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Sometimes I encounter answers that suggest installing packages from Ubuntu Software Center written before 2015, for example, this answer. Ubuntu Software Center was discontinued in 2015 and now all links to Ubuntu Software Center redirects to Snapcraft homepage. Moreover almost all links are broken now, for example, Netbeans - Ubuntu Software Center redirects to Snapcraft Store while it should redirect it to Netbeans - Snapcraft(hopefully).

Since it is necessary to keep answers here on Ask Ubuntu up-to-date so that they can be helpful for current and future readers/visitors. In that scenario, should community members who encounter such links edit the links, leave a note in comments or just leave them as it is to preserve the history?

1

I'd say it depends on the question.

If it is still current it should be fixed.

I would rather see someone do this directly on the database instead of editing every question manually. Try not to flood the frontpage while editting. If there is one thing that makes me leave AU for a day it is seeing 20 topics on the FP I don't want to click on.

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    Links aren't topic specific. There are many links that need to be fixed sooner or later while changing some won't be fruitful. I see one more problem here. Not everyone loves snap :/ – Kulfy Jun 4 at 15:28
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Treat these answers as if version-specific1. For example, we don't want to edit answers for 13.04 release to add information for 18.04 release ( unless it's absolutely necessary and relevant ). Same approach applies here: if the answer relied on Software Center specifically, editing the links out of the answer affects the original intent of the poster. As much as we like to keep everything current, some answers have to remain as they are for historical value and context. They may still be useful and the software might be installed from other means (apt,snaps,github, etc), so full answer removal is undesirable2. Questions also may be specific to the time when they were posted.

Better approach would be to post a comment under the answer (or better yet under the question in bold text) to draw attention that the links won't work. If you know alternative method of installing the desired software - edit the answer to add that information. You can add a note in bold with the date of the edit saying "the instructions/links may not work, but here's alternative approach".

Adding new answer is also an option (if the question's context allows) and IMHO a much better approach. Users can see which answer is the newest and you can explicitly mention in your own answer that the accepted answer may be outdated. Adding a new answer or editing existing one (without removing links) helps future/current visitors much more effectively.


1. This is a comparison; I'm not saying "treat x exactly as y", rather "treat x with similar approach as y".

2. In cases where answers are outdated we sometimes may see those either downvoted or removed per community request, hence why I mentioned full removal here. As mentioned in this StackOverflow meta answer, answers are timestamped and anyone can figure out that the contents may be outdated, including links. Downvotes/removals don't add value and have no "timestamp" context.

-5

NO

Case in point: The ppa in the first answer you linked is also not available any more. If we start to run after every link, ppa or repository that has been replaced ... then we'd not have time for anything else.

BUT

Nothing prevents you from leaving another answer, with a current solution.

OR

Write a comment to the answer, alerting the user that this answer does not work currently.


Also, I think we don't have to keep answers up-to-date via editing. Old solutions still have value! While some questions are generic and can be updated with new solutions or caveats that old solutions don't work any more, others are specific to setups, hardware, software.... etc and might work for a group of people.

  • I agree with your answer partially. Recently webupteam8's PPA was discontinued for Java. There are many answers on the site which suggests using that PPA. As a newbie you'll consider referring most voted answer or answer shown at the top. But then we see a new question on the site that "why that PPA isn't working" and that question is legit. So, IMO we should at least consider leaving a note as a comment (which some people actually read or that could be hidden because of many upvoted comments over there) or edit the answer (which IMO is the best). – Kulfy Jun 5 at 12:28
  • I sometimes consider leaving a comment if there are not so many comments already existing about the status of that PPA. – Kulfy Jun 5 at 12:29
  • Yes, questions why this PPA isn't working are legit, as are questions regarding dead links to Ubuntu Software Center. But in my opinion, that doesn't mean we should edit all answers and replace the links. I mean, with your logic.. what would happen to questions regarding software center ? – Robert Riedl Jun 5 at 12:34
  • I think a comment on an accepted and/or high rep answer or an additional answer is more in line with how things are done on askubuntu. – Robert Riedl Jun 5 at 12:35
  • Additional answer get generally hidden if there are already so many answers until it is upvoted enough to appear in top voted answers. – Kulfy Jun 5 at 12:42
  • Also, I'm not targeting the questions. I have concern regarding answers only and that too on questions asking for software installation. – Kulfy Jun 5 at 12:44
  • That's why I'd suggest a comment or an answer, depending if there already is an accepted / high rep answer. Regarding questions: we currently have a tag "software-center" with about 13k questions. Some of them are genereic (about repos or updates in general), some are specific about software center. So editing answers in bulk would definitely not be a good solution, I think. – Robert Riedl Jun 5 at 12:50
  • Yeah. Editing "all answers" isn't feasible and practical. But we can at least edit the posts which are still relevant. IMO – Kulfy Jun 5 at 12:53
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    “We don’t have to keep answers up-to-date via editing” - the help centre would disagree: askubuntu.com/help/editing “Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date.”. – Tim Jun 11 at 0:57
  • @Tim, that would mean updating every answer that references any out-dated information - like previous java versions, ubuntu versions, etc – Robert Riedl Jun 11 at 6:37
  • This answer brings up a good point. Old answers may be outdated yet still have value with the general approach. Editing, however, is one of the ways we can make an answer current, so I'd disagree with that point. Comments are just as useful. There's been many cases here and on StackOverflow I've seen where an answer may be outdated, but the comments bring up a few good points. – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Jun 14 at 1:47
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    @SergiyKolodyazhnyy, thats what I mean. I think we shoudln't generalise and say we should update answers with edits, if they are outdated. I think we should be very careful with editing and therefore changing answers, especially high/or accepted answers. At best this should be evaluated at a case by case basis. But comments are better for this, In my opinion. – Robert Riedl Jun 14 at 7:08
  • I suppose we both agree then :) – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Jun 14 at 7:13
  • @SergiyKolodyazhnyy yes! Your answer says basically the same, but is much better worded. – Robert Riedl Jun 14 at 7:15

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