? Does the answer make no effort to ...


15

I issued that comment. We seem to be getting a number of people flagging incorrectly. I love that people flag, but it's important to flag correctly so that if these flags are ever used as heuristics, the heuristics are accurate. In your particular case, there were three separate types of flags on the same answer (it was a link only answer that addressed ...


15

The mistake here is in thinking that you can use the "other" flag reason without following the instructions provided for it and still have a 100% success rate: I've noted before that the moderators are remarkably consistent when handling flags on crap posts, even when no real effort is made to describe the problem being flagged. But if you really can't ...


15

Single line answer with a link. This was detected as a low quality answer and got automatically converted to a comment. We expect answers to be more substantive than what you posted.


14

What makes you think "The system doesn't like me deleting answers, so doing so would hurt me"? There are two badges encouraging deletion of answers: Peer Pressure and Disciplined


14

Yes, absolutely. These are not answers and should be flagged as such.


14

The answer only contains a link. That link is dead. So the answer is obviously useless. Flag for deletion.


14

I declined both those flags, because they were very low quality flags against posts that were not Very low quality by our definition. Very low quality has a very specific meaning (and it's used for the review queue, so it needs to be handled strictly). When you're flagging a post as Very Low Quality, it's as if you're saying the following: This content ...


14

Seems reasonable to me. It's worth noting here that you're adding value to the links you provide by explaining how they relate to the asker's question. That's considerably different from just posting a link (or closing as a duplicate), and makes a lot of sense when the real problem being faced by the asker is a struggle to break down a more complicated ...


13

Ok... I stand by my original answer, but I'm adding another one to address the confusion raised by the declined flags in your screenshots. First off, let's be clear about two things: Moderators do make mistakes, and different moderators handle different flags differently. Discussing flag-handling without the context of the answers being flagged is ...


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