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Today I came across this answer, while searching for a duplicate.

(For those of you that do not have the privilege of being able to see the now deleted post, and for which my link seems broken: enter image description here )

I am not sure if the answer originally was flagged as link only, IIRC you can only do so if it shows in the low quality queue, the option to flag as such does not show up when clicking the 'flag' link:

enter image description here

The link is now broken, and I flagged this for moderator attention.

I propose:

  1. We should try and get the "This is a link only" option added to the list above, in a way that they get handled the same as reviewed answers marked that way (triggering deletion?). Possible (re-)inserting the answer in the low-quality review queue.

    Assuming that what happens with reviewed questions where "This is a link only" has been selected multiple times, is that they automatically do get deleted. Then the addition of the "This is a link only option" to the flag possibilities would have helped pushing this answer out of the system.

  2. Get some mechanism in place to check on links in answers that were marked Link-only at some point and if the link is broken on two consecutive checks, have the system reinsert this in the low-quality review queue, probably resulting in deletion.

Just downvoting the answer seems a bit ineffective, selecting that it is very low quality is a bit vague for this specific problem (but might result in the item going in the review queues, I am not sure). Or is there any other alternative that doesn't involve the 'heavy hand' of calling in the mods, to get this cleaned up?

  • Both proposals 1 and 2 sound good. – Faheem Mitha Jul 10 '14 at 11:42
  • "Assuming that what happens with reviewed questions where "This is a link only" has been selected multiple times is that they do they automatically get deleted." This sentence has problems. – Faheem Mitha Jul 10 '14 at 11:57
  • OK, maybe not that big problems. An extra "they"? – Faheem Mitha Jul 10 '14 at 12:11
  • @FaheemMitha I rewrote it a bit, I like to review others' but not my own writing. – Anthon Jul 10 '14 at 12:32
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There's not gonna be a 'link only' flag reason, because folks come up with some really odd interpretations of what "only" means* and we don't need to encourage that.

If an answer depends entirely on a broken link, you should probably either fix the link (archive.org is pretty great), edit in enough details for it to be useful without the link, or flag it for moderator attention and note that the link is broken and the answer is worthless.

Otherwise, don't fixate on links - focus on the information contained in the answer itself:

  • if there's zero information in the text of the post geared toward answering the question, then it's not an answer, and you should flag it as such.
  • if the answer is unintelligible / embarrassingly poorly-written, then flag it as very low quality.
  • if you just think it's wrong or unhelpful, downvote it.

See also: Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer?

Regarding your second suggestion: we were working on an automated link-checker at one point, but the project has been on hold for a good while now; hopefully we can get back to it one of these days.

*most popular interpretation? a synonym of "having"

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