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I wanted to talk about answers that say something like

This module will do most of what you're asking. Just download and install: [link]

I'm split on how I feel about this, because sometimes it can be exactly what the asker is looking for, other times it might just be spam to get you to buy a self promoted module. Plus re-writing the module as an SE answer would be exhausting.

The other issue is that 3rd party resources aren't guaranteed to have the same life expectancy as this SE site. The module maintainer may kill the project and now the answer that's been upvoted 20 times is worthless.

Back on SO a similar thing happens. Someone will try to link the questioner to a blog that covers the topic. While this may help in the moment, that blog might not exist in a year or two. It's good to site the source, but you should also be quoting a relevant excerpt from the article so that the answer is good enough on it's own.

What I want to discuss is how should links to 3rd party modules be handled in answers?

For example, someone asking the question "How can I analyze what's going on with my Magento cron jobs?"

A bad answer would be:

Install Aoe_Scheduler: [link]

Because the answer itself provides no useful information.

However, something like:

Cron jobs are stored in the cron_schedule table. You can view pending jobs with

SELECT * FROM cron_schedule WHERE executed_at IS NULL;

To view currently running jobs, use ....

Alternatively, Aoe_Scheduler does a great job at this: [link]

Because the body of the answer itself holds it own without the link being available.

I think this will lead to better quality answers and keeps things relevant if/when links die. Quick module recommendations can always go in the comments.

Here is a larger discussion on SO Meta. I think it's something we need to keep an eye out for.

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4

This should answer your question

At first I wanted to stop my answer at the line above, but...

Now seriously...
I think this case is pretty clear.
A link only answer is a bad answer even if it's a good answer (yeah...I know what I said.)
There is a section in here called "Provide context for links" that explains why single link answers are not that good.
In conclusion, flag or recommend delete for any answers that consist only of a link.
You may also leave a comment to point the user in the right direction.

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