Are questions seeking links to resources ever on-topic? To give an example, I was once active on GEnie and want to know whether any of the forums ("Round tables") and software archives have been preserved. Would such a question be on-topic?

2 Answers 2


Would such a question be on-topic?

I'd say 98% not.

The 2% can be hit if you give it a twist to ask for information beyond just linkage - and eventually producing the linkagge as part of a good answer. Asking for facts about. As an example, wording above question not about some backup/preservations, but the fate of these round tables beyond the closing of Genie may be such a request.

As so often in live it's about the angle an issue is viewed. A positive, focused and thought thru aproach can bypass many checks.

  • Any idea where an appropriate place to ask such questions would be? Is there a digitalpreservation.se? Nov 17, 2018 at 3:21
  • 1
    @AlexHajnal If there is a digitalpreservation.se they will have the same policy against link-only answers. Generally speaking, if a question will result in a list of links, its not a good fit for SE and is a question better asked on another forum. Remember that one of the main goals of an SE question and answers should be to have a long term reference for future searchers, not just to get the answer to your question. As links age out they make link-only answers useless to future searchers, which is why they are discouraged on SE in general.
    – mnem
    Nov 17, 2018 at 3:25
  • @AlexHajnal Linkonly is everywhere shuned on on SE. No sense in forcing it. Reword it to make it useful instead. Not finding a different PoV is usually a good sign that you haven't thought it thru. There is always a way to make it informative - just check how I always snug my rants into high scoring answers :))
    – Raffzahn
    Nov 17, 2018 at 3:28
  • ACK. I'd love to ask but like you said, answers would be link only. Would be just the thing for archive.org; SE, not so much. Though as you said @Raffzahn, maybe it could be worded differently/broader. Nov 17, 2018 at 3:31
  • How do you know it's link only? Maybe some of the round tables have not only saved theri archives but also moved to other sites/edia - and that would be a useful historic information as well - even if you just look for the link in there. So make it carry usefulness. (And no, I don't have an answer, I would need to stress my Google-Fu)
    – Raffzahn
    Nov 17, 2018 at 3:34
  • How would that not be a link-only answer? Nov 17, 2018 at 4:18
  • @AlexHajnal Somehow it feels as if you haven't read my answer - the very one you're comenting on, have you?
    – Raffzahn
    Nov 17, 2018 at 4:24
  • I did read it but just aren't clear on what you mean. Something like "When GEnie closed its doors did any of the Roundtables continue on elsewhere online?"? As opposed to "Are there any archives of GEnie anywhere online?" Nov 17, 2018 at 4:27
  • That would be a possible way. Or 'What happened to teh roundtable XYZ and it's people when GEnie closed'. This question isn't asking for a link, but historic information. A link may come in as part of answering this. If not, it would give you at least some hints where to search. If someone got theis knowledge at least. It's about how you tackle this issue.
    – Raffzahn
    Nov 17, 2018 at 4:40
  • I see what you're saying. Nov 17, 2018 at 4:44

Some time ago, I have created the tag to cover something a bit broader (asking about reference material generally, whether online or offline), mostly for the purpose of cataloguing such questions.

I am not sure if I can endorse adding more of those. But so far, none of them have been closed, and some even have useful answers.

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