In other SE sites, answers that contain just a link (even if preceded by see, try, etc.) are not considered answers, and users are suggested to flag the answer.

Is that considered the action to take when such answers are seen on EL&U?

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    what would be sufficient in your mind beyond "try" or something similarly short?
    – Sam
    Commented Apr 10, 2011 at 6:21
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    I personally really don't like such answers. If it's a new user, I usually try to urge them to summarize what's in the link to prevent link rot.
    – Uticensis
    Commented Apr 10, 2011 at 9:29
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    @Sam Answers that just contains a link, without to really give an answer, are normally not accepted on other SE sites. I was trying to make clear that I was not referring exactly to answer that report just a link, but also to questions that contain a link, but don't explain what the linked page says.
    – apaderno
    Commented Apr 10, 2011 at 10:41

3 Answers 3


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.

On the other hand, the question itself probably could have been googled; that is the 'link' answer itself is intentionally a bit rude, instead of downvoting the question, accepting that it is a useful question for people to know about but that it needs little explanation.

Instead of doing the mental gymnastics (divining who intended what), I think it should be encouraged to add commentary to simple links by flagging those that don't.


We could leave a comment asking the answerer to copy and paste the essential parts of the link to make the answer self-contained, and to add his own elaboration where applicable. Nonetheless the link should still be provided to acknowledge the source of the information. I don't think it is rude to provide a link per se because different search engines and different search words give different search results, so what the answer links to might not be something so easily searchable by the asker.


Someone new to Stack Exchange should get a helpful comment that raw links generally aren't helpful. Linkrot happens, after all.

After that, the answer should be downvoted into oblivion.

(Okay, maybe not oblivion. But a link generally isn't useful, and the help text for the down arrow says it right there.)

  • 1
    I agree that link rot is a strong argument against answers that are just links. Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 3:49

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