For context, I'm brand new to closed post review, hence asking for advice.

See this exchange about an old post.

The answerer provided an answer with no definition and links only.

A word for stripping someone of something hard-earned

As it appeared in the review queue, for me, the case seemed clear, I just clicked "delete for link only answer" with the generic message.

He's got a relatively high rep and seem to think that I've been too harsh. From what I understand his point of view seems to be that because the question was weak to begin with his answer had the right to be weak as well.

Three ways of asking the same question:

  • Is there a policy on a weak question that warrant a weak answer?
  • Was the answer weak or did I misinterpret the rules?
  • Should I have kept open this answer?

enter image description here

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    IMHO, it's perfectly okay to "recommend deletion" of that "links-only answer", no matter what quality the question had. HotLicks is one of those members I look up to and it's strange to see this answer from him. – NVZ Jun 13 '16 at 17:52
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    I don't think a weak question legitimizes a weak answer. (+1) A weak question should be closed. I will vote to close it tomorrow as I've run out of votes today. (But I guess it will be closed before that as it has 3 outstanding votes now). – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 17:56
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    To be fair to Hot Licks, I've seen much worse answers from seasoned users and non. At least the selected terms were relevant, and they had links. I checked each and every single one, the definitions matched the OP's request. I'm not saying it was a great answer, but then whose is, but there was thought behind it. They weren't merely a list of synonyms copied and pasted. – Mari-Lou A Jun 13 '16 at 18:43
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    @Mari-LouA So...should I/you have left it open or not? – P. O. Jun 13 '16 at 18:45
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    @P.Obertelli I would have edited the post by copying and pasting the essential parts of the link. That's my personal style and preference. I don't want to see a relevant answer deleted. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 18:53
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    @Mari-LouA Such OK answers should be posted as comments, not answers. That's what I do and that's what HotLicks does too, usually. I don't understand why this time he chose otherwise. – NVZ Jun 13 '16 at 19:36
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    @NVZ I've seen everyone post OK quality answers, none excluded. Hot Licks' is an answer, it's not detailed but it is supported, and the words fit. dammit! :) – Mari-Lou A Jun 13 '16 at 19:40
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    @Mari-LouA Of course, haven't we all seen and even posted such! But that doesn't mean we should continue or support that behaviour. Answers should be "answers according to SE rules". – NVZ Jun 13 '16 at 19:42
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    ARGGGGGGHHHHHHHH We're not at school any more. This isn't a job. There are guidelines, and there should be standards, and there should be mutual respect between one another. And it stops there. What is this obsession with "rules", does SE attract this type of user? I guess it must do. – Mari-Lou A Jun 13 '16 at 19:44
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    @Mari-LouA "The words fit" is not a valid reason to post an answer. I've seen plenty of answers with fitting words removed for lack of explanation. This one should not be treated specially just because it's from a reputed user. But with that said, I trust you know SE culture better than I and you may be right. – NVZ Jun 13 '16 at 19:45
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    This is all being blown out of proportion. – Mari-Lou A Jun 13 '16 at 19:47
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    @Mari-LouA Not at all. This is meta business as usual, relax. :) – NVZ Jun 13 '16 at 19:53
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    I mean there's a generic message in the review system precisely to repeal "good answer but without link" so it seems an essential part of SE. And meta is for talking about rules and their application. Why do you feel it's out of proportion? – P. O. Jun 13 '16 at 19:56
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    @NVZ I thought 'Oh, it must have been when he was new' but I just looked more closely at the screenshot, and I have to agree with you, I'm a little surprised. Especially so recently as the 6th of June. – Dog Lover Jun 16 '16 at 6:20
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    @NVZ. That's not a link-only answer. Even in just a screenshot, with no clickable links, I see quite a bit of content there. A link-only answer would just say "see here". This answer says quite a bit more than that. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/225370/…. – TRiG Jun 17 '16 at 16:26

Some help center guidelines apply directly:

How do I write a good answer?

Provide context for links

Links to external resources are encouraged, 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.

(Emphasis mine.)

