While reviewing a different answer to the same question, I noticed this answer:

Screenshot of answer

The answerer is providing a solution using a software they wrote themselves, but the link to that software has gone stale.

I can't find a clear policy on this. Should a post like this be flagged for moderator intervention? Since the post is so old and the user hasn't been active for years, I find it unlikely that they would return to update this if I commented on it.

  • 24
    This is one of the reasons tool recommendations shouldn’t be allowed if it is a link to a personal cloud account.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 21:38
  • 2
    @Ramhound Where would be an optimal alternative location to host recommended tools?
    – user873319
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 6:37
  • 14
    @dsstorefile1 maybe Github. You can link your binaries under Releases.
    – LppEdd
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 12:16

2 Answers 2


Leave a comment under the answer

  • That would be enough to inform future reader who is interested in the tool that it is no longer available.
  • That would be enough to inform the community to downvote the answer as in current state the answer is wrong
  • That would be enough to inform the answerer that the link gone broken, and whether they want to fix it or not

Answers get outdated, that's for sure. That's why we ask that answers stand on their own, without needing to link to other site.

That particular answer, however, should be flagged as "link-only" answer. It is a perfect example where an answer become quickly invalidated when the link expires. If you write a solution to a question in the form of an answer, you need to provide enough information to make sure that other people can replicate your solution without needing to visit your link.

tl;dr Generally, just leave a comment. In this particular case, flag that answer as "link-only" answer.

  • 3
    I completely disagree with leaving a comment. "enough to inform the community to downvote" - why would anybody read 5th comment of an old answer? "enough to inform the answerer that the link gone broken" - in this specific case author of the comment last logged in in April 2014, low chance will follow up on this answer. Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 14:22
  • 2
    The purpose of comment is not to notify the whole community to take action on the post, but rather to inform those who happen to read the now-outdated answer, and if they wish to downvote it to give less visibility.
    – Vylix
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 19:27
  • 1
    As for the answerer, the comment is left there to notify that it has now expired. Whether they are around or not is irrelevant. It is there for them when they come back, if they come back. If not, no problem. Sooner or later, the answer wil either get deleted, or sink to the bottom of the answer list.
    – Vylix
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 19:29
  • Don't TLDR belong at Top of post :p Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 18:55
  • 1
    If you have enough rep you can edit the answer and remove the dead link, that or flag it for moderator intervention to delete the answer if removing the link makes the answer "not an answer"
    – Moab
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 21:11

Should a post like this be flagged for moderator intervention?

No, it shouldn't be flagged just because the link is broken, moderators are already overloaded.

What else you can / should do:

  • flag it for other reason if you find a valid one - as pointed out already in the previous answer
  • down-vote - sure, sooner or later there will be enough to move it down on the list or even get it deleted
  • leave a comment - I fully disagree
    • for future users - that might be a bit true, however I think they'll try the download before reading all the comments
    • for the author - as you've noticed too, author haven't logged in since couple of years ago, low chance would return
    • for the community to remind for down-voting: I don't think anybody would read comments, it's not bumped to homepage, nobody gets notified. Why would anybody read it???
  • edit the answer adding a disclaimer that it's outdated - seems efficient, but it's vandalism.

Honestly I don't see any good way to get rid of those answers quickly. Just down-vote and forget it.

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