In Stack Overflow there is a consense that an answer should not only be a link to an external website, because websites, blogs or wikis may change or getting removed.

So a minimum (at Stack Overflow) should be the solution or a copy of the important part of the linked Website (based on the license I think).

I like this restriction because I don't want to read 5 answers with no information but only a link to a blog where I maybe find the answer.

What would you say?

  • 1
    I completely agree and will be commenting on any just link (or even mostly link) answer. Beyond the linking breaking, it is usually easy to pull the important piece over that answers the question quickly and sipmly. – David Fritsch Apr 22 '14 at 20:35
  • I saw your comments ;-) I think thats a good way to get betters answers. – Harald Leithner Apr 22 '14 at 20:36
  • I think it is really helpful early on, but I don't see any reason to stop doing it. It has worked really well on Stack Overflow. – David Fritsch Apr 22 '14 at 20:38
  • I like the thinking behind this. You should at least summarise how the site answers the question, even if that information becomes stale. Here's a good example of what to do joomla.stackexchange.com/questions/80/… – Andrew Eddie Apr 22 '14 at 22:10

I agree. We should at least include the most important parts from the links that answers the specific question. I don't think we should copy them though, but should summaries and/or reword them to fit and address the question being asked to avoid confusion and prevent unrelated information from being presented.

In short, the summary should answer the question completely (in case the link ever gets removed) while still being as short as possible.

Also, the example is great, but I also think that we should make use of the ability to comment when we get a link that answers the question but don't completely understand the content (and can therefore not make a summary), as this will still guide the OP in the right direction.


I agree that single link answers should be discouraged in favour of providing sufficient key information that provides a real answer perhaps with the link for additional information.

Sometimes a question is asked where a single link answer is probably appropriate but this is more to do with the quality of the question than the answer. For example, the answer to the "Joomla Gantry css / less structure" question at https://stackoverflow.com/q/23241193/1983389 probably needs to be a tutorial on LESS which is too broad for Stack Exchange.


My advice to anyone who wants to merely post a relevant link to the OP is to post it as a comment under the question. This will bump the OP in the right direction as well as direct other volunteers to a resource that can benefit a "complete" answer.

Link or no link, I have never seen a "great" (upvote-worthy) single-sentence answer. Purely on principle, I'm sure that I have never upvoted a single-sentence answer (or question for that matter) nor have I ever upvoted a code-only answer.

Every answer should endeavor to educate not only the OP, but thousands of future researchers. When volunteers stop thinking of Q&A pages as a collection of 1-to-1 interactions and start treating questions as opportunities to inform researchers not only of a solution, but perhaps multiple solutions, for different considerations. When you know of potential "gotchas" / pitfalls/ common errors when dealing with certain techniques, build those insights into your answer. Include the reason why your solution is advisable. Are there security implications? Efficiency optimizations? Readability or accuracy concerns? How about Joomla coding guidelines/standards?

NO question is so simple that a link is a reasonable answer. A link must always be considered a supplement to a solution. Extract the relevant portion of the offsite resource and tailor it precisely to the question asked. Definitely adjust variable names and use the OP's sample data to make the solution easily comprehended by all.

Never overestimate the knowledge of the countless readers that you will never meet.

Do yourself and the Joomla community a favor and pack your answers with knowledge -- you will find yourself at greater risk of earning upvotes over time.

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