For Super User how tolerant of answers with just links to a blog post with the answer are we supposed to be?

On meta.stackoverflow.com I've seen conflicting opinions;

Some say we shouldn't:

Others say it's fine:

  • 1
    this site hasn't been announced quite yet, so hang in there for a bit.. :) Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 5:33
  • 2
    I don't think the policy needs to change from the other sites.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 21:29
  • @Jeff Atwood: :-)
    – Chealion
    Commented Jul 23, 2010 at 0:23
  • @Chris, what about posting that comment as an (the) answer?
    – Arjan
    Commented Jul 23, 2010 at 5:24
  • @Arjan - I must admit I was testing something out before everything got linked up properly.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Jul 23, 2010 at 9:18

6 Answers 6


As a matter of policy, you should always have at least a sentence (and ideally a quoted paragraph) explaining how this link helps or hoisting the most helpful bit of it out.

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  • 2
    +1 for your first sentence, -1 for the blaring hurt-my-eyes image = sorry no jojo for this, even though it started out good. Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 8:38

Links are bad. I very strongly agree that answers with just links in them, no matter how good the link is, are completely useless. Why? Yes, they answer the question, but SU isn't just about answering the questions of "now". If it were, we wouldn't close as duplicate. It's about building up a knowledge base that simply doesn't exist right now, using outside links as flavour is fine, but if that's the entire answer, when that link dies suddenly it's useless, and we're back to pre-SOFU fact finding, trawling through message boards and mailing lists trying to piece together our answer, and finding little but "God, this is so easy, just lycos it!". Having a link as source is fine. Having a link as "(For more information, see:" is fine. But unless the text in your answer does in fact answer the question, you're actually harming the site more than you're helping.

  • +1 Not to mention, links add no value in terms of someone googling for a solution. i.e. it doesn't help anyone find this site for their answer in the first place. Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 14:11
  • Links distracts the view of the reader. It ruins the workflow of the person. It slows computers down on older hardware. It's an avoidable stretch to reach for the answer when it could be worded good enough at the time of answering to even better by other people later on. Answers can only get better and more simplified. Think 30-min long YouTube videos. Posting links as an answer should be seen as not caring to even answer at all. It's all about shutting the question up as soon as possible. That's a major problem! Links in general isn't bad it's when to reference data via links that's good.
    – fohrums
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 22:32

I'm opposed to just having links. We should strive to at least add a few words to our answer. It makes things both more readable and providing an excerpt can allow others to easily judge how good the answer is.


I say write a few words description about the link (especially for links like http://www.my-blog.com/?article-id=123456), or at least copy and paste the first paragraph-ish of the blog post linked.


The best way to handle these answers is to edit them and include the relevant content from the link.


If it answers the question, then links are fine.

BUT it's always better if some of the details could be put in the answer, in case the link dies later.

  • I would still want to know why or how that link solves the problem
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jul 23, 2010 at 9:06
  • 3
    Plus, if the link goes away, then the answer is completely useless Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 19:04
  • @Jared Harley: +1, although archive.org might help in some cases Commented Aug 2, 2010 at 9:12

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