Answer well-asked questions

Not all questions can or should be answered here. Save yourself some frustration and avoid trying to answer questions which...

  • ...are unclear or lacking specific details that can uniquely identify the problem.
  • ....
  • ...require too much guidance for you to answer in full, or request answers to multiple questions.

(Emphasis mine.)

My take is that the guidelines quoted provide ample justification for your recommendation to delete the answer because it is not a good answer.

Closing the question on grounds that it is "too broad" is another ... question. Fortunately, it's not your question here.

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    +1 I discarded my answer just now. Yours convey the same idea, but with evidence. :) – NVZ Jun 14 '16 at 2:52

It's The Same Old Soup

(It's the literal translation for è sempre la solita minestra)

This is the perfect example of a Low Quality Question that also happens to be a Single-Word-Request. The question consists of one sentence

I am looking for a single word that describes: a mixture of a lot of things that ends up pretty messed up.

The accepted answer, quality-wise, is a hundred times worse than the one under scrutiny in the OP's question.

That question should have been closed hours ago, if it had been, the OP would have been forced to clarify his Q and I wouldn't be feeling so incensed as I do now.

I deleted my previous answer because when a user, who you are actually defending, posts a hostile-sounding comment you just want to say: Ahh fuck it. Why do I bother? However, from that deleted answer, here are the first two paragraphs.

Low Quality Questions. What to do?

The thing is, if you know the question is weak, don't dignify it with an answer. If you know it's weak and you have voted to close it, all the more reason not to answer it. Weak questions, and those that are perceived to be low quality should NOT be answered in the first place.

Q: Does a weak question legitimize a weak answer?

A weak question does not ‘legitimize’ an answer that lacks depth and detail, but six answers do legitimize a low quality question in the eyes of visitors. Also consider the eventuality that one or more high quality answers will tell visitors, and the OP, that the question is acceptable.

  • You should check the accepted answer. It's changed. – NVZ Jun 29 '16 at 11:31
  • @NVZ Yes, just saw it for myself. It is a much better answer at least. – Mari-Lou A Jun 29 '16 at 12:30
  • For future visitors: The OP whose SWR consisted of: I am looking for a single word that describes: a mixture of a lot of things that ends up pretty messed up. later changed their mind and accepted a different answer. A well-supported and more appropriate answer. The previous accepted answer currently has four downvotes. It is precisely that answer which I referred to in my post. – Mari-Lou A Jul 7 '16 at 4:52
  • If I could edit my post without bumping the entire page to the front of the queue, I would do so. The drawback of editing outweighs the benefit. – Mari-Lou A Jul 7 '16 at 4:56

A list of words is an answer. It may not be a top quality answer, but it certainly is an answer. The addition of links makes it a better answer (still not good, but still definitely an answer). To actually be a good answer it would need a lot more: actually include the definitions, and also some discussion on which of the words is a better fit for different situations in the context of the question. I am not saying that this is a good answer, but it absolutely is an answer, and anyone who flagged it as “not an answer” is quite simply wrong.

