I'm seeing a bunch of answers popping up that appear to be little more than the results of a "let me google that for you ... OK, here are the results". In other words, a list of URLs with little to no commentary on why they are correct.

These answers are getting accepted (so I assume that they are useful to the owners of the questions), but they seem like a detraction from the overall quality of the site. I hesitate to flag them, since they are technically correct. But something about posting references to lots of off-site text and saying "your answer is in here, somewhere" seems out of sync with the spirit of the site.

Am I overthinking this? I feel like I'm singling out a user here, so let me make clear that: I think this user might be quite knowledgeable on the subject, but the answers aren't delivering that knowledge. How do we encourage better quality in this regard?


2 Answers 2


I am not as concerned by these posts. But I do agree there could be a little more commentary in them.

I have found that there are often very new beginners asking questions on this site. And robotics is complex enough that it is hard to find the right answers simply by googling. Furthermore, many of the questions are not framed well or they might not know the right way to say what they want. So I typically take a shotgun approach.

For example in many of my posts regarding kinematics: 1, 2, 3, I often try to answer their question as best i can, but inevitably just point them to a handful of robotics libraries. Because i think this is what they really wanted, but didn't know they existed, how to ask, or how to find them.


We all know that answers based on personal experience are preferable, but as Ben says the googled answers inevitably will appear.

IMHO, if a link, or list of links is supplied as an answer, I believe that at least these two actions are also required.

Firstly, inline the link with the title of the page being linked to. For example, in lieu of just a raw URL:


or a non-descript "this link", or "this report":

this question

It is much better to have:

How to encourage better quality answers from bulleted lists of links?

IMHO, the latter is more informative, tidier, easier on the eye and easier to read.

Secondly, provide a summary of the link's contents, for the obvious reason of future link death (I have found one unanswered question that suffers from this already), and to save people having to go off and read the actual article, if they aren't all that interested.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .