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I encountered an answer which was basically just a link to another external source. It was an old question asked some 2 years back. The answer in discussion is this one.

I added the relevant details from the link to here. In this case, the details could fit in here which is why I went ahead and added the relevant details to the answer itself.

So, the question basically is, what should I do if I encounter a link only answer that has occured in the past? Should I just add the relevant details as I did this time or flag it for moderator attention?

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If you feel like adding the relevant details, that's great, please go ahead and do so. If the details are hard to find or you don't have the time or the inclination to fix it, then flag.

The only thing you shouldn't do is ignore it. Time is irrelevant, a link only answer is always bad and always a problem.

  • thanks for letting me know. I will keep it in mind for future reference s. – Ramesh Jan 8 '15 at 23:02
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    I disagree. Sure, a link only answer is bad; but if the answer is accepted, the link still valid and you don't have time to edit it then leave it alone. A link answer with a valid link is still better than no answer in my opinion. – user67289 Jan 12 '15 at 15:23
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    @AndréDaniel no, sorry. Link only answers are bad both because of the risk of link rot and because they're not actually answers. We want questions to be answered here, not somewhere else. If your answer just tells me where I can find an answer then it is not actually answering my question. For more on this see here and the dozens of similar discussions. A link only answer is no answer at all. If you flag it, we can either fix it or convert it to a comment instead. – terdon Jan 12 '15 at 15:30
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    @terdon if you fix it or convert to comments then it's great; I was just worried about the "wild" deletion of such "answers". Sure, they're bad and not really answers, but until someone else fixes them by editing or posting a real answer, it's better than nothing. – user67289 Jan 12 '15 at 15:35
  • @AndréDaniel even that's arguable (read the post I linked to) but in any case, in order for them to be fixed you either need to do it yourself or flag it so the mods can deal with it. Leaving it alone is never the right solution. That's what I wanted to clarify. – terdon Jan 12 '15 at 15:45
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    @terdon sorry for the confusion; by "leaving them alone" I meant I wanted them to still live (converted to a comment for example) until someone posts something better. So yeah, if you say flagging them will get them fixed or (at worst) converted to a comment then I agree with you. – user67289 Jan 12 '15 at 15:48
  • @AndréDaniel you might want to read this meta.stackoverflow.com/a/271549/792066 – Braiam Jan 13 '15 at 16:39

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