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

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    Here's how I disagree with you: The top-voted response to the very question you've linked. meta.stackexchange.com/a/226142/309993 – NVZ Jun 17 '16 at 16:33
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    "Answers need to have sufficient information to understand the answer. The answer should be described in a reasonable level of detail and / or include a minimal example of the answer" – NVZ Jun 17 '16 at 16:34
  • But I agree with you. The answer is not just a "link" answer, as in "google here" THAT is a low quality answer, and I've seen plenty of them. Hot Licks's list is complete with links and it is compiled intelligently. Agreed, it's not a great answer, but it is a valid answer. – Mari-Lou A Jun 17 '16 at 19:22
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    @Mari-LouA There is no way future users can know what the list is all about if the link is changed. I don't think you read this. Links to external resources are encouraged, 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.. What are you trying to prove by saying "it is complete with links"? How is it complete? How long does it take to copy and past? – user140086 Jun 18 '16 at 6:25
  • @Rathony Remove the links entirely and leave just the list of words: that's still an answer! – TRiG Jun 18 '16 at 8:39
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    @TRiG The minute the links are removed entirely, I will flag the answer and vote to delete it. I don't think you understand what kind of answer is required here and what ELU is trying to establish. ELU is not Yahoo Answers. We don't welcome such answers. . – user140086 Jun 18 '16 at 9:42
  • @Rathony Bad answers should be downvoted. Non-answers should be deleted. These are the rules established in this community. – TRiG Jun 18 '16 at 9:52
  • @TRiG Well, there are guidelines about answering a question on ELU. I think the above upvoted answer has the guidelines. Of course, I will post a comment asking the OP to expand the answer. But at the end of the day, that's a bad example. Anyway, the OP would not have been able to post the answer if the question had been closed earlier. Low-quality questions always lead to low-quality answers. – user140086 Jun 18 '16 at 9:59
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    The question here is not whether or not HotLicks's answer is an "answer". Here, the OP wants to know if low quality questions legitimises low quality answers (from reputed users). – NVZ Jun 18 '16 at 11:16
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    This doesn't answer to the question here. – NVZ Jun 18 '16 at 11:17
  • This is clearly "not an answer", because it does not answer the question "Does a weak question legitimize a weak answer?". Even after I've left comments telling you this, you haven't edited to make this a real answer. :) – NVZ Jun 19 '16 at 20:50

I don't know if this should be a comment or not, but here's my take:

Hmm, yes and no. See, on one hand you can't exactly expect a good answer from a poor question. Especially if it is unclear. I'll admit to giving one-liner answers to poorly constructed questions (depending on how much time I have or what sort of a mood I'm in). But this should be taken with a pinch of salt, as @NVZ mentioned:

"With great reputation, comes great responsibility." If we respond to poor questions, we are encouraging more users to post poor questions. ~NVZ

But on the other hand, a good answer could (but probably won't) encourage (and subtly show the quality expected on SE) the OP to, in the future (or as an edit for future visitors), be clear, format neatly (i.e. don't use code formatting for quotes and literal words!) and understand that StackExchange is different to other sites whereby it's a semi-formal forum-but-not-forum site with reasonable standards.

TL;DR - It shouldn't be an issue to give a half-arsed answer if the question is half-arsed or just poor in general.

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    Why not just ignore the half-arsed question and move on instead of leaving a half-arsed answer there? There is no compulsion to answer everything. – NVZ Jun 16 '16 at 6:26
  • @NVZ Fair point, but sometimes I do like answering questions just cos. I think of it like this: if I had a question and only a very limited number of people knew the answer to it, it would be so satisfying to have it answered. – Dog Lover Jun 16 '16 at 6:29
  • Well then. If you post half-arsed answers just for the lulz, then the community/moderators will eventually remove that answer for reasons obvious. :) – NVZ Jun 16 '16 at 6:31
  • "With great reputation, comes great responsibility." If we respond to poor questions, we are encouraging more users to post poor questions. – NVZ Jun 16 '16 at 6:33
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    @NVZ No, no. It's not for the lols. It's really just for the thrill and feeling of goodness that comes with helping someone :) – Dog Lover Jun 16 '16 at 6:33
  • I feel the thrill in helping, too. That's the only reason we're all here on ELU. We don't get paid, remember? For good questions, I respond with good answers. For poor questions, I respond with good comments. I hope you understand my point here. :) – NVZ Jun 16 '16 at 6:36
  • @NVZ Oh, yes. Certainly. I suppose it's just nice (and easy) to be a bit lazy with answers for poor questions! – Dog Lover Jun 16 '16 at 6:42
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    I'd say if your motivations are to help he OP out, while maintaining a comfortable level of laziness, then the best approach, and the most sanctioned, is simply to provide some guidance in the comments, then vote to close. – Dan Bron Jun 16 '16 at 12:04
  • By quoting me in your answer, it appears as if I support your TL;DR, which I clearly do not. – NVZ Jun 17 '16 at 16:37
  • @NVZ No, not at all. – Dog Lover Jun 18 '16 at 11:48

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