10

Sometimes I come across old answers with little more than a link to another site. And sometimes these answers have been upvoted multiple times.

The answer I most recently came across said only this

I believe that you could solve the problem using the ProxyPassReserve directive. You can read about it here.

I have also come across an answer which said even less

Here's a bit of information on the subject.

Given that this answer isn't useful on its own without the link, I believe it does not live up to our current standards. Is there something I should be doing when I come across such old link-only answers?

  • 1
    Sometimes the link only answer is even the accepted answer as well, so at that time the OP found it useful and who would I be to disagree? – HBruijn Jan 9 '16 at 17:24
  • This just got pushed to the front page and is probably a better example and several of teh answers appear to be just links elsewhere without any supporting commentary. – Iain Jan 9 '16 at 19:10
6

That's probably not the best example as it does at least say what the technology is that the OP should be using. You would hope that any reasonable sysadmin would at least be able to research the technology from there. They could even search SF and find 1500+ references.

If you come across truly link only answers then you have some options I guess,

  • Edit some relevant content from the link or your own knowledge into the answer to improve it.

  • Downvote and leave a comment.

  • If the link is dead flag for a moderator to delete.

  • 3
    I actually think that spoon feeding people solutions does the internet and people a great disservice as it creates a dependence. Educating people by pointing them in the right direction (which goes down badly with many people who ask questions here because they ain't interested in learning) is in my opinion a much better thing to do. – Iain Jan 9 '16 at 16:39
  • 1
    I'm not convinced that the ✓ is always a good indicator. Sometimes there are much better answers. Downvoting and deleting bad answers (even with a ✓ ) is a social good. – Iain Jan 9 '16 at 17:32
  • I have added a link to an old answer which said even less: Here's a bit of information on the subject. – kasperd Jan 9 '16 at 22:53
  • My answer remains unchanged. – Iain Jan 9 '16 at 23:07
5

We're dealing with a similar problem on Super User.

When I started a clean-up, I reserved destruction only for answers that were

  1. scored at zero or below,
  2. not the accepted answer,
  3. written by users unlikely to come back,
  4. not the only answer, and
  5. obviously lacking effort.

In general, we're trying to avoid removing something that someone found helpful. For link-only answers written by users who are still around, I left a comment along these lines:

At the moment, this post is essentially only a link. To make sure the answer remains useful even if the link breaks, please edit it to include the relevant information. (Your answer was discovered in an effort to repair or remove old link-only answers.)

Markdown source for the above:

At the moment, this post is essentially only a link. To make sure the answer remains useful even if the link breaks, please edit it to include the relevant information. (Your answer was discovered in [an effort to repair or remove old link-only answers](https://meta.serverfault.com/q/8567/283572).)

If an accepted (or upvoted) answer is link-only, it should probably be edited rather than destroyed, preferably by the original author. If it's outvoted by an actual answer, though, not much valuable will be lost if it's deleted or converted to comment.

-2

nuke them from orbit. Its the only way to be certain.

  • The irony of a meta post on bad answers.... – Cory Knutson May 5 '17 at 21:45

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