In the short time, I've seen a handful of answers that give some very general description of an answer, but very few details. The answer then pretty much ends with "See Here for some tips".

One example is this answer on How do I train a puppy not to bite?

How do we want to handle these types of answers? From my Stack Overflow experience an answer like this would be barely adequate as I need to go to an external site to get anything meaningful from the answer, but I'm not sure how other sites handle it.

  • In defense i want to say that my answer doesn't take any inspiration from the link and all provided text are my experience just added link for more tips. Oct 9, 2013 at 14:56
  • @AnkitSharma I think that was part of the reason I asked the question and mentioned your answer specifically. Either the link supports your answer or it doesn't. The link offers completely different information than what is in your answer so it really isn't supporting the answer in any way, Oct 9, 2013 at 15:02
  • removed the link. But i appreciate your efforts and raising it on meta. Oct 9, 2013 at 15:07
  • Either the link supports your answer or it doesn't. I think you can write a full answer and then provide a link for further reading for those who are interested. I don't think that should necessarily be discouraged on principle. Feb 27, 2014 at 11:08

3 Answers 3


Answers should always be relatively self-contained.

If the answer provides enough details to qualify as a good answer without the link, then it is generally okay.

However, if the answer is not self-contained, and relies on material in the linked reference to be complete, the poster should be encouraged to edit information from the linked source directly into the answer for the very reasons you cited.

If the person making the post doesn't respond, it is entirely appropriate for other users to make the edits for them, providing relevant quotes (and attributions) from the linked source.

  • 2
    For this topic, I think it would probably be better to just go ahead and edit if you think you can and have the time to do so. I suspect this is going to be one of our more interesting challenges given the popularity of Pets in general, and the likely unfamiliarity that those finding us once we start turning up in results will have with our type of Q&A.
    – user105
    Oct 9, 2013 at 14:37

We get a lot of that on the Photography site and our general response to it is to encourage the person to provide some sufficient detail so that going to the site really isn't entirely necessary, but otherwise indicates that the information was sourced. I think some element of this is inevitable, but as long as it's not just a link then I think it's okay.


It has a reason I always write a comment about link rot and encourage users to at least quote some parts they like from that specific link.

When I joined the fitness.SE beta I went on an edit frenzy to remove most of the plain links that were thrown around in answers. A lot of links were already dead, despite being less than one or two years old.

Link rot happens to all sites on the web, from small private blogs up to manufacturers sites and newspapers. Wikipedia tends to be less of a problem in that regard, but as Wikipedia is the easiest source to copy stuff from… Regarding copyright and readability I object full quotes of articles. It should be preferred to quote important bits that support an answer, the link should invite for further reading.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .