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This is a question I've had spark up a bit following the successful Kickstarter for GM-Binder's next big updates.

Should posts be allowed to link to off-site homebrew sources to review?
Specifically, places like Reddit, GM-Binder, Imgur, and other image or homebrew hosting sites that homebrew publishers use. This could make it easier for the user making the post, but more difficult in the future as it creates dependencies on other sites, going against any goals of archival.

Am I right to assume the current format for posts of this kind is to type out the homebrewed class, subclass, race, spell, variant, rule, etc. in full, in a readable for SE style? Is this better for the site than links to content off-site? My concern is that if users want to ask about a large compilation of work, the only method of doing so via would be multiple posts in series for each seperate piece of content.

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The key thing for any links in any SE content is that the question or answer must still be sensible and useful even if the link goes dead. So if you are asking about the thing in the link, then that’s a problem.

If you are, instead, asking about something that builds off of another resource, which you link to, that doesn’t have to be fully reproduced—answerers are supposed to have some expertise with the material in question anyway, so even if the link goes dead the people doing the answering should be familiar with it. This works well if it’s a bigger production that people are aware of, but even with something smaller it might be a reasonable trade-off for the sake of not infringing on anyone’s copyright, keeping the question to a practicable size (both for the author and the reader), and focusing on your actual content to review. Some basics like “the classes in this product have whatsits that work kind of like spells except...” would be a good compromise.

Also, bear in mind, that there is another concern beyond simple rule-following: you want an answer. The easier you make the question to answer, the more likely you are to get one. Clicking on a link to somewhere else can be a turn-off for a prospective answerer; you might have better luck if you reproduce more of the material in the question itself. Likewise, copying and pasting is often part of reviewing the material, so putting it in actual, selectable text rather than, say, a screenshot embedded in the question, improves the likelihood that you’ll get answers. Homebrew-review questions also seem to attract downvotes pretty easily, while attracting fewer positive readers (some people just dislike them as a rule, I think, while other people are fine with them but also not particularly interested in trying to actually perform the review and so don’t click on the question): the more you seem to be engaging with the SE format and community, the more you seem to be putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak, by putting in the effort, the less that will happen. That’s important, too, because downvoted questions often get less attention, and thus are less likely to see an answer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Isn't it harmful for the site to simply downvote a question because you don't like the type of question it is? I can see [homebrew-review] being helpful for future users as you can use the improvements answerers provide to look for issues in your own work and improve it. \$\endgroup\$ – SamsyTheUnicorn Oct 16 '19 at 14:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SamsyTheUnicorn Yes, it is, and people shouldn’t be doing that—but I don’t know that people are doing that, it’s just a suspicion of mine since I’ve seen homebrew-review questions that seemed perfectly fine to me get downvoted. Maybe I’m just missing some flaw. Anyway, voting is private and personal (not even moderators can see who voted for what or how they voted), so there’s nothing much to be done about it. Most questions, a few stray downvotes don’t matter much. On homebrew-review, a few stray downvotes sometimes seem to be the only attention they get. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 16 '19 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ From what I've seen, I believe people downvote [homebrew-review] questions asking for help balancing their posts because they believe the original homebrew is unbalanced. I've always used upvotes and downvotes as a metric for a well written answer or question rather than an indication of preference. \$\endgroup\$ – SamsyTheUnicorn Oct 16 '19 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamsyTheUnicorn On main, you are correct that this is how upvotes and downvotes are normally used/are expected to be used. Interestingly, the norm on meta is to use upvotes and downvotes as you describe—to express agreement or disagreement. That shouldn’t be applied to main, and I doubt that users doing that are consciously copying the behavior from meta, but still, an interesting thought. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 16 '19 at 14:58
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You can as a citation, but the relevant content must be included in the post

Those sites may drop the content and we've got a link rot issue. It also presents a bar of entry to answer the question that someone has to go offsite. Additionally, if the content on those third party site changes, then the question has changed which could invalidate answers.

It's preferable to restate the content and cite it's source to give credit. That citation can be an outside link, but the relevant content should be included in the post here.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it might be worth rephrasing the header to clarify; posts can link to offsite sources if desired, but they should also reproduce the relevant content in text form in the question itself. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 16 '19 at 18:06

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