I asked this question, and the answer provides a link to exactly what I was wanting to know. I'd like to mark his as 'accepted answer', but it seems simply providing a link won't draw people to the site.

Would I be wrong to leave a comment to encourage more info in the actual answer?

  • I don't think you're wrong at all in this case.
    – jcolebrand Mod
    Jan 7 '11 at 21:19

I'm personally against just links as an answer, as there's always the case of link rot -- what might be a link to useful info now could be a 404 next week, or even worse, someone forgets to renew their domain name, and it's a link to porn or malware.

We can't really protect against that last case, and I'm not of the 'outside links are evil' mentality, but at the very least, I prefer to summarize what the answer is, and give the link as a reference for more detail / supporting info.

(eg, for that particular question, because InnoDB handles TEXT and BLOB differently than MyISAM, it might be better to use TEXT in some cases where it'd be a hinderance in MyISAM)

  • 1
    Especially considering the intent here is to have a large storehouse of knowledge that is collectively right. I'm +1 on this.
    – jcolebrand Mod
    Jan 7 '11 at 21:18
  • 1
    Definitely agreed. If you post a link at least reproduce the most relevant point(s) from it or at very least keywords that would help the reader a chance of searching for a similar resource (or the same resource copied elsewhere) if the link does rot. It can be too much to copy large amounts of someone else's content, both in terms of the morality of copying and the issue of including detail irrelevant to the question, but at least include the most salient points/keywords in your answer as well as the link. Jan 13 '11 at 1:29

I don't think you're out of line at all not accepting the answer. It's perfectly okay to comment asking to have the answer improved for this site.

Remember, answering your question is not strictly for your benefit; it's for the benefit of everyone who comes after. As such, the text of the answer (the information contained on this site) should be as complete as possible. A large percentage of your traffic will come from search engines. Simply saying "Your answer can be found here [link]" does nothing for this site.


Yes, either ask for a summary, quote, or even edit the answer yourself to give the summary. This blog post is kind of hitting at what you are asking http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/01/the-wikipedia-of-long-tail-programming-questions/. It says that we should not just be giving short answers for points but also helping to improve the information store by making the answers and questions more informative.

  • interesting...didn't think editting the answer was an option Jan 8 '11 at 21:21
  • Once you are over 2000 points you will be able to edit quesitons and answers from anyone. Jan 8 '11 at 21:30
  • you only need 500 rep to edit while we're in beta : meta.dba.stackexchange.com/faq
    – Joe
    Jan 10 '11 at 1:12
  • That's cool. But I still think it would be nice to have it lower than that for the private beta. Jan 10 '11 at 5:26

This reminds me of a strange experience I had in ServerFault last week. I answered a question about MySQL Tuning. I had links to several questions I answered (which were accepted) in the past from DBA.SE, SO as well as SF. I got slammed with 2 down votes and a stern comment from the moderator stating that my answer, which was full types about 4 sentences (each sentence had a hyperlink, enough for a small paragraph) was like an attempt to spam just my answers. IMHO the links provided did answer the question. The moderator felt otherwise. I summarily deleted my answer to avoid further collateral damage.

So, if anyone in DBA.SE sees just the links in someone's submitted answer, I think the submitter of the question should be the one to judge the question. The community could voice their opinion properly after reading the links provided and taking an honest look before doing a Simon Cowell on answers. I know DBA.SE is definitely a step above this because I have found many great minds and great answers here who are honest and candid enough to critique answers of others, respect their viewpoints, present their viewpoints, and let the community drive answers and foster an environment for new questions.

The content of short answers should be evaluated with regard to whether or not it contributes to getting the correct answer. If an answer, just being a link, does not say enough other than DUH, then we should expect proper counsel from anyone in the DBA.SE.

  • 1
    Next time this happens call out to me on chat with a link to the SF Q and I'll go to bat for you on the other mods.
    – jcolebrand Mod
    Jun 28 '11 at 0:14

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