There are several examples of link only answers which are as we know deprecated and not very useful for this site. Usually someone comments on the answer requesting a summary of the link, or similar request, but many times this request is not fulfilled by the OP (for whatever reason) and months or years later it remains a mere link.

My question is what someone else, who thinks that the content of the link provides a useful answer, should do? Should they:

1) Expand the answer - the downside to this approach is they will not gain any rep. for their work, and may be disinclined therefore to bother themselves. Even someone who does not care about rep. points may feel reluctant to have their hard work put in someone else's name.

2) Post a new answer and flag the old post for deletion or demotion to a comment on the question. The old post deserves to at least be demoted to a comment, and this would solve the problems of the first approach, but is this the best way of correcting the matter?

What are your thoughts on the matter?


1 Answer 1


My understanding is that both of the approaches you list are fine:

1) The original answer is deficient to the point of being deletion-worthy, so taking the necessary next step by adding summary to go with the link is a very reasonable edit.

2) There's nothing wrong with writing answers that are derivative of other answers, even to the point of just collecting and organizing information from other answers. So, writing an answer that does the work suggested by another answer, especially one that really should just be a comment, is a good response. Of course, it would be right to give credit for the source to whoever linked it first, for the sake of Esther-style salvation-promotion as well as common decency.

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