Is it appropriate to answer a question by simply linking an existing article and possibly giving a short summary as to why that answers the question?

Example: Myself


3 Answers 3


I agree with myzplk and Bryant, but I think that a sort of "annotated bibliography" approach should be encouraged rather than just a bare link. Someone providing a bit of context or a snippet of review (e.g., "This link is to an article by so and so that sums up the issue nicely, especially the third paragraph" or "This has dramatically helped my games go more smoothly") is much more valuable than just the link, and helps make the site something more than a human-powered search engine.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Excellent point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bryant
    Aug 29, 2010 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, more than a bare link is better - but you shouldn't have to retype much in. And I think less is appropriate for "you should have Googled that" and more for better questions. I see Stefano complaining on the main site about the short answer to his "what are fudge dice" question but there, I think a link and saying "they're special dice used by the game FUDGE, read more here" is completely acceptable. We don't need to retype crap just to have it "on our site." \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 30, 2010 at 3:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ agreed--you also bring up the "let me google that for you" response, which although sometimes appropriate I think should be discouraged. That's just my idealism coming through in wanting the community to be very welcoming--that may not be everyone's concept and I'm find with that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Numenetics
    Aug 30, 2010 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oops-just saw that the banal questions question is covering that territory. \$\endgroup\$
    – Numenetics
    Aug 30, 2010 at 15:10
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The reasons that I'd like to see them typed here (in the case of short answers) is the changing state of the internet. A link that's valid today might not be valid in the future. An annotation approach like wikipedia might serve better? A short blurb, then a link to show where the information came from? \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Sep 7, 2011 at 13:44

I think so. The idea is to get questions answered and build knowledge, right?


Absolutely. Duplication is not building knowledge when a link will do.


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