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For example:
What is inspiration?
What exactly is "base AC"?
Touch attacks on D&D 5e

As diagrammed below, there is only one case where somebody asking a D&D 5E question should need a link to the basic rules.

          | Has Basic |  No Basic |
| Has PHB |     X     |     X     |
| No PHB  |     X     |     O     |

These people, however, shouldn't even be asking a question, since they obviously haven't read the rules.

The corollary to this is obviously, if we don't need to link to the rules, should we actively remove the links?

I know this is a small thing, and probably doesn't matter, but, personally, I find the links distracting, since they don't add anything to the answer. Furthermore, whenever I come across this situation I'm left thinking, "This was a good question, the asker obviously already has (and has read) the rules, how is this at all helpful?"

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  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Should we also stop linking to relevant SRD pages in 3.5, Pathfinder, and Fate answers? \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Sep 9 '14 at 23:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW while I've been convinced that there are reasons to continue to link to the Basic Rules, linking to relevant SRD pages are not the same situation. \$\endgroup\$ – GamerJosh Sep 10 '14 at 13:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I fail to see why; your criticism of linking to the Basic rules (that the querent must already be familiar with the rules or we should close the question entirely) applies equally to SRD links. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Sep 10 '14 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW because you're linking to a book instead of a relevant page. I still disagree with you, but I understand your point. \$\endgroup\$ – GamerJosh Sep 10 '14 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Two of the three examples you've linked cited a specific page in the Basic Rules along with their link, which is the closest we can possibly come to rule-specific SRD links in 5e at the moment. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Sep 10 '14 at 13:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW I understand your point. \$\endgroup\$ – GamerJosh Sep 10 '14 at 13:48
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It's fine linking to those rules.

People will link to the Compendium in D&D 4e answers, the d20srd and pfd20srd in D&D 3.5e and Pathfinder answers, the Fate SRD (there is one now!) in Fate Core/Accelerated answers, etc.

The examples you've provided are business as usual, essentially being:

  • Here's the rules source I'm citing, and a page citation
  • Here's the rules source I'm citing, and several extracts from it
  • It appears you might not realise the rules with this stuff are freely available, here they are (Weird case, question got closed, but still fine within the answer as is)

The problem is that in the first two cases the authors have been lazy about it. I've edited them.

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I think it depends. In the first and third question it's used in a weird way. It looks to me the answerers are sorta trying to say "this is where I've gotten those info" but instead say "and if you want to learn more read the rules again". It could be useful if they focused on pointing where all the small details that make use or integrate the asked matter are. Instead of saying "if you want to see more of this, read here" it tells me "pay attention to these things too. If you have trouble finding where they are, look there".

The second case is good, I think. The answerer provides a reference in order to tell the querent where he took the various pieces that form his answer, so that he can check and see for himself why the answer is the right one.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In the case of my answer, (the third question), before an edit, it was obvious that the asker didn't even know of the existence of Basic. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Sep 9 '14 at 23:05

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