When flagging link only answers (either from review or direct) could you actually comment on the answer to explain to the OP why link only answers are bad?

We seem to get a heap of them in the admin flags and inevitably that's all I do each time anyway as the idea is to give people a chance to rectify things. It's not a big thing but it's a bit of a pain when I have to sit and go through multiple cases of this a day and I'm sure Samuel sees more than a few too!

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    Are you talking about when someone flags them or when they go through the review queue which does explain why they're bad? Here's a snippet I use: "Welcome to SF.SE (username). Its preferred you provide some details from the link giving credit to the author, should the link ever disappear. If you will, please update your answer with more information."
    – crmprogdev
    May 6, 2016 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


Just to explain from my side of things (I'm sure I'm one of the worst offenders):

If you look at the way Badges are laid out, they actually strongly encourage this behavior.

  • The Marshall badge rewards 500 accepted flags
  • Low Quality Post and other reviewer badges are awarded at 1000 review items

So if I just leave a comment, no one gets any badge progress. If I flag it as link only and someone agrees, we both make badge progress. It seems to be the flow the system is designed to incentivize. Also, when accepted as Link Only Answer in the Low Quality Post queue, it auto-comments with similar material.

One counter-argument, I suppose, is that we may not feel the question should be deleted just because it may break later. Sometimes in the review queue, we see a link only answer where the accepted answer is, in fact, only a link. Often this answer is highly voted. It would be more consistent to respond to both Answers with a comment, or both with a flag. As I understand it, deleting any post causes you to lose the reputation gained from it, and that seems harsh for something that was deemed useful.

If we are to post a comment, perhaps this comment can serve as a template:

Welcome to SFSE [user]! Can you post some of the relevant content from that link? Links tend to break over time making answers without details a bit useless in the long term :)

For a less green user, I might comment:

Can you post some relevant content from that link? Links tend to break over time, making answers without details less useful in the long term.

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    You make progress towards your review queue badges for every post you review, regardless of whether you vote to delete a post or accept it as "It's Okay, No Action Needed, etc". This allows you to make comments without voting a post for deletion. I suggest you ask yourself whether you're here to earn badges or make the forum a better place for all. (no offense intended)
    – crmprogdev
    May 7, 2016 at 5:21
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    @crmprogdev I think getting a link only answer deleted is improving our quality a lot of the time. We can't just delete them ourselves.
    – Adrian Larson Mod
    May 7, 2016 at 16:31
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    It does help, but I'd rather see those answers expanded. If people reviewing can add those comments themselves as well as flagging it would make my day a lot less repetitive :)
    – Matt Lacey Mod
    May 9, 2016 at 0:48
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    @LaceySnr I always try to make a judgment call. If I think there is a good chance of improvement, I comment and don't bother with the flag. But if expansion seems unlikely to happen or to help, I go for deletion.
    – Adrian Larson Mod
    May 9, 2016 at 0:51
  • I think the approach I took here salesforce.stackexchange.com/questions/140289/… of just commenting and giving the poster time to improve the answer is best for the community.
    – Dave Humm
    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:20

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