What should be our policy towards link-only answers? In other communities I know, for example SO, they are not welcomed, because the link may be dead in a few years, so people are expected to provide the solution, and post link only as source reference or the extended lecture.

Here, however, questions are mostly about available resources. If the resource is no longer available, there's actually nothing to do with the question if the resource is not available elsewhere. Often the link is something that the OP is looking for.

For example, this answer to my question: Downloadable archive of weather conditions for Europe? posts a link, which is something I have requested. I think that such answers are valuable. But the question is, should we expect, that the authors would give some more informations about the resource, a short description or summary, instead of only giving a link?

  • I'm asking because I'm not sure :)
    – user139
    May 28, 2013 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


Asking where a database can be found isn't really the same thing as what we generally refer to as link-only answers. The latter is about a user "answering" questions by pointing the author elsewhere — I.e. "For your answer, you can read about it here <link>." We consider these link-only answers problematic because Stack Exchange is supposed to be about answering these questions, not simply pointing users to where they can find out more on the Internet.

But if a user is asking "Where can {X} be found", that's not really the same thing as a "link-only answers." That's simply the most appropriate way to answer the question of where to find a particular resource on the Internet.

  • 1
    Since we have already agreed that "data hunt" questions are appropriate, it makes sense to provide links to the datasets that are being sought as long as some context or additional information is provided as well. May 30, 2013 at 14:28

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