This recent answer made me wondering about a point: is it good to provide an answer if the main part of it is actually provided by a link.

I mean, this particular answer is good, itself (I don't want here to depreciate it, this is not the point), but what if the link becomes dead?

In the Stack Exchange site I know the best (about Blender, an open source computer 3D graphics tool), people are encouraged to ask question and provide the answer in its own text, as some "guaranty" to keep information inside Stack Exchange.

For that, Blender SE has few (implicit, moderated) rules:

  • Don't link images, but upload them using the editor button.
  • Use a dedicated companion internet site to upload files if they are needed. In Blender context, these files are 'blender's file', in our context, that could be either raw text or pdf files, for instance. But there is a counterpart: this site has to be created and managed.
  • Links are OK as a complement to the more formal part of the question or answer.

Again, the main point is too keep, as far as possible, most information inside the SE site.

What do you think about it concerning French Language SE?

  • A noter que faire un lien vers une image est une mauvaise pratique, surtout quand on peut l'héberger soi-même (vol de bande passante).
    – Distic
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 8:55
  • @Distic cela dépend de la politique de l'ayant droit sur cette image, certain acceptent l'utilisation uniquement si elle reste hébergée chez eux, l'héberger ailleurs serait faire une copie frauduleuse. La bonne pratique est de faire attention au souhait de l'ayant droit (auteur généralement).
    – Tensibai
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 12:41

3 Answers 3


I'd argue general rule of 'link only post' applies to French.se

That said, in the case linked, the list of verb itself is the majority of the page, quoting it would be far over the "quotation right" and as such plagiarism which is prohibited on every Stack Exchange site.

The second link is well used in my humble opinion as it comes fairly quoted to illustrate the rest of the answer.

You're right the main idea is to have answers standing by themselves when you remove the links, in this specific case, it does answer a list exists and copying it would break the fair use 'rule'.

Je suis d'avis que la politique habituelle concernant les texte "composés uniquement de liens" s'applique sur French.se également.

Ceci dit, dans le cas cité, la liste de verbes compose la majorité de la page liée. Recopier la liste serait au-delà d'un usage "de courte citation" et deviendrait du plagia ce qui est interdit sur tout les sites Stack Exchange.

Le second lien est correctement utilisé à mon humble avis, il vient illustrer avec une citation de taille correcte le reste de la réponse.

Tu as raison que l'idée générale est d'avoir des réponses se suffisant à elles même si l'on en retire les liens, dans le cas présent, cela répond qu'une liste existe mais la citer enfreindrait la règle de courte citation.

  • Merci de cette réponse. Je n'avais pas pensé aux problématiques de copyright effectivement. Surement, citer une liste de verbes irréguliers (par exemple) ne peut pas être protégé... mais la tournure de phrases ou de paragraphes entiers pourrait l'être.
    – lemon
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 12:46
  • @lemon effectivement dans le cas présent, c'est potentiellement une liste d’intérêt général, mais dans la mesure où l'auteur n'est pas sûr qu'elle soit exhaustive et qu'elle représente un fort pourcentage de la page citée, je suis un peu dubitatif sur la possibilité de la copier ou non.
    – Tensibai
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 12:49

There is no need to compare French SE with other assets to figure out the rules since the site has its own help page (the question has also been asked before, there):

[...] Brevity is acceptable, but fuller explanations are better.

Provide context for links

Links to external resources are encouraged, but please add context around the link so your fellow users will have some idea what it is and why it’s there. Always quote the most relevant part of an important link, in case the target site is unreachable or goes permanently offline.

How do I write a good answer, Help, French SE

It says always quote. Answers are not shortcuts or links to answers, but answers in their own right. If an entire page "answers" a question then one should summarize it or extract the most relevant elements and make an answer out of it, with proper citation, including idea. This should allow for a coherent answer and protect the usefulness of its content from link rot and the like, as well as saving time for the future readers. Understanding copyright is of little concern and does not impact content contributed under the license imho; in any case it's not clear how a list of verbs would be copyrighted in the first place here, but that's off topic. A cheese with holes in it would still be cheese nevertheless is what matters. Intelligently quoting what is relevant with a real purpose and showing due care for the authors and their content should alleviate any concerns one might have. Of course if the content is only a copy, then its take-down would result in a empty answer, showcasing it was no answer to begin with, just plagiarizing, which is a concern. Any inconsistencies between what I say and the linked answer should be resolved according the the latter.

Finally, links should be embedded using the editing tool (select word/sentence to be the link, click hyperlink in the editing toolbar, paste url from clipboard, do ok, done), instead of raw urls, the target platform being a web page with formatting and not some console.

  • Agree a list of verbs is de facto on public domain, what I meant by copying the list was exactly that, copying the table from the target page, and as such this give me a feeling of "stealing" the original author work.
    – Tensibai
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 15:41
  • @Tensibai Your concern is commendable. You should follow your feeling, there might be times when a judgment call is needed to figure out if a document can be used in your jurisdiction for instance, irrespective of what others might think. I don't have any particular expertise with copyright, which I generally value, as well as fair use, derivative work, and free content. There is a balancing act, which is not mine to make except for myself; it's an interesting off topic. I may ask a question on what type of citation is preferred on the site if one chooses to quote from a website. Thanks!
    – user3177
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 18:48
  • 1
    A master option we did all forget is to ask the original author also :)
    – Tensibai
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 5:50
  • Blame phone corrector, I meant "another option" :)
    – Tensibai
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 7:45

I'm the one who made this answer, and I found this discussion pretty interesting.

I already edited my answer in order to embed the links (thank you Qu'arrhes rentent sans hune for your remark about that).

About the quotation part however, the dilemma is real. The author of the question asks for a list which is obviously too long to fit the quotation rule, and at the same time, providing only a link breaks the SE rules since "an answer must be self-sufficient".

One solution could be to quote a part of the list (for example in that particular case, the most used verbs) and then invite the author to click the link for exhaustivity.

In a more general manner, I think it opens a bigger discussion. Wouldn't it be interesting for SE to have its own file host, for questions asking for a list or something big?

I will be more than happy to edit my answer on the linked topic, but at the moment there are several different opinions that are, in my opinion, fair enough to keep the debate open.

  • 1
    Alright, I expected the list to look a bit longer but it's more than decent. I edited my answer on the linked post, added the link and invited the author to click on the link if he wants more details about the list (each verb comes with present participles and verbal adverbs on the website). I think it should solve the problem and I will pay attention in the future, to make sure my answers are "self-sufficient".
    – Reyedy
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 15:35
  • Maybe include a reference to the name of the site in parens ? I'm unsure about how to proceed and I'm used to my own idiosyncratic way of doing things, so let me ask a Q. about that... Thanks.
    – user3177
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 18:54

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