Over at Stack Overflow, link-only answers should be flagged with the 'not an answer' reason. They are eventually converted to a comment (by a moderator) or deleted.

Meta Stack Overflow discussion: When to flag an answer as “not an answer”?

The rule-of-thumb here is to strip the markup; if you can still regard it as an (attempted) answer without the link, it is still an answer and should not be flagged.

Does the same policy apply here on this site?

  • Is there a Meta SO link to their guidance on this?
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 10:15
  • @PolyGeo There are quite a few discussions I think, but most will point to the 'your answer is in another castle' post, as you referred to in your answer. I'll try to dig up some links tomorrow.
    – Stijn
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 16:53
  • @PolyGeo I've added a link in the question. The community is a bit divided on which type of flag to use, but in practice it doesn't seem to matter much. I was mostly interested in knowing if these answers should be flagged or not on the GIS site.
    – Stijn
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 12:05
  • Thanks for adding that link which I can see that I read and upvoted at some point. I just re-read it and it still resonates with me.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 19:35
  • Over at Stack Overflow, link-only answers should be flagged with the 'not an answer' reason. It is not exactly what the 'rule-of-thumb' says. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 1:12

2 Answers 2


"Not an answer" or "In need of moderator attention" are both good options for link-only answers.

I lean more towards "moderator attention" as you can add your own comment, eg "Link only answer" however using "Not an answer" should also be enough as the reviewing moderator can see that an answer is link-only.


When I review a flag for "Not An Answer" the main guidance that I use in my actions stems from Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer?

The actions I take will generally be:

  • if there really is no useful information in the post itself (i.e. as if the link were broken or did not exist) then I apply a post notice to say that there is more explanation needed, which marks the flag as helpful.
  • if there is any useful information in the post besides the link, and it appears that the answerer has attempted to answer the question, then I will generally comment that the answerer appears to have tried to answer the question, and any issues with the quality of that answer should be addressed via commenting, editing and/or downvoting rather than flagging. Such flags are declined.

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