The question title proposes
Answer General Reference Questions with a link anyway
I suggest that the OP visit SE Meta and propose the same remedy that they recommend for EL&U, and then listen to their responses.
Before a question is closed on Stack Overflow for being trivial, users must post an answer, in the form of a code or link, it doesn't really matter if the answer isn't 100% correct or accurate, as long as it helps the OP.
Do you see how the recommendation might be abused, or be seen to be very unhelpful, on any SE site?
Links without any explanation, or clarification are not helpful to users or visitors. This is why answers with just nude links are frowned upon and usually deleted. And, if I'm not mistaken, on EL&U the user still has to overcome the 30 character limit.
P.S If had you clicked on the link above, the meta question posted in 2012, contains the following description:
While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.
Two solid reasons why providing a link is not always helpful and could result with more frustrated users and visitors. Further on,
A link to a potential solution is always welcome, but please add context around the link so your fellow users will have some idea what it is and why it’s there. Always quote the most relevant part of an important link, in case the target site is unreachable or goes permanently offline.
Some background history on LMGTFY on Stack Exchange
(AKA Let Me Google That For You)
In 2009 a question was posted on SE Meta, which contained the telling introduction (emphasis mine)
I've just asked a question on Stack Overflow which was a prime candidate for googling. I admit it was a poor question and with a little bit of research I would have found the answer. It annoyed me that someone put a let-me-google-that-for-you link in the comments.
A user posted the following comment underneath
Questions with an answer that is trivial to find on Google are not helping the SO community. They are generating superfluous reputation, lowering the bar for asking genuine questions, and generally wasting people's time. Furthermore, the answers to these questions are almost always summarized, plagiarized or synthesized from the Google search results. Posting a LGTFY link is like tough love. It points the user to the right answer and does it in such a way that they will hopefully turn to Google for simple questions and SO for their more difficult questions.
That comment received a staggering 334 upvotes
Meanwhile in the EL&U meta archives, I found the following concerning LMGTFY and link-only answers
The short and sweet answer is, LMGTFY links are not filtered here because barely anyone ever posts them in the first place. (And should you run into one, flag it for mod attention and it will be dealt with.)
I find 'link' answers to be somewhat rude; if you were going to bother to do the google search to create a link in an answer, at least some explanation should be added.
Answers are for on-topic questions. You should not answer in the comments of an on-topic question. It is true that link only answers are frowned upon for many reasons.
General reference questions are expressly off-topic. It is also true that "the definition of a GR question is a question that can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link." [...]
So, that said:
- General reference questions are off-topic.
- Off-topic questions should be closed and not answered.
- Posting a comment with the link that justifies the general reference close reason is appropriate and welcomed.
@Kit Z. Fox♦
In reply as to whether lmgtfy comments should be blacklisted
(I don't encourage commenting by lmgtfy.com at all or even a google search or even the link that a google search gives in the first hit, but it is very annoying to see a question, google for the obvious, and find that first-link answer, a rudeness in itself for the OP to not have done that minimal research)
In short, leaving a link-only-answer can backfire. It might be construed as being rather rude by the querent. The page linked might leave the OP more confused than ever before because they don't know how to extrapolate the information. The link might rot, this happens, and it is very very frustrating. And lastly, it might encourage visitors to post off-topic questions, inasmuch as any answer is better than no answer.