Is copying a link to a wiki page ever a reasonable answer on a Q&A website? Does it show a lack of effort in responding to a question?


5 Answers

Didge Doo Profile
Didge Doo answered

I see questions as opportunities to tell stories. So I do.

At other times they demand specific factual information. I draw on my own experience as much as possible, then I may link to a reference in support. It's rare that the link will be to Wikipedia.

I do NOT like questions that say, "What does Jeroboam 3:24 mean?" because then I have to look them up to give an answers -- which is sometimes not what the questioner wanted.

And, unless they look very interesting, I tend to avoid Q&A submitted by that well-known nonentity, Anonymous.

6 People thanked the writer.
Tom  Jackson
Tom Jackson commented
Yes, and they are usually every interesting.

And well put about "anonymous." How can you tailor an answer to person who considers himself or herself to be a "generic" creature?
Tom  Jackson
Tom Jackson commented
"very", not "every"

I notice my finger seems to be inadvertently lingering on the "e" key this morning.
Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
Thanks for the kind words. I know what you mean about the fingers. MIne suffer from digital Alzheimer's.
Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass answered

I strongly encourage people not to just link to another site. Even if the answerer can be best helped by the resource you're linking them to, I think it's important to add a bit of context to the link at very least.

From a user perspective, I'm much more likely to click on a link and trust the source if the answerer has given me a brief overview of why I should check that page out, and what I can expect to find there.

From a site perspective, I think it's vital because Blurtit is all about humans sharing knowledge. If answers became a list of links, then we'd be edging too close to being an imitation of a search engine if you ask me.

Don't get me wrong, pointing people to a source of information is a very valuable gesture. I do think a couple of lines explaining the recommendation goes a long way though.

CalTex - Doug Morgan Profile

I would rather have someone post a Wikipedia link than do as so many do and just state an opinion as if it is fact.  I use wikis to quickly get an overview of a subject and then check that against a couple of top Google searches.  However, I don't see anything wrong with following the source footnote to specific information within a wiki page in order to evaluate the source, and then post that source (rather than the wiki page link) in your Blurtit answer along with some context to explain what the link is about.

Tom  Jackson Profile
Tom Jackson answered

My parents raised me to be an expert on everything.  Of course that is impossible, but in my meager attempts to fulfill that unreasonable burden that they placed on me--until I was old enough to understand the futility of my quest---I did stumble across a lot more knowledge / information than a typical person that was allowed to pursue only the things that he was really interested in would normally come across.

I have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and a side effect of that is difficulty in producing written output., so composing an "off the top of my head" type answer is laborious and time consuming---although I do so when I give an opinion that is worth that effort.  So when I use a Wikipedia type site, I search for information that is true based on my personal knowledge or study and which is also stated in a clear meaningful way---that saves me a lot of time and effort and helps me answer more questions than I might otherwise have time for.  I either post a link or generally reference such answers---a link if the answer is given in such "deathless prose" as to merit a proper footnote, or just in general ("Internet," for example) when I found it to be generally available.

And as Jules Vern stated, links to math answers are generally better than typing equations unless it is simply a question of setting up a word problem.  I have tutored from elementary through graduate level, and the general rule of thumb was 3 hours of preparation for an hour of tutoring because understanding the needs of the student is paramount in order to tutor successfully.  The links given frequently contain interactive graphs, as well as further links that the person asking he question may be interested in.

As for just posting a link, I do that probably 10-15% of the time. Usually that link is specifically chosen by me for having the most useful information---which is not necessarily the first link that pops up during a search.  Frequently, just reading the link I provide has either the words in the question in the link or simply is the question restated in a different way for search purposes--for example, someone may ask about urinary leakage, and while I have no familiarity with that problem, I have developed some search skills and found more information under "urinary incontinence." Sometimes pointing out a different approach to finding an answer which will work for the person asking the questions simply is to suggest he approach his information gathering another way.

And in response to Kass Yassin"s answer, I post answers that I think best provide the information the person asking the question is seeking.  My concern is not to motivate that person (or any other browser of the site) to want to avail himself of the possibly useful information that might be provided in any link I post.

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