I have recently noticed a trend going around, and to be perfectly honest it's pissing me off. What new users (and some experience users,) do nowadays is go to the main page, find a question that's been getting lots of views, and from there do the following:

  1. Go to Google.
  2. Type in the issue or any outputs into the search bar
  3. Find any link that has anything to do with the issue (I've seen people link the asked question to itself)
  4. Paste this link into an answer and tell people to go this link to fix their issue

A great example can be found here. What you can see there is that there are two answers. One is only two lines, using a line of text and a link to provide the rest of the information for them. The other is a quality answer, that attempts to help the user fix what is wrong. Back to the use of links in this way. Not only is this completely unproductive, especially because of possible future deletion of the link, but also because of the fact that, usually what they paste a link to is not a valid or helpful answer. I get people citing links to find useful fixes. I do that. However having a 2 line answer that doesn't do anything to help the OP, that's different. So if somehow or someway this gets to the "Hot Questions Box" NEW USERS FOR GOD'S SAKE, if you know the fix to an issue, please feel free to help, and if you need to do some research, you can, but please, PLEASE do not answer a question with just a link.

  • 5
    And also people just copy some commands from other answers that they do not understand and post as their own answers. Like this askubuntu.com/a/747059/167850 This is even worse.
    – Pilot6
    Mar 17, 2016 at 12:51
  • 10
    I think you need to double-underline, super-emphesise the "just" in "PLEASE do not answer a question with just a link", rather than the "PLEASE". Great answers often aren't books and cite external resources responsibly. I understand what you're getting at but I wouldn't want people to read this and think they shouldn't use any links in answers. They're often necessary.
    – Oli Mod
    Mar 17, 2016 at 13:02
  • 4
    I wholeheartedly agree. I wonder if it would be plausible to put some sort of notification at the top of answers, or over the text box, that tells new users link-only answers are effectively useless. Mar 17, 2016 at 13:07
  • 2
    @Pilot6 the possibilities of stupidity are endless
    – David
    Mar 17, 2016 at 13:29
  • 1
    People who have been around for a while on the site know that's not an acceptable practice, so we don't need to be told what new uses do - we know all that. What really needs to happen is a feature request, like Zacharee1 noted. We need some form of notification for users at least bellow 1k that will tell them ( politely but very persuasively ) , hey, don't just use links and don't use what you dont know Mar 17, 2016 at 14:43
  • 3
    This is definitely happening, however the example you use is an answer. "upgrade to kernel 4.1" is the answer. The link is just extra. The quick and easy way to tell if something is link only or not: If you remove the link, does it still attempt to answer the question? If it does, then it's an answer. Downvote or edit it if you feel it isn't a good one. (related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/225370/…)
    – Seth
    Mar 17, 2016 at 15:27
  • Also, protection only prevents low rep users from adding answers. Nothing else. They can still be deleted.
    – Seth
    Mar 17, 2016 at 15:27
  • Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers: i42.photobucket.com/albums/e309/uleryrns/Photoshop/Obama/…
    – Daniel
    Mar 17, 2016 at 16:17
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    Half tempted to post an answer to this question, with a link back to itself...
    – Aaron
    Mar 18, 2016 at 1:42
  • 1
    The thing is... meta isn´t even shown to new users.
    – Braiam
    Mar 22, 2016 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


I have a canned comment that deals with this until you reach 2000 rep where you can review the queues together with the other reviewers:

Although your answer is 100% correct, it might also become 100% useless
if that link is moved, changed, merged into another one or the main site 
just disappears... **:-(** Therefore, please [edit] your answer, and copy 
the relevant steps from the link into your answer, thereby guaranteeing 
your answer for 100% of the lifetime of this site! **;-)** You can always 
leave the link in at the bottom of your answer as a source for your 

(I still like to use that one every now and then instead of the canned comment provided by the system)

  • I like this one! Thanks, thisll help
    – David
    Mar 29, 2016 at 12:08
  • @DavidCole-GrammarPolice: I have another canned comment for this: Please don't thank me! ;-) If this answer did help, just click the little grey at the left of this text right now turning it into beautiful green. If you do not like the answer, click on the little grey down-arrow below the number, and if you really like the answer, click on the little grey ☑ and the little up-arrow... If you have any further questions, just ask another one! ;-)
    – Fabby
    Mar 30, 2016 at 7:59
  • 1
    How many of these do you have lol
    – David
    Mar 30, 2016 at 11:14
  • @DavidCole-GrammarPolice: I've got a ton!
    – Fabby
    Mar 30, 2016 at 12:58

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